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

It’s not Marley and Me.

To be clear, it’s about a dog, and all his dog-like behavior, but it’s a unique book, a thoughtful read. And as I sit here with the Dog Without a Downside at my feet, it’s given me renewed love for the little maggot-eater.

The dog narrates as he goes through his various lives. Yes, lives. His first life is short — he’s born to a feral dog mom and lives in the wild until he and his mother and siblings are caught by an informal rescue group. There he lives until the woman in charge attracts the attention of the local animal control, who seize all the dogs and take them to a kill-shelter.

In his second life he’s a puppy mill puppy, a golden retriever, who ends up the blissful companion of an adorable boy and his family.This life is his longest, and most detailed — and happiest. In his life as Bailey he learns about human beings, about being a “good dog,” and about friendship and love.

As he grows up, grows old, and gets reborn, he ponders his purpose. Throughout each life he learns skills that he takes to the next. But why does he continue to be reborn as a puppy? What is the ultimate goal to fulfill?

Each time he is reborn, he (although he’s a “she” in one life) matures a bit and becomes a little more understanding of himself and of other animals in the world, including humans. In his first life he’s an immature puppy; his subsequent lives reflect an older dog’s soul housed in new fur.

Grab the tissues — although it ends happily, with the dog discovering his purpose, there are some weepy moments — and enjoy this beautiful, original story.

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

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2 Responses

  1. It was an awesome book! I was looking for more of the same, and chanced upon an interview he had with book report radio host Elaine Charles earlier this month. A very sweet guy, but also spoke of the freedom he was given to write this story as he saw fit.

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