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 read...no 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...|
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 years...my "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 story...you 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: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7723542-a-dog-s-purpose)