A Dog’s Purpose

Author: Bruce Cameron dog
Publisher: Forge Books
Date: 2010
Genre: Humorous, Stories told by animals
ISBN: 9780765366764
Price: $5.99
Number of Pages: 319
Available Formats: Hardback, Paper back, E-book, Audio

Rating: 4Q, 4P

Links to Author’s Website and Interviews



Links to Reviews



Reader’s Annotation

Ever wonder what your dog is thinking? It’s probably more than you think.

Plot Summary

This book is told from the perspective of a dog, as he is reincarnated through various lives. His first life is as a stray mutt that is rescued by an old human. However, his life is cut short when he has to be euthanized. The dog gets reincarnated as a golden retriever puppy named Bailey and gets taken in by a family. The dog grows close to a young boy named Ethan, whom he watches grow over several years. However, they are tragically separated in a car accident. Waking up once again far away and in a new body, Bailey attempts to track down his former family.

Critical Evaluation

This is one of the best dog-related books I’ve ever read. Cameron does a great job in portraying how a dog thinks. It is both touching and hilarious, from a human perspective. As dogs can’t understand English, it’s interesting to see how they react to situations when they don’t know what is really going on around them but you do as a reader. The reincarnation concept is also very original and helps add drama and variety to the novel. While the book has aspects of comedy and drama, the heart of it is the relationship between Bailey and Ethan. Seeing their relationship grow was one of my favorite parts of the book. Cameron really knows how to tug on your heartstrings. There are several parts of the novel that make you want to cry but others that fill you with hope and warms your heart.

Appeal Factors

Amusing, Heartwarming, fast-paced


Marley & Me by John Grogan

Roam by Alan Lazar

Discussion Ideas

  • Discuss if Cameron successfully captures the essence of a dog’s personality and thinking.
  • Discuss the novel’s theme of why dogs are here and what their purpose is.

Justification of Selection

My husband has been trying to get me to read this book for years. Like him, I am a huge dog-lover, but I thought it would be weird reading from an animal’s perspective. I’m glad I finally listened to him.