While perusing the book store the other week, I saw the newest novel by Meg Rosoff called There Is No Dog. I was intrigued by Rosoff’s return to young adult fiction, as it’s been awhile since her hard-hitting How I Live Now
was published in the US. Not that the two books can be compared much apart from having been written by the same author, who has no shame in delivering unconventional ideas and characters in her stories.
There Is No Dog takes the original story of Creation and flops it on its head. The novel follows Bob, a single-minded, sex-driven teenage god who happened to come into the job of Earth’s creation pretty much by accident. He is lazy and conceited, and the whole world would have long since fallen into ruin were it not for the help of Bob’s unhappy assistant, Mr. B, who does what he can. When Bob falls in love with Lucy (a human girl with a pretty face), he is so overridden with emotion that the Earth’s weather (having been tied to his moods) brings on the start of a massive natural disaster. If that weren’t enough, Bob’s adorable pet Eck (the last Eck in the universe!) is gambled away in a card game to be eaten, and Bob is too transfixed with Lucy to save him. Only Estelle, a level-headed goddess and voice of reason, with the help of Mr. B can sort the whole thing out.
Although the novel itself is an Atheist story in nature (the Dog of the title is God spelled backward) I don’t feel that should stop any religious believers from enjoying it. Rosoff handles her story with great humor that allows the reader to take away what they want from the book. Flying whales, god-scaled temper tantrums, poker playing goddesses, the Eck who looks like a penguin and could eat forever; its all in there. And Rosoff’s characters always keep amazingly true to themselves-in every aspect of the book, they act exactly the way their personalities would dictate. Bob, having been a teenage boy for over a millennium, is not all of a sudden going to wrench off in a completely different course of life than what he has been doing for eternity.
Even if you haven’t liked Meg Rosoff’s previous work, I recommend anyone who’s even remotely curious to pick up this new novel at the library or bookstore and give it a quick read. Whether you’re reading it for fun, for the values or just to get out of your comfort zone, I think this novel offers something for all types of readers.