There Is No Dog

 
(i)

 

God re-imagined as teen prompts big questions, sharp humor.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The novel might inspire interest in reading and comparing religious stories, including Greek and Roman myths and Biblical tales.

Positive messages

Is life on Earth just a big cosmic joke? Perhaps, this story suggests, but there's always cause for hope. And a sense of humor certainly helps. 

Positive role models
Bob and his clueless mother are played primarily for comic relief. Estelle, a goddess trying to save Bob's doomed pet, is a calm, strong presence, defeating even the most terrifying gods with her determination. Mr. B, despite his despair, makes helping Earth his life's work: He cares deeply for the floundering creatures Bob has abandoned. He's torn between pursuing his own happiness and continuing, futilely, to improve conditions on Earth. Two characters demonstrate the importance of second chances with a late-blooming romance.
 
Violence

Bob's anger, self-pity, and carelessness lead to deaths from flooding, a collapsed building, extreme weather, and the like. He's abusive toward his pet, who is facing execution to become another god's dinner.

Sex
Bob is obsessed with sex, naked girls, and seducing humans, and the anecdotes of his conquests hint of bestiality and sometimes rape. Lucy is a reluctant virgin. There are some sensual scenes between her and Bob, but sexual intercourse isn't directly described. There are references to masturbation and sexual tension (and fantasies) involving a vicar and a parishioner.
 
Language

There's frequent but mild cursing, including "s--t," "hell," "crap," and "Christ," and there are disparaging sexual remarks, including a reference to a "zeppelin-titted trollop."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Bob's mother is a heavy drinker and a gambler -- and when she drinks, she's even more selfish, short-sighted, and reckless than usual.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book turns Christianity on its ear, portraying God not as a supreme, wise being but as an indolent, rude teenage boy, stuck with a job no one else wanted. His only interest: Finding hot girls to have sex with. Despite the provocative premise, the book treats faith with great respect as it grapples with mortality, compassion, and mercy. Still, the sexual content makes this more appropriate for mature teens. 

Parents say

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What's the story?

God (a teenager named Bob) made the world in six days and then, smugly bored with the effort, he washed his hands of the whole mess and turned it over to his overworked, underappreciated aide, Mr. B, while he chased after girls. When Bob falls for a beautiful young virgin, the world suffers his sexual frustration: The weather shifts from intense heat to snowfall in an afternoon, floodwaters rise, and comets and rainbows streak across the sky. As he tries to win Lucy, he squabbles with his mother, who drunkenly gambled away his pet's life in a poker game, and clashes with Mr. B, who wants a transfer to a better-run planet. Life on Earth grows ever stranger as Lucy wonders whether this alluring stranger is the answer to her prayers.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 
God as an impossibly horny teen? Of course THERE IS NO DOG is controversial. But readers willing to go along with it are in for a treat. Author Meg Rosoff muses on mortality, personal responsibility, free will, faith, love, and sacrifice in this wry novel. Her approach may seem impudent, but it reveals deep compassion for humankind in its search for meaning and understanding. By reimagining Christianity as more akin to the bickering, flawed gods of ancient myths, she explores these themes with both a personal and grander perspectives.
 
The young characters of Bob and Lucy are the least appealing: Bob is an irredeemable lout, and Lucy is thinly drawn, an idea more than a person. The supporting characters -- Mr. B, Estelle, Lucy's bitter co-worker Luke, the discouraged vicar, and the Eck, Bob's hapless pet -- are the real soul of the story, and the ones who's hopes, dreams, and disappointments will linger long after the book is done. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the twist on Christianity. Do you think the author treats religion respectfully, or is she mocking it?

  • The gods behave much like humans -- indeed, man is made in Bob's own image. Would the characters resonate the same way if they were all ordinary mortals, coping with the same issues on an earthly plane?

Book details

Author:Meg Rosoff
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Putnam Juvenile
Publication date:January 24, 2012
Number of pages:256

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Quality

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bypoe-ette August 3, 2012
 

Oh my GOD(Haha, get it?! :D), this book is Hilarious!

I'm surprised! No little extremist Christians with their pursed lips and buttholes have bashed this book yet! So, whoever reads this review, here's my opinion, with no sides. This book is funny. It's clever. Witty. Weird. Heartfelt. And perfect for teens. But, i must warn you guys that if you are sensitive with the whole seeing God as a horny guy who chases girls around (I'm an atheist, so i'm not biased), don't read it! It's that simple. I hope this review helps, and if you don't mind the plot, go get this book. You WILL enjoy it. I promise. 5 stars, good for tweens-teens-adults.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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