There Is No Dog

( 3 )

Overview

What if God were a teenaged boy?

In the beginning, Bob created the heavens and the earth and the beasts of the field and the creatures of the sea, and twenty-five million other species (including lots of cute girls). But mostly he prefers eating junk food and leaving his dirty clothes in a heap at the side of his bed.

Every time he falls in love, Earth erupts in natural disasters, and it's usually Bob's beleaguered assistant, Mr. B., who is ...

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There Is No Dog

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Overview

What if God were a teenaged boy?

In the beginning, Bob created the heavens and the earth and the beasts of the field and the creatures of the sea, and twenty-five million other species (including lots of cute girls). But mostly he prefers eating junk food and leaving his dirty clothes in a heap at the side of his bed.

Every time he falls in love, Earth erupts in natural disasters, and it's usually Bob's beleaguered assistant, Mr. B., who is left cleaning up the mess. So humankind is going to be very sorry indeed that Bob ever ran into a beautiful, completely irresistible girl called Lucy . . .

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  • There Is No Dog
    There Is No Dog  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rosoff (Just in Case) looks at the world’s natural disasters, injustices, and chaos and presents a perfectly reasonable explanation: God is a horny teenage boy. According to this gleefully heretical account, God, aka “Bob,” was given Earth by his mother, who won the planet in a poker game. Bob showed flashes of brilliance during Creation, but he feels little responsibility for the planet. When he falls head-over-heels in lust with a beautiful zoo employee, Lucy, Bob’s passion and growing anger toward those who would keep them apart is manifested through wildly fluctuating weather and rampant flooding. Meddling, peevish, and self-absorbed, Rosoff’s pantheon recalls the squabbling deities of Greek and Norse mythology. She takes gleeful pleasure in reducing God to an inept, lovelorn child, her takedowns often delivered through the dry observations of Bob’s industrious assistant, Mr. B., who “marvels that the same God who leaves his dirty clothes in a moldering heap by the side of the bed could have created golden eagles and elephants and butterflies.” Traditionalists may bristle, but there’s no denying that Rosoff’s writing and sense of humor are a force of nature themselves. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Horn Book
"Cheeky and subversive."
starred review Booklist
"Wildly inventive and laugh-out-loud funny..."
VOYA - Walter Hogan
By spelling "god" backward as "dog" in her title, Rosoff signals to readers that the deity in her novel is not quite the all-wise and all-powerful supreme being of traditional religion. Instead, her "god" is a teenage slacker named Bob who was casually handed the assignment of god for planet Earth by his gambling-addicted mother after she won the rights in a game of cards. The premise is perhaps not quite as blasphemous as it seems, because Bob, his mother, and several other characters in the novel function very much like the ancient Greek gods: despite their superpowers, these gods are full of humanlike frailties and vices. Bob's passing but violent lust for a human girl, Lucy, along with his habitual laziness and self-absorption, causes violent calamities on Earth as the hapless planet rocks between the alternating volcanic emotions and the thoughtless neglect of a teenage boy. Although marketed as young adult, the novel includes a number of adult characters who meditate earnestly upon their careers, their mortality, and the fate of Earth. The book could be considered science fiction, fantasy, a novel of ideas, or a satirical mainstream novel. The flirtation with blasphemy, lack of an admirable main character, episodic plot, unstable setting, and jarring absurdities create an atmosphere not unlike that of a Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett novel. Rosoff, author of several acclaimed YA novels, including Just in Case (Wendy Lamb, 2006/VOYA October 2006), is an intriguing, iconoclastic writer who stretches the boundaries of YA fiction. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Rosoff takes a very unusual premise and develops a quirky myth around it. In this novel, God, the Supreme Being, is really an adolescent male deity—a gangly, impulsive, lovesick adolescent male. As such he cannot be relied on so that while he has indeed created an amazing world, he is hideously unable to manage it. Bob, as he is called, is selfish and careless, wreaking havoc on his creation, while the object of his affection, Lucy, works to save animals in the zoo. Of course, Bob is most interested in having sex with Lucy without letting her know who he really is and in trying to work out those details, catastrophes ensue. An interesting side story involves Bob's pet, Eck. In a moment of drunken disregard, Bob's mother puts Eck up as ante in a cosmic poker game with Emoto Hed, claiming that an eck is the best tasting meat in all the universes. Of course, she loses him and Hed begins to make plans for eating Eck, much to the chagrin of both Bob and Hed's daughter Estelle. Bob is unhappy because it is his pet and so he pouts; Estelle has no intention of allowing the cute, cuddly animal to be put to death and so works on finding a way to stop her intimidating father. With references to Judeo-Christian beliefs and the Greek pantheon, Rosoff uses humor, pathos and human development in supposing a hormonal adolescent is at the center of creation. The result is a compelling yet somewhat disturbing fiction that nonetheless provides creative insight into human behavior. Certainly for high school teens, this is not for the average reader, but those with an interest in philosophy or psychology will be hooked. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Have you ever read the Bible or classical myths and thought that God's and/or Zeus's behavior seemed a bit arbitrary? Perhaps even vindictive and downright selfish? Here, the mercurial nature of the deity is creatively explained: God is, in fact, a teenage boy—moody, self-obsessed, and entrusted with overseeing a low-priority corner of the universe called Earth. God's name is Bob, and Earth's creatures are his rather slapdash inventions, made hastily in six days and then abandoned to a fate of chaos and self-destruction. Meteorological catastrophes correspond to Bob's mood swings and sexual frustrations. Wars and conflicts result from his failure to pay attention to human folly. Loosely supervised by an exasperated paternal figure known as Mr. B, Bob spends his time whining and pining after beautiful human females. The story's main thread follows his latest infatuation with a kindhearted, animal-loving beauty named Lucy. The omniscient narration moves quickly, with plenty of wacky tangential details to amuse even the quirkiest readers. Easy to read, thoroughly amusing, and thought-provoking, this title will appeal to teens who like their humor offbeat and irreverent. Give it to fans of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens (Workman, 1990) and Douglass Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Harmony Books, 1980).—Emma Burkhart, Springside School, Philadelphia, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Bad luck for Earth that the job of the Almighty went to a horny, indolent teenager named Bob whose mother, Mona, won it in a poker game. In a few flashes of brilliance, Bob created the heavens and the earth, adding short-lived mortals in his own image, which seemed like a colossal mistake to his assistant, Mr. B. Humankind has been dealing with God's adolescent mood swings ever since. If Bob seduces one more girl, it'll be the end of Mr. B's rope—he's already considering turning in his resignation. A veteran of middle management, he's having his own identity crisis. While Bob fantasizes about "soapy sex" with Lucy, an assistant zookeeper praying for someone to fall in love with, the world drowns in Bob's bathwater. Meanwhile, Bob's pet, Eck, a penguin-like little creature with far more empathy than his owner possesses, is the latest victim of Mona's excesses. Beneath the light, snarky banter lie provocative ideas. As Bob himself wonders, "if life were without flaws and no one ever changed or died, what role would God have?" A piece of graffiti spurs Bob to get his planet under control, to surprising effect. Irreverent and funny, this book is sure to put off those concerned about blasphemous ideas showing up in teen literature, but it earns its place among the sharpest-witted tours de force of recent memory. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Ron Charles
The comedy here is pratfall-subtle, but it's spiked with some surprisingly tough theological questions about the reason for suffering, the problem of free will, and the existence of God…
—The Washington Post
The Washington Post
"Rosoff has a good time with her hunky, ne'r-do-well deity . . ."
Booklist
"Wildly inventive and laugh-out-loud funny..."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257643
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/24/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, USA. She has worked in publishing, public relations and most recently advertising, but thinks the best job in the world would be head gardener for Regents Park. Meg lives in Highbury, North London. She is the author of Just in Case, What I Was and How I Live Now.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2011

    Life the Universe And Everything

    I'm the mother of three teenagers, and I laughed till I cried and then cried till I laughed. This book tackles just about every big issue out there -- environmental disaster, life, death, extinction, love, sex, identity, religion -- but somehow does it without making you feel like you're taking your medicine. Right in the middle of thinking profound thoughts about the nature of God and religion I'd burst out laughing at some ridiculous scene. The race to save the Eck from extinction had me on the edge of my seat and I had to remind myself that there isn't such a thing as an Eck. Sadly.
    It kind of made me think of Hitchikers Guide To the Galaxy but with more heart and soul. Lots of food for thought here and a great read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 23, 2013

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