Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography of a Dog” as Want to Read:
Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography of a Dog
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beautiful Joe: An Autobiography of a Dog

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,496 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
Saunders' most famous novel Beautiful Joe, tells the true story of dog that has had a difficult puppyhood with many obstacles including a cruel owner. It is told from the dog's point of view. When the book was published, both the book and its subject received worldwide attention. It was the first Canadian book to sell over a million copies, and by the late 1930s had sold o ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Bibliotech Press (first published 1893)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beautiful Joe, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,306)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 12, 2012 Desiree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an old favorite. From "Beautiful Joes" point of view. It was an amazing book! Inspiring, simple, touching.The rough start at life for Joe really makes you think. How your life is, how his was.How it would be like for an animal.What they possibly think, would feel.I am quite fond with all the characters.Each one reaches out to you.You truly feel like you know them.The care in the book is amazing.Like I said, the book was touching.And it was a true story! It made me eager to read Beautiful ...more
May 26, 2011 Merriwether rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mom introduced me this story when I was only about 8 years old, as I was an animal empath all of my life. Keeping with the tradition of Black Beauty, one has to understamd that this book was written more for simple people who didn't understand in the late 1800's and early 1900's that animals had souls and could feel pain. Marshall Saunders does an excellent job of teaching that it isn't easy living at the mercy of cruel humans in the same way as Black Beauty and I love books that are told fro ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
"My name is Beautiful Joe, and I am a brown dog of medium size."

Beautiful Joe: The Autobiography of a Dog was written in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders. The author used a male pen name because she feared she would not be taken seriously as a woman writer. I picked up a copy at a used book sale on a strength of a recommendation of a friend, and while I enjoyed the story of a loyal dog who comes to a loving family after having been savagely mistreated, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I
May 25, 2013 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe this book had no readers on Goodreads. This is a book written in the same manner as Black Beauty to raise awareness of animal cruelty. An influential book in my life.
Jen Hirt
May 13, 2016 Jen Hirt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, wow. Remember Black Beauty? How it was all from the point of view of the horse? Well, in 1894, Margaret Marshall Saunders wanted to do for dogs what Black Beauty did for abused cab horses in 1877. She knew of a real-life story of a horribly mutilated dog in Canada -- he'd had his ears and tail cut clean off as punishment for some small infraction like barking or existing. The American Humane Society was running a writing contest, so Saunders set the story of Beautiful Joe in Maine. The book ...more
Nancy Brady
Jan 31, 2013 Nancy Brady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of my favorite books when I was a youngster. It tells the story of a dog who is owned by a cruel master (he cuts his ears and tail off) before being rescued by a kind family. Told from the dog's perspective, it is a compelling and poignant read that is both joyful and tear producing depending. Highly recommended to all children ten and up.
Eva Leger
Apr 15, 2010 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every animal lover on earth
Recommended to Eva by: Jeannie and Suzanna (thanks guys!) :D
I can't believe I made it 32 years without knowing about Beautiful Joe. I so wish I had been introduced to this book as a child - I can only imagine how many times I'd have read it between then and now. I won't make that same mistake with my daughter. I'm going to buy a copy of this for us and always keep it around. I'll read it to her in a few years and then hopefully a few years later she'll be reading it herself.
I would have liked this book to be five times as long as it is. It's rare to fin
Mar 10, 2016 Autumn♥♥☽ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dogs
I didn't enjoy this book very much and I usually just love dog stories. For that reason I can't recommend it for anyone. It does reflect the old thinking of that time which was for the most part very boring for instance they wanted to put a stop to young people moving to cities and all sorts of ridiculous ideas were put forth which would have made no difference at all. Many young people would have left just to get away from some of these ideas but the ideas about really caring for animals are go ...more
Feb 25, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-5-stars
I was pleasantly surprised to find a book written in a dog's voice in 1893, and I absolutely loved it. And the voice - Beautiful Joe's - is indeed a beautiful voice. His voice is genuine and loveable, and his perspective is believable. The book also gives an historical account of the way animals were treated in America at that time. I found it sad that so little has changed since then in respect to the abuse, neglect, and abandonment of animals and the lack of laws to protect them. Beautiful Joe ...more
Jun 09, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all children between about 8-11 years old
Recommended to Kim by: Donna Fay
My aunt gave this book to us this summer and said that she had read and loved it when she was about 8 years old. It is about a dog who was born on a farm with a very abusive owner. The dog is soon rescued and taken in by a loving family. Kaitlyn loved it and always begged me to read more. We were instructed that the book is to share with all our cousins but Kaitlyn doesn't want to give it up. She is now starting to read it a second time on her own. My aunt tells me that there is a cemetery in On ...more
This book was written in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders. What a remarkable, compassionate author she is. The story is of a dog, Beautiful Joe, and is told by the dog. The entire story focuses on his life and the the humane treatment of animals. I just loved the last sentence of the book:

"Boys and girls, be kind to dumb animals, not only because you will lose nothing by it, but because you ought to; for they were placed on the earth by the same Kind Hand that made all living creatures."
Aug 11, 2014 Fence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful Joe is the story of a dog, a mongrel whose first owner abused him, going so far as to chop off his ears and tail. He was rescued and went on to live a much happier life. The author of this story, Margaret Marshall Saunders1 met the real Beautiful Joe while visiting her brother in law and his wife, the inspiration for Laura in the book. She was touched by Joe’s story, and having recently read Black Beauty2 decided to write “a dog’s own tale”.

A lot of comparisons to Black Beauty might be
BEAUTIFUL JOE originated from the same era and sensibilities as the more famous BLACK BEAUTY. Like the world’s best-known horse novel, BEAUTIFUL JOE tells a story from the perspective of an animal (this time a dog), with the intent of instilling humane values in its readers. Unlike BLACK BEAUTY, however, JOE is not a classic in writing style, and reads more like a morality play—attempting to cram as many lessons as possible into the text—than an actual story that will hold readers’ attention.

Apr 19, 2011 Jeannie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone should read this book especially with their children
Recommended to Jeannie by: my dad
This was my dad's favorite book and he let me read it when I was maybe 8 yrs old. I still have that hardback copy. It is a very moving story of an abused and then rescued dog told from his point of view. Very hard hitting book for a child to read and it has deeply influenced the way I look at and will treat animals for the rest of my life.
Cecile Hibbs
Jan 28, 2013 Cecile Hibbs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Another excellent book that my grandmother gave me. A beautiful, sensitive and sad story told from the perspective of an abused dog. This story was written to strike up interest in animal's rights in the early 1900's.
Read this as a child, loved it and have never forgotten it was a favorite, although my memory of the details is dim. I do know Joe stole my heart. Have wanted to reread it for a long time.
A great book for kids. Teaches love and compassion for all living beings, and creates a caring perspective for children!
Mar 19, 2016 Dad rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, naturalist, youth
I was re-reading this book. I read it as a teen and wanted to experience it again. I felt so bad that Beautiful Joe had his ears and tail cut off by his terrible owner Jenkins. It was wonderful he got a new home. Miss Laura was nice to him.
There are some humane passages in this book some of them for farmers that city people would not encounter. They make sense and are good. I try to be kind to animals. However, right now we have some ants infesting our house. I squish them to get rid of them. I
Chrystal Hays
Jan 27, 2014 Chrystal Hays rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found an older copy of this book as a gift for a nephew, and took time to re-read it before gifting. My mother read it to us when we were children...perhaps I was 8? It made a good and lasting impression, but I wanted to see how it read now.

It was revolutionary in its time and resulted in many advances in dog care, as it was inspired by Black Beauty. Joe was a real dog.

What is interesting about reading it today is the appreciation one gets for the advances since it was first penned, througho
Feb 07, 2013 Eliz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my dad's favorite book as a child and it is also one of mine!
Brad Lyerla
Jan 19, 2015 Brad Lyerla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read BEAUTIFUL JOE as a child. I wept through the beginning until Joe escapes his cruel first master. My uncle was never able to get past page 20 or so. Old family story about that.

I was fond of animal stories for a period. I remember enjoying one written from the point of view of a peregrine falcon. Cannot remember the name.

I moved on from animals when I discovered Franklin W. Dixon's The Hardy Boys. I devoured the entire series of books. Even skipped school a few times to stay home and rea
Cindy Oxman
Apr 05, 2014 Cindy Oxman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My grade two teacher read this book to our class and I will never forget the impact it had on me. I remember trying hard not to cry as she read it, but borrowed a copy from the library so I could read it at home and cry privately. I found an old copy at a book sale years later and couldn't wait to read it to my own children. Sadly, they could not garner the same enthusiasm for it as I, but patiently listened during our bedtime reading rituals. I hope I made it up to them by honoring their choice ...more
Sirius Scientist
Nov 09, 2010 Sirius Scientist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, classic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2014 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers, children who are animal lovers
When I was five years old my mother bought me this book at a goodwill in louisville for five cents. i remember seeing the picture of beautiful joe on the cover and found myself wanting to know why his little ears were cropped. the copy i had had been beaten up itself - the spine was held together with masking tape.

it was the first real book i read and i've read it many times throughout my life. as michael and i ready ourselves for a child, i thought it would be good to re-read this book. i'm su
Forgotten Realms Queen
Wow this was painful to read. It's a kids classic, so I thought I would rip through it pretty quick...but no...

Beautiful Joe is the story of a dog in his own words. Think Black Beauty if you've ever read the book or watched the movie. The only difference is book really encompasses all kinds of animals, rather than just focusing on one type.

So Beautiful Joe is a dog who was abused by his first master. Had his ears and tail chopped off with an axe because the guy got in a bad mood. Luckily for him
Jul 26, 2008 Ilze rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking for this book for years. The last time I read it, must have been in 1983. That was when I was still in school and all I could remember was the shelf from which I fetched it and the dog on the cover! The scene that's haunted me ever since (and which is why I really wanted to read it again) was when young Joe goes to hide in the bramble bushes to die ... the rest was just a haze (except, of course, that a dog wrote the book, which my mother thought very funny). So, what a pleasur ...more
Jordan Taylor
Beautiful Joe has been compared to the groundbreaking Black Beauty since its publication in 1893. This first person story of an abused dog runs many parallels to Black Beauty and Margaret Marshall Saunders made no secret of having been inspired and greatly influenced by the horse novel. The two even met comparable success. Black Beauty was already famous and Beautiful Joe soon became the best-selling Canadian novel ever. (Though the true story it is loosely based on took place in Canada, the nov ...more
Jeri Massi
BEAUTIFUL JOE will shock young readers because of its very violent beginning, and yet that violence is handled well in the story, and it creates the lasting impression upon young minds that its author intended. For the writer tells the story from the point of view of a dog cruelly abused, his suffering, and his rescue. In a culture where children see a lot of violence, this book is a refreshing truth: violence hurts. It brings pain and grief, and good people still try to heal pain and grief and ...more
May 19, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Discovered this book in a cabinet at my Grandparents as a child -- it had belonged to my grandfather -- and read it then and later as a teenager or young adult. Defnitely was a tearjerker! One of the most memorable books of my childhood . . . but then children don't often read about realistic brutality. But the dog's life improves and all's well.

Intend to give a copy to 7-year-old granddaughter -- we'll see if she reacts as I did.
May 27, 2015 RJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant read for children. All the characters in the book, except for Jenkins, show compassion and kindness. Joe was taken in by the Morrises, and was treated with much kindness and love. Joe learns from them, and from the other wise animals in the household. Through Joe's perspective, the reader comes across many instances of animal and human kindness.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 76 77 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nop's Trials
  • Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales
  • The Old Testament (Great Courses, #653)
  • The Price to Pay: A Muslim Risks All to Follow Christ
  • The Poet and the Lunatics
  • Kidnapped (Great Illustrated Classics)
  • Lad: A Dog
  • Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day
  • When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings
  • Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned From a Little Golden Book
  • The D. Case or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood
  • A Travel Guide to Heaven
  • The Plug-In Drug: Television, Computers, and Family Life
  • The Greengage Summer
  • Mazes and Monsters
  • The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
  • Freddy the Detective
  • Bells of Nagasaki (Japan's Modern Writers)
Margaret Marshall Saunders CBE was a Canadian author.

Saunders was born in the village of Milton, Queens County, Nova Scotia. She spent most of her childhood in Berwick, Nova Scotia where her father served as Baptist minister. Saunders is most famous for her novel Beautiful Joe. Originally published under the pseudonym Marshall Saunders, it is a story narrated by a dog who has had a difficult puppy
More about Margaret Marshall Saunders...

Share This Book