Book Review: The Incredible Journey

I started writing this post on January 14, and never finished or published it! It’s been a while since I’ve written a book review post, so I figured: better late than never, right? 

The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford

The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford

I read this book in one day, while visiting P’s family back in January! I think I had just finished The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, and I was on a reading kick. We stopped by his parents’ house and I asked him to lend me a book (knowing full well that none of his books would interest me–he was a Classics and Government major, and has held on to many of his college textbooks and almost none of his childhood books). Surprisingly, he headed upstairs to his childhood room and came back downstairs with this one. 

I started reading it at their house, kept reading it in the car on the drive home, and then stayed up late finishing it once we had gotten back to P’s house that night! It was that good. It’s been over 6 months now since I read it, so I’m fuzzy on some of the plot details, but I’ll do my best to write a review.

The movie Homeward Bound is based on this book, which is why I was interested in it in the first place. There were a few changes made between the movie and the book, but the basic premise is that 2 dogs and a cat who are separated from their owners set out on a truly incredible journey through the Canadian wilderness in order to find their beloved masters.

The journeyers are a young Labrador named Luath, a Siamese Cat named Tao, and an aging Bull Terrier named Bodger. What makes this book so good is the relationships between the animals, and the trials they suffer together while stuck out in the wilderness with a Canadian winter approaching. The animals don’t talk to each other in the same way they do in the movie, as their portrayal is straightforward and realistic, but their relationships are apparent through their behavior. The old dog begins to slow down and starve during the journey, and the cat goes hunting for him and brings him food. The Labrador is a hunting dog and fiercely independent, and takes charge of tracking and leading the pack home. Each time they run in with humans, they are met with care, offered help, and strengthened enough to return to their journey. Their goal of reuniting with their family never seems to leave the animals’ minds.

This book is a heartwarming must-read for anyone who has pets or loves animals. The devotion showed by all three pets is pure and their journey is harrowing, and it will make anyone thankful for their own pets.

I cried at the end. And then went home and hugged my cats.

My overall rating: 5/5

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