From W. Bruce Cameron, author of the beloved bestseller and major Hollywood movie A Dog’s Purpose, comes this beautifully told, charming tale that explores the unbreakable bond between us and our pets.
Lucas Ray is shocked when, while attempting to rescue stray cats from an abandoned building slated for demolition, an adorable puppy jumps out of a crawl space and into his arms. Even though the apartment he shares with his mother, a disabled veteran, doesn’t allow dogs, Lucas can’t resist taking Bella home.
Bella is inexplicably drawn to Lucas, even if she doesn’t understand the necessity of games like No Barks. As it becomes more difficult to hide her rapidly growing presence from neighbours, Lucas begins to sneak Bella into the veteran’s hospital where he works and his mother receives treatment. There, the happy-go-lucky dog naturally brings joy and comfort where it is needed most.
After Bella is picked up by Animal Control for being a pit bull, a breed banned in Denver, Lucas has no choice but to send her to a foster home until he can figure out what to do. But Bella, distraught at the separation, doesn’t plan to wait. With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness between her and Lucas, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.
A classic story of unwavering loyalty and incredible devotion, A Dog’s Way Home is a fantastic and exhilarating journey of the heart.
A Dog’s Way Home by Bruce Cameron is a novel about a young pup’s journey home after he is separated from his owner in the United States.
The plot is not a unique one, and reminded me of many movies I watched as a child. A young dog is hundreds of miles away from its owner and sets out on foot to return to its family, meeting many interesting animals and humans along the way. This book reminded me of the Homeward Bound movies that I loved as a child, and also Napoleon.
“The little kitties were mewing in distress. Their appeals saddened me, because I was their big sister, but I could do nothing to help them. I expected that our mother would soon be joining them, and knew they would feel better then.”
I think this book has been incorrectly categorised as an adult fiction novel, when it actually reads like a children’s book. The young puppy’s voice is very similar to a child’s voice, so the book at times feels very juvenile and silly and just very ‘young’.
I can imagine any young child who adores dogs and puppies would devour this story, but adults may lose interest in the story and the writing style after some time. I imagine the major motion picture set to release in 2019 will appeal to adults more than the book that inspired it.
“The route I took roughly tracked the commingled scents of Big Kitten and the huge dead cat, retracing their steps. The going was not easy, but the trail when in a fairly straight line away from the angry men. I could smell them and the blood now, the breeze cooler under my tail than on my nose.”
Despite this, it’s a really sweet story. Bella and Lucas share a special bond that any dog owner will recognise. But they will also understand and recognise the struggles that Lucas faces as Bella’s owner. He’s not allowed dogs in his building, and Bella won’t stop barking. They try to sneak her in and out of the building, and they try to teach her not to bark, but she gets confused easily and sooner or later they’re found out.
Additionally, pit bulls are not allowed in Denver because the city council passed a ban on them after a young child was killed by a pit bull in the neighbourhood. As a result, animal control are allowed to seize and destroy pit bulls, and they have a personal gripe against Lucas and his pet Bella.
Lucas loves Bella, and does his best to train her. He also leaves Bella with a couple of friends while he finds a new place to live. But Bella doesn’t understand what’s happening, so she jumps the fence and over the course of two years, makes the trek home to Lucas.
“Bella’s up against the government. I’m afraid the law in Denver is irrational on this subject. Did you know there’s not even such a thing as a specific AKC breed called a pit bull? It’s a whole class of dog, like retriever.”
Recommended for younger readers who love dogs and puppies.
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Dog’s Way Home
W. Bruce Cameron
Pan Macmillan Publishers