When I picked this book up I misunderstood the premise. I thought it was about the multiple lives of one dog with many families. Turns out the story was rather about reincarnations of the same canine soul into different doggies! To be fair, the concept of reincarnation is not novel and has been around for ages but applying it to dogs made perfect sense, so I was ready to take the plunge. In a way it is like the author implies that you will find the love of those pets you lost in future ones because in a way they will be tied to you, and you to them, forever.
The imagery and narrative are superb. Page after page I was engaged, completely vested in our main character’s success. As Toby becomes Bailey, and Bailey becomes Ellie, you fall in love with the journey this particular soul takes to learn the many tricks it will need to perform great acts of bravery and kindness. By the time we meet Buddy we are already rooting for a happy ending and even though it is up for debate, one is truly satisfied with the manner in which our protagonist views life and perceives mortality. It is a spectacular ride that will have you in tears, especially if you have a pet of your own or have lost one.
The book was so popular that it expanded itself into a series of titles: A Dog’s Journey, which actually sold more copies than its predecessor, Bailey’s Journey, and Ellie’s Journey. Watch the big screen adaptation in theaters starting January 27th, 2017. (Later to be released on video.)