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Book Review: (Homeward Bound) The Incredible Journey

Title: The Incredible Journey A Tale of Three Animals

Author: Sheila Burnford

Spec Spot

What's it about?

Three animals, one family and an ocean between them. When Elizabeth learns that her family will be going on a long trip, she's saddened to learn that her siamese cat, her brother Peter's English Bull Terror and her father's golden retriever would be checked into a kennel. She was, however, relieved when her godfather offered to care for them while the family is away. But the time apart seems to stretch on and on for the beloved pets and, even though they feel loved with John Longridge, it's not the same. So when Longridge goes on a nature trip with his brother for a week, the animals take the opportunity to take off on their own outdoor adventure, destination home!

But the journey is long and sprinkled with a number of threats in the form of wild animals, old age, lack of food, bodies of water and even humans but nothing will deterror these three from finding their humans again.

Other thoughts?

Normally, here I would share my favorites or least favorites of this book, but this time I didn't think that was the way to go. Before I go further, I want to admit that I loved the movie made from the book. I remember seeing it in the theater with my mom when I was a kid. I remember watching it again and again. I'm not even opposed to saying any variation of "Cat's rule and Dogs drool" somewhat regularly. So, naturally, when I went into this book I expected that the animals wouldn't talk but I did expect some pieces of the movie to ring true.

I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed. We hardly saw the family as we spent more time at the beginning with John Longridge without even meeting the family that was said to love the animals so much and sorely miss them. Now, I get the concept but I feel like it was emotional when we had at least met the family like in the movie.

I also loved the personalities of the animals. I know that some of that in their lines, but I felt like the book versions of them just lacked much personality. Other then there was the young golden retriever, the old English Bull Terror and Siamese cat (and yes. I know the retriever was the older of the three in the movie. He was not in the book) they had little personality. And that's not even going into how the cat was not even a girl so the girl power, smart alec, sassy pants personality was lost entirely. I wish the book would have found ways to illustrate their personalities better, even if they didn't want to humanize them, they could have had the cat stand on a branch and lazily watch the dogs with an expression on his face as if he were laughing. The golden retriever could have been more playful and impulsive. But none of that was there.

Oh, and want to know why I'm not referring to them as their names? Well because they were not only not named Chance, Shadow and Sassy, they very rarely referred to them as anything other than their age, their species or breed. It was things like, "the old dog laid down", "the young dog ran ahead" or "the cat ran after a field mouse". Which again, I feel, minimized the attachment we feel towards the animals, at least to some extent.

Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't at least think about crying at the end. I totally did but I felt like the book was such a disappointment after the movie I loved so much as a kid. Sure, maybe the movie ruined this one for me and maybe my nostalgia played a roll in my experience. I won't deny those as possibilities. But I just didn't enjoy this book much. I wish I could say that I did.

In this case, I think the movie was better.


I give this book a


out of

10 porcupines

But that's just what I thought. What did you think? Are you one of the many that loved this book? Did you agree with me? Did you appreciate the characters lack of humanity? Let us know in the comments.

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