Recently, my mum passed me a book that she picked up at a local doctors surgery. The book was free and part of World Book Night. World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency and shares free books within communities, the only thing they ask in return is that when you have finished reading the book you pass it along to someone else.
The book I received from mum was 'Street Cat Bob'.
The version I read was a quick read edition produced for World Book Night, although it was a shorter version, the book still offered an insight into addiction, homelessness, recovery and friendship. The story demonstrated peoples capacity for change but also reflected societies negative view of those who struggle with addictions and who live on the street. Prior to Bob's arrival (the authors feline companion), James, the author, felt invisible on the streets of London. Having Bob by his side made individuals passing feel James was more approachable giving James the opportunity to talk to others about himself and his situation, giving him back the feeling of being a real person, having an identity.
University placement and voluntary experiences have given me an insight and greater understanding about some of the reasons behind addiction and homelessness. This knowledge was the key that opened my mind to other thoughts and perspectives. I think I am less judgmental because of this and now try to view each person I meet as an individual instead of making an assumption based upon a stereotype. While on my road trip, after reading Street Cat Bob, I stopped and spoke to a Big Issue seller and bought my first magazine.
We cannot know what has led people to their current position in life unless we take the time to ask and to listen.
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