When I first picked up this book I figured that it would be all about the cat. Of course, much of it was, but there is a lot more to this book. The author, Vicki Myron, also writes about her own life, with its trials and tribulations, ups and downs. In so doing, she paints a picture of life in a small midwestern town. Most of the book takes place in Spence, a little town in northwest Iowa, in the midst of farming country. So we also get a glimpse of what life was like for famers in the heartland from the 1960s to the present.
And, of course, the book is about Dewey Readmore Books. He was found as a kitten on a bitterly cold morning in the Spencer library book drop. After such a shaky beginning, Dewey went on to become The Libray Cat. He brought together the libray staff, patrons and indeed, the town of Spencer.
You might ask, how could a cat have such an impact on an entire town? He's a cat. Cat's don't provide jobs or produce food. What Dewey did do was leave a trail of smiles behind wherever he went. He also allowed people the privilege of petting him. This may not sound like much, but when times are tough, when you are going through a rough patch, being able to sit with the warmth of the cat in your lap, petting him, laughing at his antics, smiling at his cat ways, can give a lift to the spirit. It can give you just that little bit more strength to keep going. This is what Dewey did for Vicki Myron and for many of the people who came into the Spencer library.Not all of those people were locals. People came from all over the country, indeed, from all over the world to see Dewey, the famous library cat.
Ultimately, Dewey: the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World is about community, the individuals who make up a community, both human and animal, and the effect they have on each other.