A Dog's Journey - W. Bruce Cameron What I love about this book is that it's not just a story about a dog, but it's also a coming-of-age story about a girl coping with a troubled life.

A Dog's Journey is a direct sequel to the book A Dog's Purpose, in which we follow the different incarnations of a dog as he is reborn each time. Living his lives as Tobey, Bailey, Ellie and Buddy, he discovers his main mission: to love and look after his boy Ethan as he grows up.

At the end of a Dog's Purpose, Ethan passes away as an old man after living a long and happy life, with Buddy by his side. Thus A Dog's Journey begins with Buddy believing that he has finally fulfilled his purpose...that is, until he meets Clarity, Ethan's rambunctious granddaughter who is always getting into dangerous trouble in part because of her irresponsible and negligent mother.

When Buddy dies, he is reborn as Molly, a poodle-mix who decides that her new purpose must be to look after Clarity, now a teenager who goes by CJ. Thus begins a tale of a love between a girl and her dog.

The first book was a total impulse buy when I picked it up, but I'm so glad I did. It's a heartwarming story, at times funny, at times sad, and you don't have to be a dog owner to enjoy it. As someone who owns and loves dogs, though, the book really touched me, and I admit I cried several times while reading it. I didn't cry with A Dog's Journey, however, but it's no less poignant and impressive.

I've mentioned before that I'm usually not too keen on the anthropomorphizing of animals, but W. Bruce Cameron writes so well in the dog's point of view that you can't help but be drawn in by the narrative. It takes you so deeply into a dog's mindset that you start to wonder that, hey, maybe that's really how dogs do think. And that's also the way the greater story of CJ's life unfolds in this book -- through the eyes of our canine protagonist.

It's a method and style of storytelling that is surprisingly effective...and addictive. I had the audiobook version of A Dog's Journey, and what I usually do is listen right before I go to bed, so it's like I can get sleepy and drift off to someone reading to me. The thing is, it backfired with this book because I always wanted to keep listening to get further into the story, and as a result it actually kept me awake. This book isn't intense or action-filled or anything like that, but it still got me very anxious to know what would happen next. It also didn't help that the narrator is really, really good.

I recommend this book if you're a dog lover, but also even if you're not. If you are a dog owner as well, I guarantee you will want to hug your dog afterward. If you haven't read the first book A Dog's Purpose though, I would advise reading it first before tackling this one.