For anyone who has ever loved and lost a dog, “A Dog’s Purpose” is a bestselling novel that will capture your heart. “Bailey’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Novel” is one of the many stories W. Bruce Cameron wrote in “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is coming to the big screen in January, 2017.
While “A Dog’s Purpose” is an adult novel, Cameron cleverly adapted parts of the book for children’s stories, and “Bailey’s Story” is the natural sequel to “Ellie’s Story,” also from “A Dog’s Purpose.” In Bailey’s story, readers meet the puppy Bailey, who escapes from the breeder’s property where he was born. This breeder, or perhaps a puppy mill, is a place where mothers languish in their cages living on concrete until their puppies are taken away. The human who feeds them doesn’t talk to them, pet them, or give them any affection at all. While the grass is tantalizingly just outside their cages, the adult dogs almost never get to feel the grass under their feet.
Bailey escapes from this place as a young puppy and ends up almost dying shortly after that. He is rescued, and he joins Ethan’s family. Ethan, being played as an adult by Dennis Quaid, is a young boy when Bailey joins their family. The children’s book focuses on the relationship between Ethan and Bailey.
The story is told in first person, narrated by Bailey. Like any dog, while there are things that Bailey understands, there is much that he doesn’t understand. What the reader understands is that Bailey loves Ethan with every molecule in his body. Ethan’s parents are merely there as side characters — this is about a boy and his dog.
Apropos of a children’s book and a children’s ending to the book, Bailey does not die in this novel. While in “A Dog’s Purpose,” Bailey dies and is reincarnated over and over, in each of the children’s books, Cameron visits one of the dog’s many lives and shares the particulars of that life with the young readers.
Enjoy the book “A Dog’s Purpose” before the movie, and share the fun by giving a child “Bailey’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Novel” before the movie comes out, too.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Starscape, for review purposes.