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Book Review: A Dog’s Life

I thought I would begin my book review series with my all-time favorite book. It was not until recently that I decided this is my favorite book (deciding a favorite is much easier said than done! 🙂 ), but I came to realize it was the only book from my late elementary school years that I’ve kept. It is called A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin. The back of the book reads:

“Squirrel is not like most dogs. Born a stray, she must make her own way in the world, facing busy highways, changing seasons, and humans both gentle and brutal. Her life story, in her own words, is marked by loss, but also by an inspiring instinct to survive. And when it seems she will roam the woods and country roads alone forever, Squirrel makes two friends who, in very different ways, define her fate”. 

To begin, I want to emphasize that even though I read this book in the fourth grade, it is by no means a childish read. It follows the life of a stray dog named Squirrel, from her birth to old age. It is 182 pages long, and is a perfect vacation read.

© Alyssa DeBella
© Alyssa DeBella

My favorite aspect of the book is the narration. The story is told from Squirrel’s perspective, and the narration style matures as she ages. The style makes Squirrel a relatable character while still maintaining characteristics of a dog. Throughout the course of her life, Squirrel encounters many faces of humanity: dismissive, cruel, shallow, compassionate, and loving. Each encounter with humans changes her perspective (for better and for worse), making her both curious and wary as time goes on. As the story progresses, you find yourself feeling Squirrel’s frustration as she goes through one dire situation after another. You begin to question the motives of the people she encounters, and you come to share her hesitation. However, despite the fact that she experiences many complicated and dismal situations throughout her life, the ending leaves you with contentment that mirrors that of Squirrel.

Being an owner of previously stray dogs, I have a special connection with this book. I have always wondered about the past lives of my dogs, and reading this book has brought creative stories to my mind. No matter your age, you will love this unique story! To make it as easy as possible for you to purchase my version of the book, I have linked pages to common websites below. If you do decide to read the book, please leave your thoughts about it in the comments below! Also, if you have books to recommend (or any that you would like me to write a review about) I would love to hear them! 🙂 You can also read this review and others on my Goodreads page!

©2015 The Wise Willow and Alyssa DeBella. All rights reserved.

Websites to Purchase the Book: 


Amazon (Kindle version)

Amazon (Audible version)

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble (Nook version)



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