Posts Tagged ‘A Dog’s Purpose’

Emory's Gift by Bruce Cameron

I was so captivated by the adorable canine character in A Dog’s Purpose by Bruce Cameron, I absolutely had to read Emory’s Gift (not to say it wasn’t also because it featured an image of a cute grizzly bear on the front cover, maybe because in real life grizzly bears scare the dickens out of me, especially when met face to face.)

Emory’s Gift is a heartwarming story about a boy named Charlie Hall, who lost his mother to a terminal illness, and was about to lose his father – so absorbed was his father in his grief. Charlie is both the protagonist and the narrator, a very likeable one, if a tad unreliable. Since he is a teenage boy, torn by conflicting emotions and still grappling with the reality of his mother’s death, his perspective on things is often obscured, and we get a hint here and a hint there that his version of events may not be what it seems. Even at the end, it’s not clear whether Charlie Hall himself believes in the tale of a grizzly bear who was possessed of such uncanny intelligence and literacy that would put some humans to shame, and whose very existence shook the spiritual foundations of an entire town.

According to Charlie, Emory the grizzly is a very special bear. Not only does Emory save the boy’s life, he also helps revive and strengthen the relationship between Charlie and his father and bring closure and peace to the Hall’s family. A formidable predator becomes a messenger of love and harbinger of good things to come. Of course, the fact that a message of love is delivered by a grizzly bear sparks controversy and stirs up a small community where Charlie and his father live.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, a page turner chock-full of drama, suspense and humour; although at times Charlie’s erratic behaviour put a considerable burr under my saddle. 🙂 I also wish I could have read this book when my son was Charlie’s age – that would have surely eliminated some misunderstandings and helped better appreciate the inner world of teenage boys.

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Before I delve into the review proper, I have to tell you this. Don’t make a mistake I’d made when I picked up this book from a bookstore shelf, lured by a sticky note “staff’s pick.” Do your homework: Read the reviews. Or if you tend to read the reviews only after you’ve finished a book, like I do, heed my advice – GET KLEENEX. Under no circumstances read A Dog’s Purpose while enjoying a ride on public transit. Have pity on fellow commuters — don’t put them on the spot with outbursts of laughter followed by uncontrollable sobs. Don’t read this book before bedtime, because you’ll wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether you’ve got four legs or two and get all bent out of shape to discover you’ve only got TWO and NO TAIL TO WAG.

Don’t take me wrong. I am not saying you should not read the book.

You should read the book if you love dogs.
You should read the book if you have a dog.
You should read the book if you are thinking of having a dog.
You should read the book if you are thinking of never having a dog.
You should read the book if you are afraid of dogs.
You should read the book if you don’t have dogs, will never have a dog, and couldn’t care less if there were no dogs in the entire universe.

I am afraid you are not getting my subtle message.


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