Saturday, June 29, 2013

W. Bruce Cameron, author of A Dog's Purpose, A Dog's Journey...and Emory's Gift

Today's featured author is W. Bruce Cameron: A Dog's Purpose, A Dog's Journey, and Emory's Gift. When I find an author whose writing particularly resonates with me, I adore reading all his/her books that I believe will truly interest me. (Reading time is limited after all!) This is why I have now read all three of these books. In addition, Mr. Cameron is a wonderful human being, willing to take time to speak with a small book club in the midwestern U.S. about what I would consider his most daring publication to date, Emory's Gift.

I don't believe there is a substitute for the enlivening and endearing experience of speaking directly with an author regarding their work, period! It's such a thrill and can be so enlightening! Plus, as a bonus, for me at least, it makes any future reading of that person's work an even more personal experience; there seems to be a stronger connection between the two of us. I consider this similar to the experience of visiting a historical site; every time I encounter a reference to it in the future, I feel a real-life personal connection to what I'm reading, seeing, or hearing. Ah, but I digress...

Of the four book club members who read this book: now her absolute favorite book of all time for one, and one of her favorite books ever for the other three. Rarely does a book rate so highly for all of us! This book can easily be read by those of varying age levels, but I think it might be particularly well liked by an adolescent male, since it is a "coming-of-age" story. That said, it obviously works for older folks as well (30's, 50's, 60's, and 70's), as demonstrated by our "Borders" Book Club!

I don't believe there is any one "right" interpretation of this story, and that is what makes great literature, in my opinion. The reader's own unique perspective determines the specific meaning of the story. I can't imagine a reader unable to relate to Charlie's challenges, especially his interpersonal and familial relationships: with his father, the object of his first "crush"/love, his first "girlfriend," his "friends," neighbors, community members... These characters are so vivid, I felt they were in the room with me as I kidding! Reading this book was an unexpectedly deep experience for me. I highly recommend it! I was reminded of Jean Craighead George's book Charlie's Raven, not just because of the same name for the protagonist, either! :)
This is Smokie...

And this is John...
A bit of prelude to the other two reviews... Until I underwent NAET treatments ( I was unable to have a fur-bearing animal in my house due to allergies/sensitivies. However, several years before my discovery of this therapy, I did find ONE (yes, ONE!) kitten to which I did not react at all, and that is my Smokie. She was 6 weeks old and could literally stand in my hand when a friend brought her to me that afternoon in May 14+ years ago. I can "read" her body language and facial expressions and have often she perhaps my grandmother come back to me, to still serve as my source of comfort in life? Or could this be my father whom I never met and learned just last year died over 15 years ago? I don't know...but I can tell you that my life sans Smokie could never be as fulfilled and rewarding as it is now and has been for those 14+ years. Between her and my kind, caring, loving, and respectful husband, I am grateful to be so fortunate every single day. (Labeled pics included so you don't confuse the two! lol)

And now to the first of the two series books: A Dog's Purpose. This was first recommended to me as an absolute must-read by one of my coworkers at Borders (worked there for 4 "dream" job...<sigh>). Admittedly, it was another few years before I made it, but so glad I did take the time to read this! I refuse to post a "summary" of the can get that from many different sources, so I offer my own reactions and feelings to my readings. Although this book moved me to tears several times, that was not the main purpose, and it was not my overriding reaction. It is poignant, heartwarming, at times suspenseful, and offers some laugh-out-loud moments! Personally, I believe in reincarnation, so this book reinforced my belief that each lifetime provides learning experiences that benefit us in the development of our soul. I think I felt Cameron must share in these beliefs, but surprisingly for me, that is not the case! I read that this idea just came to him as a "What if..." I believe you will benefit greatly from reading of this one dog's adventures to discover his purpose in life and the fact that he is able to so aptly help his humans to discover their own purpose(s)! (My goodreads review:

All of the above paragraph would apply to A Dog's Journey as well. I admit to being a bit hesitant that this book might well seem like a "repeat" of A Dog's Purpose, but I was very pleasantly surprised and rewarded with a new story with different twists and turns. That same virtue of loyalty abounds in this book as it did in the first, and this time, "Buddy" (Each lifetime/reincarnation elicits yet a different name...but it's the same soul!) is companion to Clarity, who encounters many life challenges. I specifically connected to this story through Clarity's mother, Gloria, who in many ways resembled my own mother...what a challenge to endure and survive, then try to thrive throughout a lifetime of such narcissism and negativity! I was reminded of one of the themes from Jacqueline Sheehan's Lost and Found, another author and book I really love! Ah, the healing power of furry four-footed companions! Trust me, these two books are great reads, especially if you love, have loved, or think you might ever invite a dog (or cat or ??) into your life! (My goodreads review:

In summary, if you're at all interested in any or all of these books, my recommendation is begin reading one. I seriously doubt you'll be in the least disappointed! 
I certainly was not, and am anxious for some more!
Have you read any of these three? What are your thoughts?

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