Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

SUMMARY: This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.


The Short Version:
Heartwarming and innovative, A Dog's Purpose does a wonderful job of giving human thoughts and cognition to our most loyal friends. While potentially stereotypical in some aspects, but hilarious and well meaning all around, readers will fall in love with Bailey. With a tight narrative and an interesting sort of description, this one will have readers hooked from page one.

The Extended Version:
Starting out, Bailey is a pup born to a feral mom, learning how to scavenge and fed for himself in a lot of ways. Frustrated with his siblings, and having plenty of reminders to readers of the way dog's seem to see the world, he's voicy and fun from the start. Invigorated by the world around him, and eager for new things, there is simple joy in even just reading Bailey's adventures.

While the summary makes it clear Bailey dies, more than once, those parts are still wrenching, a cold splash in a warm setting. Regardless, Cameron weaves them in easily, without lingering too long on that aspect, before plunging the reader back into everything. With smooth transitions between the different lives, and an always constant reminder that our narrator is, in fact, a dog, there is something boldly unique and wonderfully handled about this book.

With a humor that is natural and easily folded into the story, this book is as amusing as it is warming and inspiring. Though a few areas were a reminder that we don't really know what goes on in a dog's head, and some stereotypical aspects we perceive in dogs cropped up, the narrative style is still smooth and easy to follow, giving a vivid voice and life to not only Bailey but dogs everywhere.

The pacing is steady, keeping readers as invested in the story as Bailey is. Giving readers a look at our every day world through new eyes, A Dog's Purpose is as fun as it is enlightening. With plenty of excitement and adventure along the way, and some truly sentimental moments as well, this one is a fast, enjoyable, and endearing read.

Source: Paperback received from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Paperback: 336 pages 
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: May 24, 2011


  1. Aw this looks super cute! I have a soft spot for any dog-book-related stuff so this looks like my type of read for a lazy day or something!

  2. This sounds so sweet! And like Jillian said, it looks perfect for a lazy day at home...I'll look out for it the next time I'm at the bookstore :) (which will be after school's over--2 more weeks! EEP!)

    Great review, Kari!

  3. It's a super sweet book. I've been surfing around for more on Bruce Cameron, and got to a live interview with him regarding the writing of this book. Super cool guy too. Go have a look for it in the archive section, it was in the beginning of this December.