DreamWorks picks up movie rights to NY Times bestseller "A Dog's Purpose"

Fans of writer W. Bruce Cameron will be wagging for joy at this news: DreamWorks has picked up the movie rights to Cameron’s NY Times Bestselling novel, “A Dog’s Purpose.” Cameron will write the screen play, along with Cathryn Michon (who also happens to be his wife.) The movie will be produced by Gavin Polone.

“I saw this as a movie virtually from the time the idea showed up whole cloth in my head,” Cameron says on the DreamWorks website. He hopes for “an uplifting movie, a movie about joy and purpose and redemption. And at the very end, we don’t have to bury the main character.”

Well, maybe not at the very end. But if the film follows the book, we’ll see the main character live through several lifetimes and multiple owners as he seeks to find his purpose as a dog. And that means some teary scenes, followed by some joyful rebirths.

“A Dog’s Purpose” is a very funny and inspiring must-read for anyone who has ever loved, or been loved by, a dog. But be warned: once you start reading, you won’t be able to put this book down.

The story is narrated by Toby, a dog who is born, lives, dies, and then finds himself reborn again and again, eventually understanding that he has learned something from each life that helps him find his ultimate purpose.

That learning journey is something W. Bruce Cameron understands. Despite his success in the humor market – Cameron is also the author of the hilarious book “8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter”, which became the hit ABC series, as well as “How To Remodel A Man. “A Dog’s Purpose”  – he says, “All my life what I wanted to do was sell a novel.” In fact, he’s written 13 of them. His first, “A Dog’s Purpose,” came out in July and his second, “Emory’s Gift”, released this summer; the remaining 11 remain unpublished.

“I was always disappointed that I didn’t sell a [novel],” Cameron says, “but now I think I understand: it took all that practice and all those tries before I found the book A Dog’s Purpose inside of me.”

Cameron says that the idea for a book about a dog being reborn and remembering each past life grew out of the thought that what we call instinct in a dog might actually be memory.

“If you think about it,” he explains, “instinct is sort of a species-wide memory, hard-wired into the animal’s operating system. From there it was rather easy to picture that perhaps for some dogs, they would remember everything from life-to-life.”

As you’d expect from the guy who’s been making people laugh for years with his humorous takes on parenting, manhood and marriage, the book is filled with amusing situations a dog lover can really appreciate.

Each life, for example, brings with it the dreaded trip to the vet to be spayed or neutered and the embarrassing head cone; if you’ve ever wondered what your dog thought about that experience, Toby tells you. You also get a dog’s perspective on everything from boredom and food to human relationships and the family cat.

Many of the events in the book are taken from Cameron’s experiences with his own dogs.

His dog Cammie, he says, “helped us revisit a guinea pig funeral once by helpfully bringing the corpse back for an encore.” That event inspired the scene where Bailey the dog watches his family bury Smokey the cat; Bailey later digs Smokey up, figuring, “[T]hey couldn’t have meant to bury a perfectly good dead cat.”

Be prepared; as much as you will laugh when you see your own dog on every page, you’ll need to keep a box of tissues handy. The relationships between the dogs and the humans are poignant and often emotional. But the laughter and tears will, for many readers, also bring healing, especially if you’ve ever been with your dog at the end of his life.

And that’s something Cameron hopes readers take away from the book. “What makes life real are the connections we make,” he says, “both with other people and, of course, with our animal friends.” He hopes readers see “that true love is eternal, and that just because someone or something dies doesn’t mean they are lost forever.”

“If you let them,” he adds, “dogs can help guide you in every sense of the word.”

“A Dog’s Purpose” spent 19 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller hardcover list, and after 11 weeks the paperback remains on list to date.  It was voted “Top 5 Best Fiction of 2010” in the Goodreads Readers Choice Poll and named a “Best Read 2010″ in Cesar’s Way Magazine. 

 You can learn more about W. Bruce Cameron on his website.


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