There Is No Dog

Hardcover | August 2, 2011

byMeg Rosoff

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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 beleagured assistant has his work cut out for him when God creates a near-apolcalyptic 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.

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From the Publisher

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 summo...

MEG ROSOFF was born in Boston and now lives in London with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel How I Live Now was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, and nominated for the Orange Award for New Writers. Her second novel, Just In Case, won the 2007 CILIP Carnegie Medal and was an ALA Best Book ...

other books by Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now
How I Live Now

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see all books by Meg Rosoff
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.53 × 5.76 × 0.98 inPublished:August 2, 2011Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385668295

ISBN - 13:9780385668293

Appropriate for ages: 12

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wise and witty! I kept wondering where Rosoff was taking this brilliant premise, and she delivered.
Date published: 2012-11-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So THAT'S why life on earth sucks It turns out that the reason the earth has problems is that God, supreme and almighty creator, was handed the job by his mother, who won it in a game of cosmic poker. This is the glorious, zany, and often dark conceit of There Is No Dog, by Meg Rosoff. Our God, Bob, is an eternal teenager who sleeps late, mixes up Africa and America and then blames the subsequent droughts and floods on his non-existent dyslexia, and tends to fall in love with beautiful human girls, generally with disastrous results. He’s taken care of by his majordomo, the mild-mannered and long-suffering Mr. B. As the book opens, Bob falls for Lucy, a mortal assistant zookeeper, and his hormones jack into Earth’s weather systems and create meteorological havoc. In the meantime, Bob’s pet Eck (described as a sort of penguiny creature with a long snout who eats as though his stomach has no bottom) ends up on another deity’s menu. Mr. B decides that at long last, he’s had enough and puts in his resignation, leaving the fate of the planet in the hands of a kid who has flashes of brilliance but mostly insists that all the bad stuff that’s happened as a direct result of his negligence, his whims, or his deep misunderstandings about how things should be, is simply not his fault! Overall, this story delightful. Rosoff’s writing style is reminiscent of Douglas Adams at his most tongue-in-cheek, and she pulls of the surreal with grace and ease. And this book has Eck, who is just marvelous. When we see the world through Eck’s eyes, his infinite capacity to forgive and love underscores all of the problems with his owner. All of the characters are well crafted. You want to smack Bob for his teenaged stupidity, give Mr. B a sympathetic hug and a cup of tea, amd throttle Bob’s mother Mona for her frivolousness. The book is saying some interesting things about bad parenting underneath its froth. The pacing is a bit uneven, dwelling on Bob’s ongoing quest to quench his lust and Lucy’s mother’s love for her priest friend longer than necessary. Switches between past and present tense, sometimes within the same chapter and even from the same point of view, are somewhat jarring as well—this kind of tense jumping can be done successfully, of course, but it’s unnecessary here. But the humour never flags, and Rosoff does a good job of drawing on a deep philosophical well for what is otherwise a fantastic premise with a fairly slight plot. I’m a bit perplexed by the title. It sounds like something thought up by committee—kind of a joke, a bit of a pun, definitely meant to convey some flippancy, but it really doesn’t fit the narrative or the point of the novel. That said, don’t let these small grievances deter you. This is a great, fun read with many snicker-out-loud moments. And if you’re like me, you’ll want to get an Eck of your very own. ~*~ Like this excerpt? Read the full review, plus other book reviews, at http://editorialeyes.wordpress.com
Date published: 2011-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quirky yet wise The Good Stuff · Best premise for a book ever · Unlike anything I have ever read before · Made me a laugh my ass off on many occasions · Wonderful existential questions, moral lessons and other things that really make you think (not being vague on purpose just don’t want to give to much away), blind faith · Love the various characters especially Mr B, Eck, Estelle and Luke · God’s name is Bob · Thought provoking · Love the Stephen King quote at the beginning of the book and the praise about the book from from Mal Peet at the beginning really explains the gist and why you should read The Not so Good Stuff · God really was a jerk · Could have used a bit more story · Mom’s a self involved b***h Favorite Quotes/Passages “Perhaps the way to proceed is to think of life on earth as a colossal joke, a creation of such immense stupidity that the only way to live is to laugh until you think your heart will break.” “She thought of talking to God, her God – a benign, all-seeing sort of deity who didn’t get too involved with the day-to-day running of life, but who (she imagined) liked to be kept informed – a sort of thoughtful , philosophy professor of a god, passing his days in contemplation of the moral complexities of good and evil.” “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Only it wasn’t that 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.” Who should/shouldn't read · Thinking the seriously religious will have huge problems with this · Those who have a dry weird sense of humor like me will def enjoy · According to chapters marketed for 9 – 12 I would disagree I would say 12 + due to mentions of sexuality – a more mature 10 yr old maybe like I was but hmm 9 don’t think so · Great for a class read and for discussions 4.25 Dewey's I received this from Random House in Exchange for an honest review
Date published: 2011-08-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Weird and Quirky... 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. You can also read this review at : http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/08/there-is-no-dog-by-meg-rosoff.html
Date published: 2011-08-08

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Oh glorious, most glorious glorious! And yet again glorious! The sun spreads warm and golden on Lucy’s face and arms. Pale new leaves unfurl so fast she can almost hear the little sighs they make as they open. Birds tweet and twitter their social networks, like city workers seeking potential mates. A few tipsy clouds punctuate the sweet blue sky. The world reels, drunk with happiness. Lucy nearly laughs out loud. What a wondrous day. The most wondrous day ever, since the very beginning of time. She doesn’t realize how much she herself adds to its perfection. Is it the summer dress printed with roses, which the breeze catches and flips up against her legs? Or merely the fact that Lucy is as perfect as a rose herself, a flower newly opened – so perfect, you can imagine the sun breaking every rule of impartiality to beam down upon her, alone. What heaven, she thinks. What bliss! Whoever is in charge of the weather today has (for once) achieved perfection. Her step is light. The distance from bus stop to work is short. She smiles, a half-grown girlish womanish smile that illuminates her lovely features. The sun paints soft highlights on her cheekbones and well-shaped mouth, sets her pale hair alight. She dreams about the summer months to come, the bright conversations, the long pink evenings, the possibility of love. Her youth, her smile, her happiness all combine, at this moment, to make her the most irresistible woman on Earth. A young man walks some distance behind her. If he hadn’t already made up his mind not to fall in love – with her or anyone else, ever again – he might run to catch her up. Instead, he slows his step and turns away, disliking her, for not very good reasons of his own. Lucy fairly skips along, joyous. She passes a fountain and leans over into the spray, delighted by its sparkling rainbows. Then she straightens and resumes her walk, humming a little prayer, which is not so much a prayer as a hope, a private incantation: ‘Dear God,’ she prays, ‘I should like to fall in love.’ But wait . . . what’s this? Such luck! God (who almost never bothers listening to his people) overhears her prayer. Lucy’s prayer! Transported by her loveliness, he decides to answer it himself. What a miracle! How much more than glorious! God, himself, is about to fall in love.  ‘Wake up!’ God is dreaming of water. In his dream there is a fountain, and a naked girl, and (of course) there is him. The water is warm, the girl willing; her flesh is soft. He reaches out a hand to caress her breast, curls his fingers instead round one slim arm . . . ‘Wake. Up.’ An edge of impatience accompanies the request. Oh, Christ. It’s that dreary Mr B – his assistant, private secretary, God’s very own personal bore. And surprise surprise. B’s spectacles have slipped down to the end of his nose and he has his sourpuss face on. God is awake. He cracks open one eye. ‘What?’ ‘Go to the window.’ His head hurts. ‘Just tell me.’ ‘Get up. Feet on the floor. Walk to the window. Look outside.’ With a huge sigh, a brain thick and slow as pudding, the boy sits up, swings his legs on to the floor, stands, sways for an instant and runs one hand through his hair (which he can tell, with annoyance, has all migrated to one side of his head, as if he’s been standing in a high wind). Groaning, he turns and pads wearily to the window, his feet bare and cold. The rushing noise is louder than it was. To his surprise, there is water where the streets used to be and for a moment he feels quite relieved that his bedroom is not on the ground floor of the building. ‘Water,’ he says, with interest. ‘Yes, water.’ Mr B’s manner is mild, but he trembles with unexpressed feeling. God struggles to make sense of the scenario. Why is there water in the streets? Did he make this happen? Surely not. He’s been sleeping. ‘Look over there.’ He looks. ‘What do you see?’ Off the bedroom is a large bathroom, complete with toilet, sink, white marble tiles, large rolltop bath. Bath. The bath! God remembers now; he was running a bath and then, as he waited for it to fill, he lay down. Just for a moment. He must have fallen asleep. And while he slept, dreaming of that beautiful girl, the girl in the fountain, the bath overflowed. ‘Oh.’ ‘Oh? Just oh?’ ‘I’ll turn it off.’ ‘I’ve turned it off.’ ‘Good.’ The boy heads back to bed, collapses. Mr B turns to God with his customary combination of resignation and rage. ‘I don’t suppose you’d like to do something about the mess you’ve made?’ Outside the window water rolls through the streets. ‘I will,’ he mutters, already half asleep. ‘Later.’ ‘Not later, now.’ But God has pulled a pillow over his head, signalling (quite definitely) that there is no point going on at him. Mr B fumes. God is dreaming of soapy sex with his fantasy girlfriend while the rest of the world drowns in the bath. His bath. It is always like this. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade. And on and on and on. Mr B (more than a personal assistant, less than a father figure – a fixer, perhaps, facilitator, amanuensis) sighs and returns to his desk to go through the mail, which (despite being dealt with on a daily basis) has a tendency to pile into vast teetering towers. He will choose one or two prayers and make an attempt at urgent action. He does not show them to God, for the boy’s ability to concentrate is minimal at best. Occasionally a voice leaps out from the torrent of prayers and moves him by simple virtue of its sincerity. Dear God, I should like to fall in love. An undemanding little prayer. From just the sort of sweet girl he would like to help, in the first place – by making sure God never lays eyes (or anything else) on her. But God has a bloodhound’s nose for a gorgeous girl, and before Mr B can hide the prayer the boy is out of bed and peering over his shoulder, snuffling at the prayer as if it’s a truffle, practically inhaling it in his anxiety to get his hands on . . .  ‘Who is she?’ ‘No one. A dwarf. Short, hairy, old. A troll. She grunts, she snores, she stinks.’ But it’s too late. He’s seen her. He watches Lucy in her thin summer dress as she walks through the dappled morning light – his light – her round hips swaying, her pale hair aglow. She is exquisite. Flawless. At that exact moment, there is a blinding flash of light. It is so intense that for a moment the world disappears. ‘I’ll have her,’ says God. When Mr B manages to open his eyes once more, the expression on God’s face makes his heart sink. It is twelve parts moony love, eighty-three parts sexual desire, and ten and a half million parts blind determination. Oh, please, Mr B thinks, not a human. Not another human. He is filled with despair. God’s passion for humans always leads to catastrophe, to meteorological upset on an epic scale. What is wrong with the boy that he can’t get it up for some nice goddess? Why, oh why, can’t he pursue a sensible relationship, one that will not end in disaster? Mr B could weep. Attempting to talk God round is as useful as trying to reason with a squid. He will pursue Lucy until his lust wears out, or until some vast geological disturbance erases her from the Earth. Mr B has seen it all before. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes. God’s unique inability to learn from his mistakes: yet another wonderful trait he’s passed on to his creations. Happy now, the boy drifts back to bed, where he dozes, conjuring filthy scenarios around the girlfriend he hasn’t yet met.

Editorial Reviews

“There Is No Dog is a funny, dark, incisive and ultimately somewhat hopeful treatise on the best and worst parts of being human.”—The Chronicle Herald (Halifax)“Prose that is heart-warmingly lyrical. . . . Rosoff shows remarkable insight into the far-from-smooth course that young love and young sexuality can take.” —The Irish Times“Tart, satirical, a work of unrelenting humour and a creative energy that rivals even that of its main character . . . Rosoff’s take on the mess that’s the world, the erratic weather of global warming, the painful wonder and glorious despair of metaphysics, lust, romance and natural disaster is elegant, biting, articulate and vivid. It races along at a sustained pitch of attitude and hyperbole, as much a study of adolescence as it is of parodic theology. Original and highly entertaining.” —Toronto Star“There Is No Dog is [Rosoff’s] best yet, for its laugh-out-loud hilariousness.” —Newsday