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What's new with the Dewey legacy?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

(Photo)
A hardcover version of Vicki Myron's latest book was released in October. New Line Cinema has picked up a 16-month option on Myron's original bestseller, which was mentioned on Jeopardy! Monday afternoon.
"We're truly a part of pop culture now," Vicki Myron and Bret Witter agreed after hearing their book about Dewey Readmore Books was mentioned on Jeopardy! Monday afternoon.

According to an online archive, host Alex Trebek gave the clue, "Vicki Myron and Bret Witter: '_: the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.'"

All three contestants were stumped on the $800 "Book Names" answer.

Nonetheless, individuals in Spencer and beyond took notice.

"Bret, my agent (Peter McGuigan) and I were on a conference call while the show was going on so none of us saw it but we heard immediately from people across the country that saw it," Myron said.

The name drop on national television is just one of the recent developments in the legacy of the former Spencer Public Library cat. Myron took some time Friday morning to update The Daily Reporter on recent happenings.

Hardcover copies of "Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions," her second adult book, first hit shelves last October.

"It didn't top the best sellers list like the original did, but it did make the list," Myron noted. "We're still on the top 10 of the Independent Booksellers of America."

"Dewey's Nine Lives" is going global, just as the original Dewey tale did.

"I'm also busy signing contracts with other countries to purchase 'Dewey's Nine Lives,'" Myron said. "I signed two contracts with China for common Chinese and one for Mandarin. We're busy selling that in other countries."

Myron explained the nature of the new book.

"'Dewey's Nine Lives' is not a continuation of the first story," she clarified. "There is new material about Dewey that I found out when I was touring -- stories I didn't know. I've received so many emails from other people with their own touching stories. We've incorporated some of those into the book as long as they had the same theme as Dewey's story."

Also provided in the book are updates about Myron, her marriage to Glenn Albertson and her 18-month-old cat Page Turner.

While the paperback version of the book is being produced, its predecessor is still on course for a film adaptation, though the process has been delayed.

"We couldn't agree on a script and their contract was up Jan. 1 ... but New Line Cinema picked up a 16-month option to continue working on the script," Myron said. " ... I wouldn't think they would pick up the 16-month option if they weren't planning on shooting something, but they are having trouble with the script. I'm not happy with it at all."

With the extension signed, the film company now has until April of 2013 to have a script approved and begin choosing a director and cast for the film.

If those goals are not met by that deadline, the idea will be shopped to other companies, but Myron said she is, "still hoping New Line Cinema can get a new script done that actually portrays Dewey and me and the town of Spencer in the right light for the books."

Merchandise would accompany a movie release, but other merchandise is not likely at this point in time.

"The merchandise is pretty much at a standstill," Myron said. "That's not happening. I'm disappointed, but the merchandise firm didn't come out with products."

Consequently, plans for a bookstore are also discontinued.

"It's not just because I don't have the merchandise," Myron said. "It's also because I have some eye problems. There's no way I can add the bookstore at this time. My partner who was going to manage it dropped out, so that's not going to happen."

Myron has taken time off from touring to concentrate on her health, which is also giving her time to catch up on fan mail.

"The mail is still coming in by the droves, especially from foreign countries now because a lot of them printed later than America did," she said, later noting she has received letters addressed simply to Vicki Myron: Author of Dewey. " ... I find it constantly entertaining how some people address my mail and yet I receive it."

Mail isn't the only thing Myron is receiving.

"We've also been getting offers from private companies for various things with cat products and so on that we're deciding on whether I'm going to be involved or not," Myron said.

Just as she has told McGuigan and Witter, she assured the public there will be no Dewey beef jerky.

"We will keep his image the way it's supposed to be," she concluded. "We're still going by that. We're considering what's best for Dewey, the books and me before we accept anything."


Comments
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Dewey's legacy -- long may it live. Dewey had no idea about anything other than his day-to-day life. We are lucky to have his extraordinary life story for posterity. Go Dewey, Vicki, and Spencer.

-- Posted by communicate on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 9:32 AM

GREAT STORY

-- Posted by hljames on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 11:20 AM

I love the books, and I hope Vicky hasn't forgotten about our local animal shelter People for Pets!!!

Vicky please remember Dewey's humble beginning as a stray. Many at P4P are still waiting for homes. I'm sure P4P would appreciate a donation of some kind in memory of our famous home town stray!!!!

-- Posted by summer on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 11:51 AM

The Dewey legacy lives on. I'm sure a significant donation from Vicky to the People for Pets Animal Shelter would be appropriate in memory of Dewey and a lovely thought. Keep up the good work P4P.

John Arnold

Dartford - England

-- Posted by John Arnold on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 2:16 PM

I agree, residents in the community who find fame and fortune should pay it forward.

-- Posted by skippylou on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 7:59 AM

Vicky is a caring person and animal advocate. A contribution to People for Pets in honor of Dewey would be a fine gesture.

-- Posted by indigo on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 12:19 PM

Dewey lives on everywhere!

Just this weekend I was talking to a couple at the table next to me in a restaurant in Oregon, and when they found out I was from a small Iowa town "near Spencer," the first thing that came out of their mouths was, "Dewey's hometown!" When I admitted that I had known Dewey, they treated me like a celebrity! They were absolutely giddy with joy -- they had been so moved and impressed by Dewey's story.

Unfortunately, this giddiness turned to downright hostility when I told them of the fallacious "allergy complaint" that had moved the library board to outlaw any more cats at the library.

Although this couple didn't place blame on the larger community of Spencer, it was obvious that their goodwill toward the community had been seriously shaken. Was the library board so myopic that they couldn't have predicted this type of reaction?

So yes, Dewey lives on. As does a "reinterpreted" reputation of the library and community.

-- Posted by sleepyhollowchick on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 5:34 PM

really - you're asking for $$?? wow.

-- Posted by read me on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 7:18 AM

I think it is amazing how the Dewey books have put Spencer, Iowa, on the map. I am all for the future movies, books, etc. but yes, would have to say that People for Pets would be a great candidate for donations. It's a totally non profit, volunteer organization.

-- Posted by luvrugby on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 3:54 PM

Please review; the reasons for deselecting a cat in the library were many, the idea of allergies was only one of them. I am sorry to say that a cat can be a health issue for library users but it is, and it is unfair to restrict the library to tax paying members of our community. That's just plain and simple, and if you were disabled, we would not want that to be a restriction by design (either). The board isn't mean spirited, just trying to be responsible...Thanks

-- Posted by A. View Point on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 6:28 PM

There are over 650 library cats worldwide -- many in universities -- which are often replaced when one dies. These libraries are aware of people with disabilities and apparently are not overly concerned with individuals who suffer from, for instance, allergies because of air filtration systems in use. Since allergic reactions are caused by many different things it is not right to disallow only one. You cannot please everyone -- and many erroneously believe they are allergic to someting when they are indeed not. Political correctness seems to appear in places with unfortunate consequences.

-- Posted by communicate on Tue, Feb 15, 2011, at 12:40 AM

I have talked to many and I mean many people and they all have said that the book is downright boring and had nothingto do with the cat named dewey. Do if any of you can sway my opinion about this I hope you can accept the fact that I'm not easily swayed.

-- Posted by buss22 on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 11:25 AM

Read me - Who is asking for money? If your referring to People For Pets I haven't seen any comment that has someone saying they are a representative of the shelter. Just people that believe in supporting their community and paying it forward. I know that if I was financially able to give back, I would!

Since it is a book about a stray cat that was given a second chance, what an appropriate place to 'share the wealth' with, a non-profit, no-kill shelter. People For Pets is in Dewey's hometown after all!

-- Posted by puppyluv on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 4:34 PM

Give all the money to the library and P4P...then go away.

-- Posted by Cookster on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 6:41 PM

It wasn't a stray cat it was some person that decided that they didn't want a kitten anymore and decided to put it in the drop at the library. A stray is an animal livin outsidefending for itself.

-- Posted by buss22 on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 10:07 PM

I think all citizens of Spencer should take advantage of this opportunity and TAKE A RIDE ON DEWEY'S "TALE" and use this great story to make SPENCER known around the world. Think outside of the "litter box" use this story to your advantage, in promoting the community. DEWEY could use his whiskers to help you see in the dark.

-- Posted by hljames on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 11:13 AM

The minute Dewey was put into the book return he became a stray. Stray = a domestic animal found wandering at large OR WITHOUT AN OWNER. We could also use the terms dumped, abandoned, tossed, thrown out...the list could go on. He could have been wandering and found by someone walking. hmm What would that be called? Oh yes, an animal living outside fending for itself. However you look at it the library 'rescued' Dewey. Which is what People For Pets does on a daily basis. I also believe the library should benefit from the fame. The employees helped care for Dewey and the visitors gave him the extra attention he loved! Which I believe kept him hungry for life. If it weren't for all the stories that people have shared, and still do share, there wouldn't be a book. It wasn't just Vicki that made the book a success because Dewey's name was out there long before the book was even a thought!

-- Posted by puppyluv on Thu, Feb 17, 2011, at 1:11 PM

I have never read a book that touched me as deeply as much as "Dewey". I am a cat lover and I currently have only one cat but I have always had cats. Last year two of my cats have passed on. Even though I have never met Dewey, I feel a strong connection to him and love him. I cried while reading the last few chapters of the book "Dewey". My remaining cat, Pebbles, is quite intuitive. I call her my comfort care cat. I work at a nursing home and while interviewing a terminal cancer patient, she presented as very sad and I noticed she was holding a stuffed animal cat. The minute I started telling her about my cats, her frown turned upside down. As a care plan I brought Pebbles in to meet her. When I introduced the patient to Pebbles, Pebbles immediately jumped out of my arms onto the patient's bed and stayed there all day. The patient's sister who visited later in the day told me that usually the patient requires pain killers in order to take a nap. That day, the sister informed me, the patient fell asleep (without pain killers) while petting the cat. The hospice social worker, who also visited that day, told me that Pebbles did more for the patient than two shots of pain killers.

I think Pebbles has some of Dewey in her.

-- Posted by JFlores on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 10:03 PM

Dear JFlores, I felt the same exact way when I read the book about Dewey. I feel a strange but deep connection although I never set foot in Spencer Library and never met Dewey. I live up North in Canada. But I can relate to what Vicki and him shared. A similar story happened to me and my former cat Mitsou who lived 18 years and went like Dewey, in my arms. I always had cats and still have one now. As Vicki said, we are not only holding them, they are holding us. Even when we have a full happy life with loved ones around, when we have a deep connection with our pets, we grieve them too, it is very painful and it never completely goes away, at least not for me. I am very committed to the ones I love and take my responsibilities towards them seriously. I can relate to Vicki when she said goodbye and when she returned to a library and a life without Dewey. Pets are never «just a cat» or «just a dog», they are family, faithful to the end with unconditional love, something that us humans have trouble giving to each other, unfortunately.

-- Posted by lilou on Sat, Apr 2, 2011, at 2:45 PM


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