A Dog's Purpose

>> Friday, February 18, 2011

Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Recommended Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates, LLD
ISBN: 978-0-7653-6676-4
Year Published: 2010
No. Pages: 320
Genre: Fantasy
Main Character Gender: Male
Read & Reviewed by: Surene

Cats might have nine lives, but reading about a dog with four lives takes the cake. I loved reading this outstanding novel about a dog who searches for his purpose over the course of several lives to answer the question: Why are we here?

Bailey is reincarnated from a stray dog to a golden haired puppy. Bailey is a companion and pet to Ethan, an eight year old boy. Their friendship demonstrates the unbreakable bonds of love and friendship between boy and dog. To navigate through life Bailey has to rely on his memories from past lives. Bailey believes his purpose has come to an end with Ethan only to discover it hasn’t.

Bruce Cameron created a main character with whom I wanted to be with throughout the entire book. Written in first person, I was able to get inside of Bailey’s head. I could see, hear and feel what Bailey was feeling. Bruce Cameron made me love the secondary characters as much as the main character. It was easy to get inside of Ethan’s head because as a child, everyone loves to take their pet and explore the world like Ethan did with Bailey.

A Dog’s Purpose is packed with humour- some of which comes from Bailey’s observation of human life. What Bailey thinks he sees is often inconsistent from reality and his interpretation is often funny, yet understandable. For example, when Ethan was kissing Hannah, Bailey thought they were wrestling. After his life with Ethan, Bailey becomes a Search and Rescue dog to his new owner, Jakob who has lost his wife. Jakob drowns himself in his work and while Bailey senses this sadness, he doesn’t know what he should do to cheer Jakob up. I easily believed that this was written using a dog’s voice. The point of view and voice wouldn’t have had the same humorous flow or sincerity if a human had told the story. The dialogue also flows well and is believable. Since Bailey refers to his previous lives, Cameron helps the reader by signaling flashbacks with past tense.

I think the theme of the novel is that everyone has a purpose in life and that we should each pursue ours. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read but I would especially recommend it to dog lovers because it will resonate with their reality. I think this is a must read because it teaches a well deserved lesson to us all, dog owners and cat owners alike.

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