Meet your unforgettable protagonist: God, who, as it turns out, is a 19-year-old boy living in the present-day and sharing an apartment with his long-suffering fifty-something personal assistant. Unfortunately for the planet, God is lazy and, frankly, hopeless. He created all of the world's species in six days because he couldn't summon the energy to work for longer. He gets Africa and America mixed up. And his beleaguered assistant has his work cut out for him when God creates a near-apolcalyptic flood, having fallen asleep without turning the bath off.
I wasn't familiar with Meg Rosoff at all prior to picking up There is No Dog, and I have to say, I feel like I've been missing out pretty substantially. Wildly wacky, funny and oddly thought provoking, There is No Dog totally distracted me from the cliff hanger at the end of A Storm of Swords and got me seriously back into reading YA. Of course this isn't really your typical YA, since Bob is 19, but you know what I mean.
Written in a quirky manner where view points often change mid-sentence, humans are mixed in with godly others, and all the things you might have assumed about religion and the way earth works is up for grabs, makes this a novel that won't appeal to everybody. I've already caught whiff of a couple of non-plussed reviews. However I loved it.
There is No Dog is cheeky, the characters are lovable and intriguing and I was dying to know how things were going to end. My especial favourite was Bob's pet Eck, last of his kind an "odd penguiny sort of creature with the long elegant nose of an anteater, beady eyes and soft grey fur." whose thoughts and opinions on things can't be deciphered by the other characters but which crop up for the reader periodically. He is gambled away by Bob's mother Mona, early on in the story, and spends most of the book despondent over how he's to be eaten in two weeks, while being overlooked due to Bob's girl troubles. By the end of the book I was seriously wishing I could add an Eck to my feline collection.
At 243 pages, There is No Dog makes for a quintessential quick read. I broke it up over several work days but it would be a really great book to take in over one sitting. Meg Rosoff layered the story in such a way I could totally picture myself going back for a re-read in the near-ish future, if only to pick up more of the subtext. My favourite subtext, which I truly hope was the general paranormal YA jab I took it for was Bob's thoughts in a scene with his lady lust, after she puts the brakes on a kissing session:
For this reason, it was the present that interested him, even in the deepest sincerest most passionate throes of love. Lucy now, not Lucy later. Of course he might have concluded the issue in a variety of non-legitimate ways, disappearing and reappearing in Lucy's bedroom, making a slight alteration in the arrangement of time and space. But even Bob had the wit to recognize that no matter how it's framed, rape is still rape- which besides falling morally short of suitable (as Mr B had explained to him, time and again) took most of the pleasure out of the conquest. Besides, he loved her. And he wasn't totally devoid of self-control. He could wait until next time.I am sad there isn't more of this lovely, strange, little book now that I'm done, but am happy to report that Meg's blog is also very humorous and a bit random. So at least I have more fun to look forward to.
There is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff
Published by Doubleday, August 2011
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