Richie's Picks: THERE IS NO DOG
Richie's Picks: THERE IS NO DOG by Meg Rosoff, Putnam, January 2012, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-399-25764-3
"What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home"
--Eric Bazillian, "One of Us"
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
"Only it wasn't as simple as that. The preferred candidate for God withdrew at the last minute saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, though privately everyone suspected he was having second thoughts. You couldn't really blame him. Earth was badly positioned -- miles off the beaten track in a lonely and somewhat run-down part of the universe. At a time of high employment, not many top-level candidates were willing to take on a tiny unproven planet, not to mention the whole creation rigmarole, which, when done properly, could be a real headache."
And so it was that "at last one of the board members offered the job as part of a bet on a not-very-good game of poker. The winning player promptly turned it over to her feckless son, Bob."
Bob (now God -- a sex-obsessed teenage God whose mind is rarely on his work-- all that stuff he wrought in six days), is assisted in his duties by one of the unsuccessful candidates for the position, the long-suffering Mr. B, who previously "had a solid but unexciting record in middle management" and who has a "quiet, somewhat professorial manner."
"'Dear God,' she prays, 'I should like to fall in love.'"
"God (who almost never bothers listening to his people)" hears the prayer of a beautiful young assistant zookeeper named Lucy...and decides to answer it himself.
"What a miracle! How much more than glorious! God, himself, is about to fall in love."
Apparently, this has happened before over the millennia. Mr B. clues us in that, thanks to Bob's...er...God's obsession with yet a another beautiful, young human, the weird weather and catastrophes are about to start all over again.
Oh...my...God. This satirical tale is so amazing.
"Why do we never get an answer when we're knocking at the door
With a thousand million questions about hate and death and war?"
-- Justin Hayward, "Question"
Reading THERE IS NO DOG will likely cause one to think about why is it, if there is a God, that life on Earth is so lacking in peace, love, and understanding. Why do such terrible things happen here -- some man-made, but so many others not so?
Intertwining with the tale of Bob-God and his lust for Lucy are all the shenanigans taking place behind the scenes with Bob and the other god-like characters that include his insufferable, hard-drinking, gambling-addicted mother Mona; Bob's pet Eck (the last of its species and an unforgettable character in its own right), Estelle, the woman amongst the gods who actually wants to make the world right, and the aforementioned Mr. B.
"What was it that made one transcendently beautiful girl different from another? Why did he begin to ache with helpless need when a certain face combined with a certain outline? What message ran from his bollocks to his brain to say. 'Yes! It is she!'
"Even God couldn't answer that one."
A truly notable piece of young adult fiction, THERE IS NO DOG repeatedly had me laughing aloud. It disturbed me in the very best sense of the word.
Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/ http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php