Author: Meg Rosoff
Release Date: August 2, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Overall: 2.5 Stars
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-apocalyptic flood, having fallen asleep without turning the bath off. There is No Dog is a darkly funny novel from one of our most delightfully unpredictable writers.
I’m not really sure what to make out of There is No Dog. It was my first time reading a novel by Meg Rosoff and the only thing I really kept thinking as I flipped the pages was, “This book is weird.” And I have no idea if I should consider that as a good or bad thing…
I didn’t really care much for the cast of characters. I don’t mind reading novels with changing perspectives, but it kept switching so much in There is No Dog that it made it difficult for me to lose myself in the story. Bob, or God, is your worst image possible of a typical teenage boy, not thinking with his head and utterly unconcerned with Earth’s affairs. He could be sweet and charming if he wanted to be, but otherwise, I think he annoyed me more often than I would have liked.
Mr B, his assistant, has been left to pick up the slack due to Bob’s lack of responsibility but there’s always too much to do, and he doesn’t have the same authority and power as Bob does. Mr B was also the only character I felt any real sympathy for. And then there’s the beautiful human Lucy, a kind, young women working at a zoo and completely unaware that one innocent prayer to fall in love would actually catch the attention of God, himself. There were definitely more perspectives that the story was told from though than these three characters, including at some points, from the view of Bob’s pet, Eck, because there was a storyline that revolved around him…
There wasn’t really a clear cut plot outline for the novel either. As I continued to read, I kept wondering which direction Meg Rosoff was leading in… and as far as expectations go, I wasn’t exactly sure what to think at all. There’s a certain quirkiness to There is No Dog, a humour that I’m sure would have held more appreciation in someone else’s eyes, but for me, I wasn’t exactly feeling the love at the time. I might have taken the novel too seriously sometimes, but I was rather affronted by the idea that Bob could have so little disregard for his own creations when so many people looked up to him for hope in times of despair. (A part of me kept waiting for Bob to see the error of his ways...)
I still think There is No Dog should have some points for creativity and imagination because Meg Rosoff has definitely created a novel unlike any I’ve ever really read before. I’d been really intrigued with the premise of the novel, but the characters just simply didn’t connect with me this time around. I thought the book was just okay, with a certain level of enjoyment and an odd sort of fascination that allowed me to stick through the book until the very end.
Thanks to Random House Canada for sending this review copy!