April 5, 2012 by Heidi
Title: There Is No Dog [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Meg Rosoff [Website|Twitter]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Published: January 24th, 2012 by Penguin Group USA Inc (First published August 2nd, 2011 by Doubleday Canada).
Format: Hardcover; 256 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Perhaps the way to succeed is to think of life on Earth as a colossal joke, a creation of such immense stupidity that the only way to live is to laugh until you think your heart will break.
You know God? He’s kind of a dick. It’s not all his fault though, he’s incredibly spoiled, and his mother won this planet for him ages ago in a poker game, even though he was completely unqualified for the job. He’s only 19 after all, and like most teenagers, he mucks a lot of things up. People created in his own image? What was that about? Tying the weather to his emotions? Probably not the best move. And the duck billed platypus just had to be the product of boredom and alcohol. Luckily, Mr. B is always about to wade through the paperwork and attempt to keep some order. This is next to impossible, however, when Bob (that’s God) decides he’s in love with (another) human girl. He won’t be happy until Lucy loves him back, but how can he expect her to fall for him when he’s himself?
It is rare that one book can make so many different factions equally happy. There Is No Dog will satisfy optimists, pessimists, atheists, religious people (okay, maybe it’ll insult quite a few religious people, but personally I loved it), etc. Basically, it’s the perfect book for that old question–”Is the glass half empty or half full?”
Okay, okay, maybe There is No Dog isn’t really the book for everyone. It’s very quirky, whimsical, and off-kilter. Some people might deem it just plain weird. But me? I loved it. The spirit of it reminded me very much of some of my all time favorite reads, like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens or Douglas Adams’s Long, The Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. The entire time I was reading I was thinking ‘Jim Dale needs to do this audio’, as the tone reminded me very much of the narration to Pushing Daisies.
I adored the writing style of this book. It’s written in third person omniscient perspective, in which perception flits from character to character in a way that many readers find unnerving, but I personally enjoy very much when done well. In There is No Dog, it was done very well indeed! We get to see into most of the character’s thoughts at some time, including into Eck’s, which was one of my favorites. Eck is a furry penguiny ardvarky creature, who despite being an animal has some very real concerns about life (his in particular). The characters are divided between the immortal, and the mortal, the practical, and the impractical, and I liked that the lines weren’t always cut and dry the way one would expect. I particularly loved that while Bob was seemingly the main character, he was so unlikable. We have zero invested in him or his success, and as such, get to love and cheer for so many of the other wonderful characters around him. I mean, how often do you find yourself actively cheering for the downfall of your protagonist?
While There is No Dog may have presented some questions about religion, it was ultimately a book about faith. It was full of hope, wisdom, the miraculous, and a pleasant outlook for living life. It was full of rich characters who were both selfish, romantic, goodhearted, and fun, though yes, it was a little weird too.
Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Oh I’ve been meaning to read Meg Rosoff for ages, and now that I fell head over heals with There is No Dog I’ll certainly be pushing her other books up the pipeline.
Recommended for: People who enjoy quirky reads ala Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, etc.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: Someone buy me an Eck, please! Or you can buy your own.