W. Bruce Cameron is well known for his self improvement book 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter, which was adapted into a short lived ABC sitcom. This book put the author into the lime light, but Cameron’s popularity didn’t soar until he brought to life the story of a dog as he’s reincarnated through various lives with different owners in A Dog’s Purpose. Through each life, with each new persona, he learns a new skill that will help him in the next life. This beloved novel spent fifty-two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, and has spun follow up novels, including some targeted at a younger audience.
The novel covers a series of lives: Toby, Bailey, Ellie, and Buddy. Told from the perspective of the dog, the novel follows his journey as he searches for his purpose. The dog has various purposes in life from loving a little boy, to saving people’s life, but he starts to wonder if there’s an even greater purpose to his lives. Full of heartache, love, death, and humorous misunderstandings, Cameron creates a story from the heart, one that doesn’t give into sappiness, but one that shows the strength of the bond between humans and animals. The author says the film will have tears, but don’t worry, like the book, the film will be uplifting.
“I suppose the phrase ‘good cry’ comes up all the time when people are describing the book. For me, what I tried to do with the book was what a dog does to our life, which is to bring joy and happiness and then a profound sense of meaning to us, as well,” said Cameron.
The concept for a reincarnated dog came twelve years ago, when Cameron’s then girlfriend (now wife), Cathryn Michon thought after the death of her beloved Doberman Pinscher that she wouldn’t love another dog again. So in a loving gesture, Cameron made up a story of a dog that is reincarnated, remembers each previous life, and uses those memories to find its new purpose. Cathryn encouraged him to turn the story into a novel.
The bestseller will hit the big screen on January 27th. Knowing that people read A Dog’s Purpose, he’s aware that the act of reading is a solitary act unless it’s being read aloud, but a film is meant to be viewed together, to be experienced together. The new experience is one the author is looking forward to.
“Dogs are with us for such a short period of time, and they live their lives so joyfully. And I believe the message of the dogs is: Humans are here for a short period of time and that we also live our lives joyfully. And that, I hope, is the message of A Dog’s Purpose,” said Cameron.
A good portion of the novel, and the film, follows the life where the dog is known as Bailey, and his purpose in life is to make his boy, Ethan, happy. The film stars Dennis Quaid as adult Ethan, K.J. Apa of Riverdale as young Ethan, and the voice of Josh Gad (Frozen). Cameron watched the film with Gad which he describes as being “twice as much fun,” and describes him as an “emotive actor.”
The film came under recent controversy following a leaked video showing one of the dogs being mishandled. The author defends his film, which he co-wrote, and speaks about the mishandling of the dog Hercules which can be found on USA Today.
A Dog’s Purpose will be in theaters January 27.
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Featured image via Caribous Mom