The second half of a marathon voyage through the rhythms of life from a dog’s-eye view.
Cameron’s 2010 bestseller A Dog’s Purpose recounted the spiritual journey of a dog as he struggled to find meaning in his relationships with people. This sequel picks up with Buddy, the good dog who looked after his master Ethan his whole life. Shortly before dying, Buddy has a visceral reaction to toddler Clarity June, causing the pooch to rethink his position: “I loved CJ as much and in the same way as I had loved Ethan,” the dog, now reborn as “Molly,” says. “So had I been wrong that my purpose was to love Ethan?” The new poodle shepherds troubled CJ through the perils of adolescence, from a tango with bulimia to a romantic triangle. After Molly disappears, we meet Max, a hyperactive Chihuahua who falls into CJ’s lap. By now, CJ is an aspiring actress living in New York City who sidelines as (what else?) a dog walker. The novel is an undemanding but harmless retread up to this point, at which it leaps headlong into syrupy storytelling that makes The Bridge to Terabithia look like Trainspotting by comparison. CJ suffers a debilitating illness that puts her into a coma, Max meets his first cat and an old friend reenters CJ’s life at a critical juncture. No one remains unscathed in the book’s circuitous second half.
This maudlin sequel is overkill.