By: W. Bruce Cameron
Publisher: Forge Books
Publication Date: May 2013
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 15, 2017
A Dog's Journey continues the story of a very special dog's soul, or essence, first told in the best-selling book A Dog's Purpose.
A quick recap from the first book: The reader is introduced to a puppy, Toby, who begins life as a feral dog, along with his littermates and mother. Toby's life is tragically cut short and then he is reborn, renamed, and lives a very full life in the body of another dog, with a different owner and a very different experience. The key is that Toby, or Bailey, or Ellie, or Buddy, as the dog is known through his various lives, remembers each previous life and experiences. As Bailey, the dog is loved by, and loves, a boy named Ethan and it is perhaps because of Ethan that the dog is reborn again and again as he searches for his special boy.
A Dog's Journey picks up right where the pervious book ended, with Buddy living in Ethan's home with his widow Hannah. Soon we meet other relatives, including Hannah's daughter-in-law Gloria, a woman who is basically a waste of oxygen. Self-centered and self-important, the only redeeming thing about her is that she has a delightful young daughter Clarity Jane. CJ, as she is soon called, is the focus of this book as the dog follows "his girl" through her life via several different dogs.
With the passing of Buddy, the dog is reborn as Molly, a poodle mix who is adopted by a now teenage CJ. The young girl has a terrible life with her mother Gloria, who brings a multitude of boyfriends through the house and finds that being a mother is just too much work. The only good things in CJ's life are her dog Molly and her best friend Trent. But things with Gloria go from bad to worse and CJ is forced to grow up much too fast. Molly and her other dog reincarnations do their best to help CJ and it is through her various dogs that CJ is finally able to find peace.
If you've read my review for A Dog's Purpose, you know that I loved that book and recommended it for all dog lovers. While A Dog's Journey is not quite as much of a page-turner, it was still a very enjoyable read. The main difference between the stories is that in the first book, the dog's various lives did not always intertwine with previous owners, making for very different adventures throughout the book, while in this book, the journey was all about CJ and the dog coming back repeatedly right into her life (with a little work on the dog's part to catch her attention). Regardless, there's no doubt that author W. Bruce Cameron has a talent for catching the essence of what a dog must be thinking and these thoughts, shared with the reader, are what captured the imagination and made the book a fun and quick read.
Quill says: While not quite as engaging as A Dog's Purpose, this second book is still very enjoyable and highly recommended for dog lovers.