• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
    travellinpenguin on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    travellinpenguin on Libreria Acqua Alta in Ve…
    Malissa Greenwood on Libreria Acqua Alta in Ve…
    Matthew on [839] Eileen – Ottessa…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,018,639 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,738 other followers

[344] A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron

” I was seized with an inexplicable question, a question of purpose. This didn’t seem like the sort of thing a dog should think about, but I found myself returning to the issue often, usually as I was just dozing off for an irresistible nap. Why? Why was I a puppy again? Why did I harbor a nagging feeling that as a dog there was something I was supposed to do? ” [56, Bailey]

Sometimes I have a misgiving that as loyally and mindfully as my dog clings to me, I can never carry on a meaningful conversation with him like I do with humans. Dogs are extremely receptive to sounds and scent, which establish a basis of their acumen in memory. By separating nuances of scents and distinguishing sounds that take a long time to find our noses and ears, dogs commit into memory that help identify a threat or a treat. A Dog’s Purpose (aptly sub-titled A Novel for Humans) comes to relieve my angst in a timely manner. What’s more appropriate to investigate the purpose in a dog’s perspective?

Toby is a stray mutt adopted by an old lady who’s already had too many dogs in a crammed yard. With one leg severely injured, Toby is euthanized when animal patrol raids the woman’s house. A deep slumber has brought the dog to another time and a new place: the dog is reborn as a rambunctious, playful golden retriever who is heedless of house rules and falls victim to the cat’s instigation. During his life with 8-year-old Ethan, Bailey discovers his purpose in life to be a good dog. As the boy grows up, the dog senses all the tension and witnesses changes in family dynamics. Bailey saves his young master from being lost in the wood and then from a fire later. The dog reflects, his purpose is to love and protect.

Any reluctance I might have felt to attack a human being was overridden by the sense that whatever Todd was doing, it was causing harm to the boy and to the family I was there to protect. There was no stronger purpose than that. [148, Bailey]

Bailey has sworn loyalty to Ethan and his family. The form between dog and master transcends time and death. The last thought of the golden-haired canine, as he drifts away from life, is the boy. The memory passes on to his next incarnation, as if the dog has unfinished business. Reborn as a female German shepherd, Ellie is a search-and-rescue dog. If even dogs can earn karma, Ellie would be a top dog for all the victims she has saved. When Ellie’s time is up on earth, the dog is surprised to incarnate once again. What justifies another rebirth?

I knew they were talking about me, and wagged my tail in friendship. [215, Ellie]

A Dog’s Purpose is a remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for purpose over the course of four lives. It touches on the universal, rhetorical question that has puzzled philosophers over time: Why are we here? As much as he was taught to avoid men at all costs, the dog’s fate is inextricably linked with theirs, feeling their pain, sharing their joy, and sensing their inner sadness. An ultimate purpose to be fulfilled once again brings the dog to another incarnation—one that truly demonstrates how dog is man’s best friend. The fulfillment of this novel is that dogs, although incapable of speech, do observe and size us up. They feel us and know exactly when we need comfort, even though their lives do revolve around getting a biscuit treat. This book is a must read for dog lovers. Who can resist the charm of a dog, which contemplates his purpose in a voice full of curiosity and humor?

319 pp. Hardback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]

Advertisements

17 Responses

  1. You have made this review very interesting. My concentration was sustained throughout the read. Lovely! How we would have love to know our purpose on this Earth! How would have known why we are here on Earth at all! Thanks for this

    • Popular opinions hardly agree with mine, but this book has got some very positive reviews on Amazon and in media. I guess we all have a soft spot for dogs.

  2. Argh. The last time I read a book that had a dog head on the cover, and was narrated by a dog (Art of Racing in the Rain), I cried myself into a stupor! Even though the dog keeps coming back, I fear just the sheer preciousness of it all might be my undoing!

    • The book certainly provoked depressing thoughts and fond memories of Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain. I’m not sure if I would recommend this one to you since you’ll have to cry three times!

  3. I’m a total dog lover and this sounds wonderful. I sold it last year at my Scholastic book fair and tons of kids bought it and loved it!!

    • I couldn’t wait until the trade paperback to come out and purchased the e-book for iPad. But I’ll keep an eye on the trade paperback when it’s out. 🙂

  4. I’m so going to have to get this book. I love dogs so seeing things from their perspective, I’m hooked.

  5. When well done, I find a credible four-legged narrative voice sticks with me for more years than a two-legged’s. This sounds like a real keeper!

  6. We just got a dog this past weekend so the timing of your review couldn’t be better. I was raised with cats for a long, long time. They are totally different animals and it’s taking me a bit of time to convert my “cat” way of thinking, to a dog’s way of thinking.

    We had a very bad experience with a rescue dog several years ago and the scars from that experience never quite left but I learned so much about dogs from that experience.

    • In the book, Bailey the golden retriever muses on the “usefulness” of cats, which he co-inhabit in the house. They mind their own business and so he minds his own. But his reflection on the difference between dogs and cats is so hit-home: Cats pay you attention only when they want to. Dogs are always there when you need them.

  7. Being the dog lover that I am this is definitely going to be a must read for me.

  8. […] but they are certainly aware of our gestures and vibes. Another book is W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose, a remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for purpose over the course of four lives. […]

  9. […] A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is lighter than the tear-jerking, nose-blowing The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is a remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for purpose over the course of four lives. It touches on the universal, rhetorical question that has puzzled philosophers over time: Why are we here? As much as he was taught to avoid men at all costs, the dog’s fate is inextricably linked with theirs, feeling their pain, sharing their joy, and sensing their inner sadness. For all of us dog owners, our pet are destined to be entwined with our lives. Some of us cannot get over losing our pet, but ironically they are made therapists to cheer up the sick. Share this:StumbleUponRedditPrintMoreTwitterFacebookEmailDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  10. Thank you again, Matthew, for suggesting this book! I’m glad I read about it on your meme – a book that makes you happy. As a dog owner, I like the pretext behind this book! ^_^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: