Book Review of A Dog’s Journey: Another Novel for Humans by W. Bruce CameronPublished August 24, 2012
Photo by Lavanya Sunkara
New York Times bestseller A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans by W. Bruce Cameron has a sequel. In A Dog’s Journey: Another Novel for Humans (Forge, May 2012, $24.99), Cameron continues the journey of one endearing dog’s search for purpose over the course of many lives.
In the earlier book, stray mutt Toby’s life is cut short when he becomes injured. But that doesn’t stop him from coming back in his next life as a Golden Retriever named Bailey. As a loving dog to Ethan, Bailey learns that his purpose in life is to care for his owner. In his next life as Ellie, a female German Shepherd, the dog saves many lives as a heroic search and rescue dog. Then as Buddy, a lost Black Lab, searching for his way back to Ethan to fulfill his purpose in life.
Dog lovers everywhere fell in love with the novel written from the dog’s point of view. We found comfort in the many heartwarming ways the funny and wise dog helps his owners and others along the way in his multiple lives. Those new to the world of dogs got glimpses into the fate of pets in shelters, backyard rescuers, and puppy mill dogs. The book also showcased the work of the brave dogs in search and rescue (SAR) that help find the lost, and the loving people who do everything they can to help animals.
W. Bruce Cameron, who says he wants to come back as himself in his next life so he can write more books, definitely knows how to reach his readers. He has done it again in the sequel. Cameron’s insight into the way dogs think, act and feel is evident again in yet another book with a purpose. This time, Buddy has a new destiny, which is to help Clarity, his former owner Ethan’s teenage granddaughter.
While the story in A Dog’s Journey revolves around Clarity and her mother who just can’t seem to get things right, the real hero is the dog and his journey through more lifetimes. As a Poodle mix named Molly, the loyal dog tries to help Clarity as she navigates the harsh realities of life with a troubled mother and no father. Molly, with her tail always wagging and her soft fur ready to snuggle into, is exactly what Clarity needs. But Cameron’s story wouldn’t be complete without a deeper message— Dogs care for us in many ways.
Just like the previous book, Cameron gives readers another wonderful way dogs help humans in A Dog’s Journey. Molly, who accompanies Clarity to do volunteer work at a shelter, gets enrolled in a program that teaches dogs to detect cancer in humans. A dog’s sense of smell is far better than ours, and it can smell the scent of certain organic compounds people with cancer release. The dog notifies by either sitting or laying down in front of the humans when it detects any cancerous scents. So far, cancer detecting service dogs have also been able to sniff out skin, lung, ovarian and colorectal cancers.
When Molly comes back as Max, a Chihuahua and Yorkie mix, he manages to get back to his true home with Clarity. But things still haven’t gotten better for Clarity. Max takes it upon himself to help her once again. You’ll have to find out for yourself if the dog is able fulfill his purpose in this lifetime, but it’s hard to miss the message— Dogs are amazing indeed.
Sweet, heartwarming and informative, A Dog’s Journey, is a book for everyone who believes in the power of dogs to help us. Cameron is a man of his word. Not only does he spread the word about service animals and the plight of shelter dogs, he has also supported more than a hundred organizations with contributions, free books at auctions and more. Helping animals in need seems to run in his family. His daughter runs Life is Better Rescue in Denver, CO.
Fans of A Dog’s Purpose have something to look forward to. The book is being made into a movie by DreamWorks. Cameron will adapt the screenplay with Cathryn Michon (China Beach). The star of course will be the dog. Cameron says, “The dog hasn't been cast, but it is very important to me that the dog be able to play a dog.”
Bruce Cameron also authored 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter (which was turned into the TV show 8 Simple Rules), and Emory’s Gift among others. Visit www.BruceCameron.comfor more information.