Monday, November 22, 2010

A Dog's Purpose

Here's a public service announcement from M: "If you read only one more novel in your life--or one more dog book of any kind--make it A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron."

M told me a lot about this story while he was reading it, so I'm not surprised that he wants me to use the blog to help spread the word. From what I hear, there's some stuff about the main character that I can relate to--and not just the bit where he ends up with the name Buddy, though I'll admit that did get my attention.

This is the book's description from Publishers Weekly:

"A tail-wagging three hanky boo-hooer, this delightful fiction debut by newspaper columnist Cameron (8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter) proposes that a dog's purpose might entail being reborn several times. Told in a touching, doggy first-person, this unabashedly sentimental tale introduces Toby, who's rescued by a woman without a license for her rescue operation, so, sadly, Toby ends up euthanized. He's reborn in a puppy mill and after almost dying while left in a hot car, he's saved again by a woman, and he becomes Bailey, a beloved golden retriever, who finds happiness and many adventures. His next intense incarnation is as Ellie, a female German shepherd, a heroic search and rescue dog. But the true purpose of this dog's life doesn't become totally clear until his reincarnation as Buddy, a black Lab. A book for all age groups who admire canine courage, Cameron also successfully captures the essence of a dog's amazing capacity to love and protect. And happily, unlike Marley, this dog stays around for the long haul."

I asked M what he liked most about the story, and he said the dog's voice, having the whole thing told from the dog's viewpoint and with his limited perspective. "Of course he's always learning--usually the hard way," he added. "Sort of like you."

"Dig it," I replied. "Anything else really grab you?"

"The ending," he said. "I absolutely did not see it coming."

He told me what it was, and I agree it's amazing. And that's all I'm going to say about it.

Out of 252 customer reviews at, 233 are 5-star, while eight more give it four. The three cranks who rated it at one star are probably animal control officers or puppy mill operators, but in fairness I didn't look. Maybe they're just unsentimental or unhappy or something.

For more about the author, check out his website: There's also a special page devoted to the book with lots of neat things on it. And finally, Mr. Cameron has a blog that's almost as good as this one.


Anonymous said...

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things - a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about,... above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
John Grogan, Marley and Me, 2005

Jenny Thanksgiving said...

I'll definitely add that to my list to read! See ya soon.