- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 31, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 071808392X
- ISBN-13: 978-0718083922
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dog Who Was There Paperback – January 31, 2017
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“Through the touching tale of a stray dog who witnesses the ministry of Jesus, Marasco’s (Notes to an Actor; About Grief ) first novel offers an unusual perspective on Christianity’s beginnings.” (Library Journal, starred review)
“Barley, the main character of this novel, is a sweet and loyal companion who readers will love… it is a good story with a twist at the end that readers may not see coming. It is worth the read for anyone looking for a new take on the common life during the time of Christ.” (RT Book Reviews, 3 stars)
“If you need a spirit-lift, a book of hope, you are holding the right book.” -- Max Lucado, New York Times Bestselling Author
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Top Customer Reviews
It seems to me that so much of the homogenized fiction drivel coming from Christian publishers has actually been in need of an upgrade for many years. "The Dog Who Was There" fits and exceeds that bill very, very well. Most importantly, it has a very unique perspective for the telling of the story and a very clear gospel message that fits that perspective exceedingly well.
The author's writing is outstanding, and I was cheering and crying along the way as this book touched my heart as both an ardent follower of Jesus Christ and a huge dog lover.
Go get a copy of this book now. I listened to the audio version on MP3, which the author narrates.
Note... I was neither provided a copy nor do I know the author. I just appreciate what a fellow Christian fiction author has come up with. Well done!
My mistake was that I had approached this as a book written for adults, to be read by adults. Upon reflection, I realized that this is a family book. Read more… Much as family movies seem to be aimed at younger viewers, at times with elements woven in to appeal more to the adults, this is a book meant to be read by a wide range of ages. This is a book to be shared and enjoyed together.
It opens with a warm, cozy feel and the story is told in third person from the point of view of Barley, a young dog. Barley, as the lead character, will definitely engage the younger members of the family. Written at what feels to be a middle grade level, this book would lend itself to shared reading or read-aloud, perhaps after being previewed for the level of violence in certain scenes.
The writing is competent and approachable though quite repetitive, particularly in the over-use of character names. Over the span of two pages, for example, where the main character Barley and his new master Samid are in a scene, barely a sentence seems to go by without one or both of them being named. And while I thought that having the back story of how he came to be separated from his mother being told through a puppy dream was a cute device, it felt a bit clumsy to immediately follow this with a flash-back to explain how he came to live with the elderly couple we first meet as his masters.
The main attraction of this novel is that it is the story of the crucifixion as witnessed by a dog who was, as the title states, there. While this is indeed the case, it is not in the crucifixion of Jesus, or the "Kind Man" as he is called (repeatedly), but in the death of Samid on one of the three crosses that is most touching and most impactful. The actual witnessing of Jesus' journey to Golgotha and death on the cross receives a surface portrayal and is very much just something seen in passing.
Barley's story has a happy ending and while there multiple scenes with violence and other potentially upsetting events, it is a sweet and poignant story that does include his witnessing of the greatest story ever told. However, more informed readers are likely to find fault with the historical and cultural inaccuracies as well as the cameo appearances of Jesus, who is mainly referred to as the Teacher and then as the Kind Man.
While Barley's point of view is definitely a new approach to a well-known story, this is a book I suggest be read either by a younger reader or as a family but I can not recommend it for adult readers. However, if you absolutely adore stories told from an anthropomorphized dog's point of view and the premise interests you, don't let this stop you. After all, this is just one reader's opinion and your experience of the story might be quite different.
This review refers to a copy received from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan's Fiction Guild, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Barley lives through both good times and lean times which correlate with the people in his life. He also notices things that happen to the humans around him. Barley first hears about the Teacher from the elderly Adah and Dov’s conversations. They talk about forgiveness and other teachings from the Teacher, and try to live them out. As time goes on, Barley notices those two seniors, who were always happy, have an even deeper level of happiness because of the Teacher’s words.
Prisca often talks about the Teacher from Galilee while around Barley and Samid. Barley notices that Samid starts treating those around him differently, in a kinder way, after discussions about the Teacher’s preaching. Samid even refuses to take part in illegal activities that had once been part of his life—he even attempts to get his friend to stop as well.
Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey is described through Barley’s eyes. The dog notes the man’s face is filled with so much kindness that Barley refers to him as the Kind Man from then on. He even witnesses the events in Jerusalem one week later that leave Barley confused and alone. Ultimately, Barley incorporates some of the Kind Man’s teachings in his own behavior, and discovers a whole new world because of it.
This is a sweet story that attempts to answer many what ifs…what if a dog lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ ministry? What if that dog could communicate his impressions of the people and events of that time period? What if that dog also had to be dependent on the people around him, what would his life be like?
I liked this book’s interesting perspective, and it is a very fast read. From the first time you read about Barley, you will care about him, and wonder if he is going to survive. I was concerned that this book might treat Christianity with disrespect, but my worries were not fulfilled. Faith was treated with high esteem; in fact, your faith might even be deepened from this tale. Also, the description Barley had of Jesus’ last hours on this earth will bring tears to your eyes. I enjoyed this 5-star book, and recommend it to both dog lovers, and those who are not. Anyone will like this imaginative tale.
Thomas Nelson Publishing provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Dog Who Was There, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the innocence of Barley, the dog. His world was shaped by emotions and experiences and he judged people for who he sensed they were on the inside and...Read more