There Is No Dog

(2012)
There Is No Dog

I liked Meg Rosoff's There is No Dog. It's a funny, somewhat scattered, odd little story that I wasn't expecting. I think when you read the blurb on a book that tells you God is a stereotypical teen boy, you get some expectations--like seeing a preview for a Will Farrel movie. I expected much more zaniness than this story brought, and I appreciate that the humor was more understated.

Rosoff takes the idea that God is a perma-teen named Bob seriously. He Gods the planet earth with the assistance of an older gentleman, Mr. B, who feels he was robbed of the promotion to rule the planet himself. He can't stand Bob's mood swings and laziness, not to mention Bob's tendency to fall for mortals on a whim. Mortals like Lily, who pray for love and are heard by Bob, who then attempts to fulfill their prayers himself to fight off his loneliness and boredom.

Lily works in a zoo on earth with a grumpy boss named Luke, and they're doing their best to help the zoo cope with the crazy weather--flooding and hail in the British summer--which is caused by Bob's mood. Mr. B has been after Bob to fix the off weather, but Bob will do it later.

How did such a layabout get to be the God of his own planet? He got his job as a result of his mother's winning a game of poker. She won the God of Earth job and handed it to her son. At a later game of poker, she bets and loses Bob's pet Eck, a betrunked penguinish creature he'd created long ago, of which Eck is the lone remaining example. She loses it to a God who plans to eat it, but his goddess daughter doesn't want him to. This is troublesome, because he's afraid of looking like a weenie if he caves in and doesn't eat the thing.

One final thread brings in Lily's mom, who hassles Lily to date and find a suitable mate. She gets to meet Bob when he's courting Lily, and is somewhat put off by him. She talks with Lily's god-father, the local pastor she'd once held a flame for, while they care for flood refugees in the church, and they conspire to confront Lily about her bizarre boyfriend. But can they prevent a mortal girl from falling in love with God?

Rosoff's humor-writing chops are strong--there are some very funny moments in this story. The danger is that the premise is so absurd that she has to work to bring the hilarity up to match it. I think she does well, but humor is a matter of taste--mine is undoubtedly different than yours. I would definitely read Rosoff's next humorous story--she's not bad at writing them.

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