Not being a fan of anthropomorphizing (ascribing human attributes to an animal), I began to read “A Dog’s Purpose” without much enthusiasm. To my surprise, W. Bruce Cameron’s touching story of a dog’s journey through several lives is on a par with the classic, “Watership Down”. Written without literary shenanigans, this simple story speaks not only to why a dog is born, but also to why any creature comes into this world.
Throughout this New York Time’s bestseller the main character recognizes some words but not others. At first logic causes the reader to question how the main character can tell us what is being said, but not seem to understand what is going on around him. Soon that distraction is gone as the experiences of this dog result in the reader becoming vested in his the survival. The dog is also true to his canine nature in that his primary areas of concern are sensory; particularly what he can smell, a what a journey that brings.
Here you might hope I would tell you more about “the dog” such as his name, his personality, his experiences. That would lessen the joy of this book. I found myself pulled along by the mystery of where he was headed, who he would be and what he would learn in each incarnation. In modern society we discuss what we each might think a soul is, the existence of past lives or lack thereof and the origins of the individual. Here you will look at this from a truly innocent perspective, learning, as he does, that life and afterlife are unpredictable.
There is also something in the book that has been lost in so much modern media. The human characters lead normal, everyday lives. Even the most exciting occurrences do not stray far outside of the realm of the ordinary. Consequently “A Dog’s Purpose” is a story that satisfies the human need to have faith in an orderly and ordinary universe.
When I closed Cameron’s lovely book on it’s final page, I put it down, sat back and felt good. Books that make us feel good are always worth reading. Read this one.
Available in electronic media as well as old-fashioned book form, I encourage you to please purchase “A Dog’s Purpose” in either hardcover or paperback book format from a local book store to support the publication of such books which may be shared freely with friends, passed on to a less fortunate friend and kept on free public library shelves.
A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron, Forge Books, ISBN 0765330342
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