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There Is No Dog Hardcover – January 24, 2012
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"...earns its place among the sharpest-witted tours de force of recent memory." — Kirkus, starred review
"Wildly inventive and laugh-out-loud funny..." — Booklist, starred review
"...there's no denying that Rosoff's writing and sense of humor are a force of nature..." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Cheeky and subversive." — Horn Book, starred review
About the Author
Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, USA. She has worked in publishing, public relations and most recently advertising, but thinks the best job in the world would be head gardener for Regents Park. Meg lives in Highbury, North London. She is the author of Just in Case, What I Was and How I Live Now.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the glorious, zany, and often dark conceit of There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff. Our God, Bob, is an eternal teenager who sleeps late, mixes up Africa and America and then blames the subsequent droughts and floods on his non-existent dyslexia, and tends to fall in love with beautiful human girls, generally with disastrous results. He's taken care of by his majordomo, the mild-mannered and long-suffering Mr. B.
As the book opens, Bob falls for Lucy, a mortal assistant zookeeper, and his hormones jack into Earth's weather systems and create meteorological havoc. In the meantime, Bob's pet Eck (described as a sort of penguiny creature with a long snout who eats as though his stomach has no bottom) ends up on another deity's menu. Mr. B decides that at long last, he's had enough and puts in his resignation, leaving the fate of the planet in the hands of a kid who has flashes of brilliance but mostly insists that all the bad stuff that's happened as a direct result of his negligence, his whims, or his deep misunderstandings about how things should be, is simply not his fault!
Overall, this story delightful. Rosoff's writing style is reminiscent of Douglas Adams at his most tongue-in-cheek, and she pulls of the surreal with grace and ease. And this book has Eck, who is just marvelous. When we see the world through Eck's eyes, his infinite capacity to forgive and love underscores all of the problems with his owner.
All of the characters are well crafted. You want to smack Bob for his teenaged stupidity, give Mr. B a sympathetic hug and a cup of tea, amd throttle Bob's mother Mona for her frivolousness. The book is saying some interesting things about bad parenting underneath its froth.
The pacing is a bit uneven, dwelling on Bob's ongoing quest to quench his lust and Lucy's mother's love for her priest friend longer than necessary. Switches between past and present tense, sometimes within the same chapter and even from the same point of view, are somewhat jarring as well--this kind of tense jumping can be done successfully, of course, but it's unnecessary here. But the humour never flags, and Rosoff does a good job of drawing on a deep philosophical well for what is otherwise a fantastic premise with a fairly slight plot.
I'm a bit perplexed by the title. It sounds like something thought up by committee--kind of a joke, a bit of a pun, definitely meant to convey some flippancy, but it really doesn't fit the narrative or the point of the novel.
That said, don't let these small grievances deter you. This is a great, fun read with many snicker-out-loud moments. And if you're like me, you'll want to get an Eck of your very own.
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The plot was flimsy and characters motives and actions repetitious. Title had no significance
In this book, Bob is petulant, arrogant, and not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier (though he is not without rare and brief flashes of genius). He is also singularly obsessed with girls and sex, falling in love (or lust) time and time again, with natural disasters being the evidence of the end of each affair or infatuation. What I thought was a very interesting (maybe even inspired) choice by Ms. Rosoff is that, while he, his words, and some of his actions may be funny, he is not what I would call all that likable, as he ranges from being lazy and utterly self-absorbed, to doing things that are completely despicable and inexcusable. He is, after all, omnipotent, and when that unimaginable power is unleashed as a result of a temper tantrum or thwarted desires, the results are not pretty; in fact, they can be deadly and even catastrophic.
Bob and his shenanigans are balanced out by a cast of characters that is colorful, to say the least, and includes but is not limited to: Mr. B, the long-suffering man behind the throne, as it were, who has been tasked with cleaning up Bob's many, many messes; Mona, Bob's mother who has a penchant for gambling and drinking; Lucy, the newest object of Bob's affections, who is a very authentic girl who longs to fall in love; Eck, Bob's pet, who has his own thoughts and feelings (and unceasing desire for food); and Estelle, who is kindness (and cunning) personified, who becomes Eck's savior, pardon the pun. Some of these characters are more well-drawn than others, but each and every single one of them is funny in wildly different ways, and each contributes something worthwhile to the story (particularly Mr. B and Eck, in my opinion). In fact, I have to say that I officially adore Eck and want one of my very own.
This book is not meant (I don't think) to be a profound statement on God, Creation, or anything along those lines. What it is, is remarkably entertaining. Truly, though this phrase is used far too often nowadays, it is literally laugh out-loud funny at many points from beginning to end - the snark in this is off-the-charts, and Ms. Rosoff utilizes sarcasm and dry wit to great effect. It is also provocative in that it takes these extraordinarily lofty concepts and themes, turns them on their heads, and frames them in a fresh, even bold way that is, without exaggeration, a true delight to read. I loved it, and to all those who may be reluctant to give books that are categorized in the Young Adult genre a chance, I would urge them to give this one a read, because it's one of the most unique, entertaining books that I've read in a very long time.