This was a total impulse buy that caught my eye as I was browsing through the bestsellers in the Kindle store. Told in the first-person point of view...moreThis was a total impulse buy that caught my eye as I was browsing through the bestsellers in the Kindle store. Told in the first-person point of view of a dog looking for his purpose, and has to be reborn several times to find it, one moment this book was making me laugh, and the next I was bawling my eyes out. It’s cute, funny, touching, and perfect if you’re looking for a casual and easy read.
Dog lovers will enjoy it, and while I’m not big on the anthropomorphizing of animals, I still have to admit Cameron does a pretty good job of delving into a dog’s mind. Several times while reading this book, I’ve gone over and give my Cavalier puppy a hug, or thought about my other dog, a Beagle that’s now living with my parents and getting on in years. You don’t have to own a dog to love A Dog’s Purpose, but for someone who does, it definitely makes you consider your role in your dog’s life and vice versa.(less)
Interesting novel, an impulse buy which I knew very little about but turned out to be pretty good. Has a bit of a "Crash" feel to it, in the way the n...moreInteresting novel, an impulse buy which I knew very little about but turned out to be pretty good. Has a bit of a "Crash" feel to it, in the way the narratives of multiple characters actually end up fitting into a larger story as a whole.
Given the title, it's not surprising that psychological disorders play a major role in this book, and questions and themes about what is normal and expected/accepted of us in society. There are some controversial topics and most of the characters are not your usual protagonists, which made this book a fun but sometimes difficult read.(less)
Like a lot of people, I read this book after reading "Water for Elephants". Unlike most of them though, I wasn't impressed with "Water" at all, but de...moreLike a lot of people, I read this book after reading "Water for Elephants". Unlike most of them though, I wasn't impressed with "Water" at all, but decided to read "Ape House" anyway because of the subject of the book. I studied primatology for my physical anthro degree in college, and bonobos were my favorite great apes. Like the author, I found their intelligence and their behavior fascinating, and when I read her blurb about how she fell in love with these animals, it really resonated with me.
My interest in bonobos did not help me like this book more, however. I debated giving it 2 stars before deciding to give it a 2.5 and rounded up. I felt the book suffered from the same issues I had with "Water for Elephants", in that Gruen started with an excellent premise that was full of potential -- but then totally crashes and burns when it comes to the execution. I can't help but feel sometimes that she writes like she lives in fantasy land, or expects that the reader does. Many of the story's scenarios are over-the-top, and the characters are often ridiculous caricatures and their descriptions silly and cartoon-like. My willing suspension of disbelief can only be pushed so far. This will probably be the last Sara Gruen book I'll read.(less)
What I love about this book is that it's not just a story about a dog, but it's also a coming-of-age story about a girl coping with a troubled life.
A...moreWhat I love about this book is that it's not just a story about a dog, but it's also a coming-of-age story about a girl coping with a troubled life.
A Dog's Journey is a direct sequel to the book A Dog's Purpose, in which we follow the different incarnations of a dog as he is reborn each time. Living his lives as Tobey, Bailey, Ellie and Buddy, he discovers his main mission: to love and look after his boy Ethan as he grows up.
At the end of a Dog's Purpose, Ethan passes away as an old man after living a long and happy life, with Buddy by his side. Thus A Dog's Journey begins with Buddy believing that he has finally fulfilled his purpose...that is, until he meets Clarity, Ethan's rambunctious granddaughter who is always getting into dangerous trouble in part because of her irresponsible and negligent mother.
When Buddy dies, he is reborn as Molly, a poodle-mix who decides that her new purpose must be to look after Clarity, now a teenager who goes by CJ. Thus begins a tale of a love between a girl and her dog.
The first book was a total impulse buy when I picked it up, but I'm so glad I did. It's a heartwarming story, at times funny, at times sad, and you don't have to be a dog owner to enjoy it. As someone who owns and loves dogs, though, the book really touched me, and I admit I cried several times while reading it. I didn't cry with A Dog's Journey, however, but it's no less poignant and impressive.
I've mentioned before that I'm usually not too keen on the anthropomorphizing of animals, but W. Bruce Cameron writes so well in the dog's point of view that you can't help but be drawn in by the narrative. It takes you so deeply into a dog's mindset that you start to wonder that, hey, maybe that's really how dogs do think. And that's also the way the greater story of CJ's life unfolds in this book -- through the eyes of our canine protagonist.
It's a method and style of storytelling that is surprisingly effective...and addictive. I had the audiobook version of A Dog's Journey, and what I usually do is listen right before I go to bed, so it's like I can get sleepy and drift off to someone reading to me. The thing is, it backfired with this book because I always wanted to keep listening to get further into the story, and as a result it actually kept me awake. This book isn't intense or action-filled or anything like that, but it still got me very anxious to know what would happen next. It also didn't help that the narrator is really, really good.
I recommend this book if you're a dog lover, but also even if you're not. If you are a dog owner as well, I guarantee you will want to hug your dog afterward. If you haven't read the first book A Dog's Purpose though, I would advise reading it first before tackling this one. (less)
I'd seen the movie before reading this book so I knew what was going to happen, but geez, it's still a punch in the gut. Here's a story that follows t...moreI'd seen the movie before reading this book so I knew what was going to happen, but geez, it's still a punch in the gut. Here's a story that follows two people on this one day each year for twenty years, so of course you can't help but get invested in the characters.
Mind you, neither Emma or Dexter are very likeable characters, at least not to me. For twenty years it's like they never grow up, still the same whiny, self absorbed and pretentious people year after year. So many times while I was reading, it was like wow, shut the hell up and get over yourselves!!! But I guess a part of me also liked that they are flawed people, and that was what made them feel so real.
As time passes, they deal with the kind of common problems that I suppose all people have to overcome as they go through life. In a way, this book is less a romance and more about a story of growing up for adults. It's interesting to see Dex and Em go through the different life stages and events from their early twenties to early forties, and that will make it easy for many people to relate. I'm sure a lot of the things they experience will resonate with other readers as they did with me.
Just a heads up though -- this is NOT a happy happy joy joy read. Do not pick this up if you're looking for a feel-good book, as this is definitely not the book you're looking for. In many ways One Day reminds me of stuff by Nicolas Sparks, being a tale of a great love and all, but with a heart-wrenching, depressing and tearjerking spin to it.(less)
This was a departure from my usual genre (science fiction, fantasy, other types of speculative fiction, etc.) but I have to admit that my curiosity wa...moreThis was a departure from my usual genre (science fiction, fantasy, other types of speculative fiction, etc.) but I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued by the hype surrounding this book. Its synopsis, vague as it was, also interested me so that was why when my next Audible credit became available, I used it on the audiobook version of Gone Girl.
And now that I'm finished with it, I can finally understand why the all the plot summaries and reviews for this book have been so vague. It's going to be hard to describe what I liked and what I disliked without revealing any spoilers, so I doubt this review will make much sense to those who haven't read it. But I'll try my best.
The book opens with an introduction to a what appears to be an average couple, Nick and Amy. They have fallen upon some hard times in the recession, and were forced to move back to Nick's hometown in Missouri after both of them were laid off from their their jobs back in New York City. Like most couples they have their ups and downs, until one day Amy simply disappears from their home and deeper investigation reveals disturbing secrets as the layers are peeled back revealing the truth of their seemingly normal marriage.
The book begins by alternating between two points of view: Nick's narration which starts the day his wife goes missing, and Amy's part of the story which is told through diary entries starting from when the two of them first met.
Here's where my review will probably get confusing, because while I will talk about my feelings for this book I won't be able to really explain why without spoiling the story. Anyway, you will probably find that most reviewers will talk about this book referring to its three parts. The first part of this book, which deals with the circumstances behind Amy's disappearance, was incredibly addictive. You start to get to know the characters a bit more, form your opinions about them, and the way this part was written I was just riveted the entire time. Maybe this has something to do with the fact I listened to the audiobook, because the two narrators were absolutely fantastic.
The second part, however, while still good, was a bit disappointing. Here, the plot takes a turn, and basically I felt that the book lost a bit of its suspense. Some people adore this second part though, so really, it's a matter of taste and how you like your mystery stories. Regardless, this next part completely changed my perspective. You start to wonder just how reliable your narrators are, how deep the secrets really go, and just who is telling the truth.
The third and final part of the book took me through a whole bunch of emotions. Mostly, I was angry. Angry at the characters, angry at the story, angry at the ending. But taking the reader on a roller coaster ride of feelings was no doubt intentional, with the author wanting the reader to feel a certain way after reading this book, and she definitely had me. So maybe it didn't wrap up as neatly as it could have, with the ending being a bit unrealistic and the characters feeling a bit forced, but ultimately this was one hell of a fun read.(less)
Talk about a dysfunctional family. I swear, every character you meet in this book is a nutjob.
I recently rented the movie from Amazon Instant Video,...moreTalk about a dysfunctional family. I swear, every character you meet in this book is a nutjob.
I recently rented the movie from Amazon Instant Video, and since the service gives me 30 days to start watching it I figured that would give me plenty of time to read the book since it has been in my to-read list for a while now.
To my surprise, I really liked this. That was not what I expected when I first picked it up. The writing was so awkward, made even more jarring by the use of present tense. Not to mention the narrator, a grown man, tells his story like a child -- with short, halting sentences and a seemingly short attention span.
It took me a while to get used to it, but I did, and only after that happened was I able to start enjoying this book. Matt King, our protagonist is the heir to a lot of undeveloped land in his native home of Hawaii because his ancestor married a Hawaiian princess, and now he has to sell. However, the real story is the drama of his family life, which was what got me hooked. Matt's wife Joanie is in a coma and is taken off life support; meanwhile Matt discovers that she may have been having an affair before her accident that put her in the hospital, and together with his two troubled daughters he struggles to find closure and a way to deal with a future without the most important woman in their lives.
A very touching and heartfelt story, and at times humorous and just plain twisted. (less)
Like the legions of people who have picked up this book lately, I was first intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming film based on it. Now that I’ve...moreLike the legions of people who have picked up this book lately, I was first intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming film based on it. Now that I’ve read it, I’m more curious than ever. It’s not particularly an ideal book to make an adaptation.
It’s like six separate stories all nested within each other like a Russian matryoshka doll, its characters only having a tenuous link to each other. Like six novellas, the first five split in half, interrupted right in the middle, only to be continued after the sixth story is told to completion. Does this even make sense? Every time I try to explain it, I’m given arched eyebrows and confused looks. You can see why I am curious how this will fly as a movie.
The stories are set in different times, different places, each has its own themes and even its own written style. As such, I don’t even really know how to classify this book — it is science fiction, it is fantasy; it is also historical fiction, and it is mystery. It also has a dash of romance and a bit of thriller. David Mitchell has done something amazing, giving each of his six protagonists a distinct voice and personality. The book is thematically quite heavy, with lots to think about during and after reading, but ultimately also very enjoyable to read.
My one gripe is I found that "first halves" of all the stories to be so much more interesting. By the time I reached the second halves, I found my interest waning a bit for each story. The build up is always better. (less)