Saturday, January 01, 2011

A Dog's Tale

One of the many joys of the holiday season is some extra time off to catch up on a few of those favorite things. Visiting with family and friends is one wonderful benefit to Christmas time. Another is having a few hours to read whatever I want to read.

My daughter gave me a Kindle for Christmas. I hadn't even considered reading e-books before this, but I decided to do a test run. Once had I downloaded A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, I was e-hooked.

The novel follows the various incarnations of one special dog as he seeks, just as we do, to learn the meaning of life. Told by the dog in the first person, it is captivating from the first page.

This dog is not quite as astute as the precocious Enzo, hero of Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain, who usually seemed to understand exactly what was transpiring in his owner's life. In A Dog's Purpose, some of Toby/Bailey/Ellie/Buddy's perceptions of human motives, actions, events, and consequences are downright hilarious. As a dog owner, I laughed out loud more than once. The comical canine conclusions will explain those quizzical or evasive looks your own dog often gives you.

The dog's vivid narration pulls the reader forward. There are scenes that compel the obligatory tears necessary in any self-respecting dog story, but the book's message is noble and uplifting. To encourage fellow dog lovers to go ahead and risk heartache by reading this charming story, I'll break my customary spoiler rule and let you know that the main character is alive at the conclusion.

For any other details, you'll just have to travel along with this remarkable dog in search of his purpose. It's a journey well worth taking.