The Dog Who Was There

The Dog Who Was There

by Ron Marasco


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718083922
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 373,417
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, About Grief, has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from Lost to West Wing to Entourage to originating the role of Mr. Casper on Freaks and Geeks—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie Illusion, for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on Major Crimes. He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.

Read an Excerpt

The Dog Who Was There

By Ron Marasco

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2017 Ronald D. Marasoc, Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8394-6


Barley was lying with his snout resting on the hearth, looking up with his alert brown eyes, watching Adah cook dinner. She was sitting, as she always did at this time of night, on her small stool and stirring a pot of something that, to Barley, smelled delicious. It was nightfall in the small home that Duv had built, all by himself, when he and Adah first became husband and wife, many years before Barley had come into their lives.

The walls of the homey, one-room house were thick, made out of light-colored stone and coarse mud, from the region of Judea they lived in, that Duv had sanded smooth with his own hands and had painted a peaceful shade of white. The stones had no sharp corners but curved softly, giving them a rounded feel that made the whole house look to Barley like the body of a jolly, well-fed person. The ceiling was low, which was a fine fit for Adah and Duv, since neither of them was very tall. The house had only one window — a large oval whose sill Barley loved to sprawl out on and look out onto the comings and goings of neighbors, goats, donkeys, and other assorted travelers on their way up the little road to the long thoroughfare that led to the marketplace or down it to the small pasture at the end of their street.

The whole house had a snug atmosphere that made Barley feel safe. He especially liked the comforting feel of this time of day — the lamp-lit, end-of-chores, dinner-cooking part of early nightfall.

It was at times like this that Barley felt life was good and that it always would be.

Whenever Barley got this feeling, he would roll his small body onto his back, allowing his scruffy off-white fur to push into the smooth hearthstone below him. Then he would raise his pink belly into the warm air of the room, let his paws dangle anywhere they wanted, and look up at the low ceiling and say to it with his eyes: Ceiling, life is good, isn't it? And he'd answer his own question by wagging his tail back and forth — quick as a sickle, swishy as a broom.

Tonight Barley's wagging was particularly enthusiastic because it had been a fine and fun day. It had been spent with his masters, Adah and Duv, doing chores that Barley found particularly interesting.

The morning, like most mornings, was spent watching Duv and Adah work in the tiny, well-tended front patch of land where they grew vegetables and had a large olive tree that always seemed full of thick, healthy olives that Barley liked to smell. On sunny days, like today, Barley always felt good-weather frisky. And when he felt this way, he would never leave Adah's or Duv's side in the garden, watching with great curiosity each new chore and even trying to lend his help. He'd often stick his tiny snout so close to what one of them was doing, he'd almost get conked on the nose with whatever tool they were using until they would say something like, "Do you mind, sir?" or "It's hard enough to weed without you licking my ear."

The second half of most days was the time Adah and Duv would each do their own work. And Barley would divide his time, being alongside one or the other of them throughout the rest of the day, each day, the seven happy years he'd lived with them. Today had been water day, so most of the afternoon was spent accompanying Adah as she carried the heavy, clay water jugs out of their house and down the path to the well in the middle of the neatly-kept dirt road that was shared by all the other little houses in their neighborhood — five or six in all.

Adah was an older woman, in her fifties — an old age for a woman in this place and time. She was rather short, and her body was somewhat plump in spots — which Barley liked, because it made her lap so comfortable he'd often hop up on it to watch her sew. Her hair was gray, her skin was soft and a little saggy in places, and her eyes were warm. When she smiled, Barley thought she looked as young and pretty as a little girl. But because she was old, some of her bones were stiff and unsure, so she moved slowly and carefully. Adah was not afraid of the hard work it took to keep a house well run in the first century AD on a humble street on the outskirts of Roman-occupied Jerusalem — even if the chore of the day was something strenuous like lugging water jars to the well, as it had been today.

Barley had been taught that, when accompanying her on this task, he should not walk within the usual petting distance, right near Adah's feet. It was fine to stay that close during all the other chores, and he would gladly accept the little pats she'd give him every few minutes or so — stopping her cooking or sewing or washing to lean down and give him a quick rub and a "Hi there, you" or "Good boy." But Barley knew he had to take special care on water-carrying days not to be too close when he walked with her. That way he'd never accidentally trip her as she hauled the heavy, brimming water jars back and forth between the well and their house.

It had almost happened once, a few years back, but they escaped with just a cracked jug and with water all over them both, which Duv, when he looked out the window and saw them, found funny. After that day, Barley had been trained to be cautious. He was small enough — between twenty and twenty-five runty pounds and less than a foot and a half high — that you could miss seeing him underfoot, though he was agile enough never to get stomped on. Usually Duv only had to correct him once before Barley understood, and Barley's affection for Duv made it easy to comply with the few rules that Duv patiently taught him. In all the years they had been together, Adah had never heard her husband raise his voice, a characteristic she attributed to the fact that she'd married a man "whose name rhymes with love."

The main rule Adah insisted on was that Barley never bite.

"A good dog doesn't bite," she said.

Barley liked watching Adah and Duv work. But he also understood that dogs have their chores to do, just as people do. His job was chasing birds in the yard — even though he was never able to catch any — and being petted, and being good company, and keeping the people he loved safe by watching over their tiny house and barking to let Adah and Duv know when a visitor came up the narrow path to their door.

Of all the little family's chores and rituals, it was Duv's job that seemed to Barley the most interesting of all. Duv did wood carvings — intricate little sculptures that were, to all who saw them, nothing short of lovely. That's why Adah disliked it when people in the marketplace called Duv a woodcarver. These little creations were so beautiful that to call Duv a woodcarver would, in the famous words of Adah, be "like calling God a world-monger."

Figurines was what he and Adah called them. And once a week, on Friday morning, when everyone in town was busy shopping for the evening's Sabbath meal, Duv and Adah would take the beautiful little figurines he sculpted from wood to the busy marketplace on the far side of their region and sell them.

These figurines were always of the same subject.


But because Duv worked so hard to make each one of his wooden birds a special work of art, customers in the marketplace willingly parted with their coins to buy the charming trinkets. Duv was so good at what he did that he and Adah usually sold every figurine and would return with a coin pouch filled enough to get the three of them comfortably through the week.

Duv's small workbench was in the back corner of the low-ceilinged house. And Barley would watch as Duv worked there, for hours each afternoon and evening, diligently carving with his sharp, homemade tools into little blocks of wood the treasures that made him known, jokingly, by the neighbors on his street as the Bird Rabbi. Barley loved observing Duv as he sat hunched over a small piece of wood, his sun-weathered face down close to whatever detail he was expertly carving, occasionally blowing away the little curls of wood he'd shave off, which Barley loved to watch flutter to the ground like even tinier little birds.

Bit by bit, Duv would turn each piece of wood into the shape of a beautiful bird, every one in a unique pose. Then he would use an array of small twigs, the ends of which he had frayed with a tiny knife and made into brushes, to color his creations. Barley loved seeing Duv dip the different brushes into pots of interesting colors that Adah made for paint, using things like blackberries and crushed lily pollen and various plants she squeezed to drip out their pretty juice.

Even though Duv was strong for a man of his height, and had big hands and thick fingers, when he worked on the figurines — carving delicately, painting them gently — he put such lifelike detail into the sculptures, making the birds seem so real to Barley that, one day, the most astonishing thing happened.

Duv had just put the finishing touches on a figurine he'd worked at all day. Barley was lying by the fire next to Adah as she stirred the pot of dinner. He glanced across the room at the freshly painted bird sitting on Duv's workbench — a bluebird figurine with an orange beak and shiny, dark-green eyes. Suddenly, as Barley was looking up at the sculpture lazily, the bird turned its head, stared right at Barley, and winked!

Barley stood up and began to stare at the bird, to bark and bark at it until, finally, the bird winked at Barley one last time, turned its head away, and went back to being just a piece of painted wood drying on the workbench. Duv and Adah enjoyed Barley's reaction to the figurine very much. Adah even chuckled to her husband and said, "It's a compliment to your work, dear." Barley didn't know what this meant, but he never wanted to see one of the birds on Duv's workbench do that again. And, thankfully, none ever did.

Barley could tell by how carefully Adah and Duv handled the figurines that they were fragile and important. Duv even made a special basket in which to carry them during their long journey on foot to the marketplace. Duv always filled the basket with a heaping pile of fresh straw, and the birds certainly had a comfortable journey as Duv and Adah carried the basket-each holding a handle — a family of Duv's lovely creations nesting between them. And along the way to the marketplace, Adah would hum little songs. "My wife is a hummer," Duv would say to people about her, smiling.

On one side of the bird basket was a large wooden handle. That was the side Duv held on to when they carried it to market. On the other side was a smaller handle that Duv had carved and smoothed perfectly to fit Adah's smaller hand. And Barley had watched Duv work for two whole nights to craft a round lid for the basket that fit onto it perfectly. It was made from thin cedarwood, and around the perimeter, Duv had carved the words of an old prayer he loved, measuring perfectly so the last letter of the last word came back around to meet the first letter of the first word.

I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

And if that wasn't enough, he cut into the lid several precisely rounded holes. When Adah asked what the holes were for, Duv quietly answered in his usual matter-of-fact tone, "So the birds can breathe."

Tomorrow was a market day, so Duv was still daubing a final little flourish of color on the last bird of the week. Tonight dinner was looking as though it might be a little later than usual-even though Barley was by the hearth, waiting for the best moment of the day, when Adah would reach up to the shelf for Barley's wooden dinner bowl. On nights like this, when dinner was delayed, Barley would often doze off, breathing in the smell of the cooking meal between each peaceful snore.

Some nights, just before dinnertime, Duv would get up from his workbench and join Adah by the fire, and the two of them would pet Barley lightly at the same time, trying not to wake him. Which made Barley wonder if petting a dog together was how old people kiss, though Duv would sometimes kiss Adah anyway.

And some nights, as Barley drowsed, the fire in the hearth would paint moving images and shadows on the walls of the room, and when Barley closed his eyes to doze in their flickering light, soon his memories would paint their own pictures on the walls of his snoozing mind and Barley would have dreams-dreams that were vivid, real, and exact.

Tonight the dream began with an image.

Over seven years ago, when Barley was first born, he was lying in the sun next to his mother ...

This was Barley's very first memory, in the earliest days of his life. The dream began with the memory of the afternoon sun moving across the field all morning till it finally came to shine on Barley and the other pups as they lay in the curve of their mother's belly. A week before, Barley's mother had given birth to a happy, squirming litter of puppies, the smallest of which was Barley.

Most of those early weeks of life had been spent lolling happily in a small clearing amid acres of crops and high grass that was their home. The clearing was on the farthest end of a landowner's large field along a rarely traveled stretch of swaying wildflowers and reeds. There, amid a thicket of low bushes, the property abruptly ended at the bank of a wide, fast-moving stream. This stream filled the field, day and night, with a constant gushing whoosh, and flowed for miles and miles through this region of Judea. The area was alive with birds, all variety of wild foliage, as well as other splendid sights for a new dog to see.

Barley and his siblings would spend the day looking up at the blue sky, which was how he first got introduced to butterflies — which Barley was very anxious to begin chasing as soon as his wobbly new legs were ready. By the end of most of those early days, when the sun sank below the line of the grass up above the small protected clearing, the family was ready for a well-earned night's sleep.

Even though Barley would feel tired, the darkness at night would scare him and keep him awake. Barley was the smallest pup in his family, the runt of the litter, and on nights when he was fearful, his mother would lower her comforting brown eyes to watch over him in the moonlight, and sometimes lean her head down to lick her small son's tiny snout. And Barley would press his head deep into his mother's soft belly. Barley noticed that when he pressed his tiny triangular ear into his mother's chest, he could hear coming from deep inside of her a kind of music, a gentle beating — bum-BUM, bum-BUM, bum-BUM — that let Barley know that, even when his mother was asleep, she was still taking care of him.

Since the part of the dream Barley was having as he lay by the hearth at Adah's feet was happy, he began to wag his tail, even though he was sound asleep. Soon Barley's dream wound its way to the memory of the very first friend Barley ever had. No one had made little Barley's tail wag as much as he could.

Micah ...

Barley was only a couple of weeks old, but his eyes were now fully open and happily taking in all the new sights. And his tiny legs had grown strong enough that he could amble to the edge of the clearing to spend part of each day looking out at the waiting world beyond. One morning he was peering out through the tall grass at the rolling acres that ran along the nearby stream when he saw a sight that made him realize there were more creatures in the world than just dogs, butterflies, birds — there were other creatures that were far larger and more interesting that he had yet to meet.

Walking straight toward him was the boy he would come to know as Micah.

Micah was thin and small for his ten years, with dark brown hair and eyes so clear and green Barley could see their color even at a distance.

When Barley first saw him, Micah was carrying a huge basket, twice his size and tied to the boy's back with coarse rope that made ruts in his slight shoulders. The basket was filled with the firewood that Micah's father made him gather and carry. His father didn't need the firewood. The man was a wealthy farmer with a small army of farm laborers at his disposal. But Micah's father forced the boy to do things for reasons his young son didn't understand — or understood to be wrong.

Micah tried to sit down on the ground and rest a moment, but as he tried to pull his arms from the rope, the weight of the basket pulled him over. As he struggled to get free of the basket, he said with a burst of frustrated emotion, "This is so-so-so heavy. I can't do it ..."


Excerpted from The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco. Copyright © 2017 Ronald D. Marasoc, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Dog Who Was There 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
This is a nice story for Dog Lovers. The author did a good job of intermingling Biblical facts with the story. It is also a short read and you will want to stick with it until the end. I was hoping for at least one more chapter. Just ended too soon for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book title was the draw for me because I love dogs. And as a Christian I was curious about the idea of Jesus and the dog. The story held me to the end and I was blessed! Thanks for writing the story. Ed+ Langley
PamelaSheld48 More than 1 year ago
Several months ago, without having read the book, I was asked to review covers for this novel. I was pleased when the book came out that the cover I thought best fit the plot was chosen. It had an interesting premise and I couldn't wait for the book to be available. "The Dog Who Was There" did not disappoint my anticipation. This page turner is set during the time of Jesus. Barley, a little dog by all accounts, captured my heart from the first page to the last. His story of love and loyalty is interwoven with the events surrounding Jesus' ministry, Crucifixion and life in 1st century Israel. There are twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. This well researched and finely written novel gets 5 stars!
luvnjesus More than 1 year ago
I have to be honest, books written about dogs does not really interest me. I think the story of the crucifixion through the eyes of Barley down plays the seriousness of what Jesus did for us. I received this book from The Fiction Guild and was required to give an honest review.
GailHollingsworth More than 1 year ago
This was a very different book from any I've ever read. Before I read it I thought it was going to be "cartoony" from the title but it was far from that. It begins with Barley as a puppy. Goes through his experiences just trying to survive in first century Roman occupied Jerusalem. He learns about humans, some nice, some downright cruel. Some days it's just a matter of surviving. He also sees a very special man with kind eyes (Jesus). Barley calls him Kind Man. He witnesses the meanness and cruelty of the Roman soldiers. He is also there when Jesus is beaten and crucified. A strong lesson to be taken from this novel is forgiveness, kindness and treating others as you would want to be treated. Treating evil with goodness. Even the hardest hearts can be changed. I received this book from the fiction guild and was not required to write a review.
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
Well, right off, I will say that this is a unique way to breathe fresh new perspective into a tale that's been told a million times over! The writing sometimes struck me as somewhat simplistic but that could just be a natural by-product of the author choosing to tell the story from the inner thoughts of a dog. Perhaps the simplicity is intentional? Regardless, the benefit of a simple voice is that it makes this story perfect for sharing with readers within a wide age range. Note that I was careful not to say "of all ages", because there is material within this novel that may be a little traumatic for the littlest ones in your life, whether they read independently or have you read to them. Barley witnesses (and describes) seeing the bodies of people executed by hanging, there are moments of extreme violence within Barley's own life, moments where he is injured, not to mention Barley relaying the sights of the Crucifixion itself near the end of the novel. The fate of Duv & Adah (the woodcarver and his wife) show just how rough and sometimes lawless this time period could be. So when it comes to the smallest of your story lovers, I'd recommend maybe first doing a read-through to see what you need to gloss over for them. Much of the story, as far as plot, while solidly enjoyable, lacked that little something extra for me. For the majority of the book, I kept waiting for that extra oomph to kick in. That said, I did enjoy the "voice" of our dog narrator and one of my favorite bits of the whole story was Samid and his friendship / something more? with Prisca. There was a good dose of humor and lively banter between them. I agree with Prisca, Samid outwardly appears rough around the edges, but you get the sense there's a good guy there deep down. What ended up bumping this up to a four star read for me was simply Barley's observations during the Crucifixion. The way author Ron Marasco painted these scenes gave me a whole new visual of this event I've heard told in stories SO many times over. Yet something in the way Marasco illustrates it (in words) made it more real for me than nearly any other piece on the Crucifixion I've ever read. Ever. I physically flinched at what Barley describes himself seeing as the walk up to the cross is taking place. The attention to detail Marasco provides when describing the whippings Jesus is taking from soldiers, the way Barley winces and whimpers and thinks of him (Jesus) as Kind Man. It all just knocks you right in the heart! Beyond the Crucifixion scene, there is a further twist to the ending that I did not entirely see coming!
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
One very moving story.... The Dog Who Was There By Ron Marasco This is an Easter book unlike any I have ever read. This is an emotionally moving book that follows the journey of a small dog by the name of Barley. Barley's life takes several dramatic turns throughout the story. There are flashes showing Barley's early life and how he came to be where he calls home when the book opens. The book is set in Israel on the outskirts of Jerusalem during the final days of Jesus life. The book is told entirely through Barley's perspective. And due to an unforeseen happening Barley finds himself in Jerusalem at the same time as the Teacher that everyone is speaking of. Barley observes the brutality of a land under Roman rule as well as unexpected pockets of kindness. And he observes the transforming power of the Teacher, the triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, and the cruelty of the Crucifixion. The loyalty, the love Barley displays is touching even to the point of moving the reader to a tear or two. These two emotions are the catalysts that propel the story to its conclusion - a conclusion that will leave the reader satisfied and rejoicing in the transforming power of Messiah's message. This cover perfectly depicts this book. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through the Fiction Guild with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The part about the cruxificion was especially poignant. The book was pretty good just not my usual fair.
blessedchick More than 1 year ago
( I received this book for free in order to review. All opinions are my own.) When I received this book, my kids beat me to opening the package. My oldest son (11) read it. He loved it. Everyday when he read it he would give me a synopsis of it. This book made him tear up, and feel for the dog. Then after he was done, he gave it to his brother (9), who also loved it and couldn't put it down. I love seeing my kids reading, and when they are reading a book of faith, it makes me even happier. The Dog Who Was There is a great, simple read that everyone can read. I felt like it was perfect for my kids to read, though, I don't think it was intended for kids. Reading it, it seemed like I was there in the story line. It tugged at my heart and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It was interesting to see the history of Jesus as told by a dog.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
For those who love Christian fiction and animals, especially dogs, this is a novel that will warm the heart. Told from the point of view of a dog who follows Jesus, the reader is treated to a moving tale about how people can change through love and forgiveness. A quick and easy read that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions! Brilliant and unique.
StephieJ More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading the book The Dog Who Was There. It was a book told in the perspective of a dog named Barley. Barley is such a sweet and loyal dog to his owners. This book touched my heart and made me see the story of Jesus and his last days on earth in a whole new way. I highly recommend this book! It is a great read. It will stay with you long after you read it. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a review. My opinion is my own.
Jennybug52 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars- I loved the innocence of Barley, the dog. His world was shaped by emotions and experiences and he judged people for who he sensed they were on the inside and never cared about their outward appearance. The writing/feel of the story was light in a sense, through Barley’s eyes, but the author did a great job of creating very intense, emotional scenes that were full of depth. This story was very well written. I found this to be a fascinating view of Jesus and His final days on Earth. This story really made the ministry/message of Jesus come alive. Barley’s innocence and complete trust in his masters reminded me a lot of how children function and how the Bible says we should have a child-like faith. It was definitely a great read with a satisfying, somewhat bittersweet ending. The bond between a man and his dog is an amazing thing. God had special plans for Barley and always provided who and what he needed at just the right time. One thing I wish they’d included is an epilogue with Jesus’ resurrection to completely finish the story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
tickmenot More than 1 year ago
The Kind Man! Ever wonder what the world would look like through the eyes of a dog? This book answers that. Barley, a dog that lives in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, chronicles his life in this tale. His earliest memories revolve around his mother, a meadow and a kind little boy. But a series of confusing events leave Barley homeless and alone. Barley lives through both good times and lean times which correlate with the people in his life. He also notices things that happen to the humans around him. Barley first hears about the Teacher from the elderly Adah and Dov’s conversations. They talk about forgiveness and other teachings from the Teacher, and try to live them out. As time goes on, Barley notices those two seniors, who were always happy, have an even deeper level of happiness because of the Teacher’s words. Prisca often talks about the Teacher from Galilee while around Barley and Samid. Barley notices that Samid starts treating those around him differently, in a kinder way, after discussions about the Teacher’s preaching. Samid even refuses to take part in illegal activities that had once been part of his life—he even attempts to get his friend to stop as well. Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey is described through Barley’s eyes. The dog notes the man’s face is filled with so much kindness that Barley refers to him as the Kind Man from then on. He even witnesses the events in Jerusalem one week later that leave Barley confused and alone. Ultimately, Barley incorporates some of the Kind Man’s teachings in his own behavior, and discovers a whole new world because of it. This is a sweet story that attempts to answer many what ifs…what if a dog lived in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ ministry? What if that dog could communicate his impressions of the people and events of that time period? What if that dog also had to be dependent on the people around him, what would his life be like? I liked this book’s interesting perspective, and it is a very fast read. From the first time you read about Barley, you will care about him, and wonder if he is going to survive. I was concerned that this book might treat Christianity with disrespect, but my worries were not fulfilled. Faith was treated with high esteem; in fact, your faith might even be deepened from this tale. Also, the description Barley had of Jesus’ last hours on this earth will bring tears to your eyes. I enjoyed this 5-star book, and recommend it to both dog lovers, and those who are not. Anyone will like this imaginative tale. Thomas Nelson Publishing provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Dog Who Was There, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. All thoughts are my own. This was a interesting perspective from a different point of view from the dog. You hear about animals in the Bible but to have one written from the thoughts of a dog that just might have been there during the period. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants a clean read about a piece of history,
SemmieWise More than 1 year ago
** “But then I thought of this word forgive. And like a kind of magic, I felt as if a heavy burden I had been carrying a long time had been lifted from me.” ** Consider this your official tissue warning. You will need tissues while reading Ron Marasco’s “The Dog Who Was There” — and lots of them. “The Dog Who Was There” is a lovely, unique retelling of the Gospel Story — told from the perspective of Barley, a spunky, runt-of-the-litter dog who has had more ups and downs in his short little life than anyone should have. As the novel opens, Barley is living the good life with his masters, Adah and Duv, merchants who sell Duv’s wood carvings of birds. But when tragedy strikes, Barley must set out and find a new master. Barley’s journey leads him to a new master and eventually a chance to meet the Teacher, a man from Galilee that Barley grows to call the “Kind Man” — a man whose fate will eventually be closely intertwined with Barley’s own story. With the ending circling back to the tale’s beginning, Marasco’s novel is a delightful lesson in love, forgiveness and overcoming evil. It touches on despair and how easy it is to remain in one’s despair because it helps justify the worst in is. However, a miracle can come along to rise us out of despair. (“Don’t you know what a miracle is, Samid? … It’s the opposite of despair.”) It also teaches us that life and its lessons are always a journey, and sometimes that journey takes a long time, and is constantly ongoing. Marasco does a great job of sharing the story of Jesus and his great sacrifice for us, but through the eyes of an adorable and plucky canine. “The Dog Who Was There” is definitely an emotional roller coaster, but one filled with love and forgiveness. ** “Barley now understood the lesson of lessons — the way to overcome evil. Look for the good. Look for the good, and forgive.” ** Four stars out of five. Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
GCWineholt More than 1 year ago
THE DOG WHO WAS THERE A Novel By Ron Marasco A dog named Barley has a story to tell, a story that is unbelievable and a story about a kind man that most everyone knows. This is a story told from a different viewpoint. Barley is living with his masters Duv and Adah, living a good life that any dog would love. Sometimes he has dreams of when he was a puppy with his mother and siblings. These dreams are not always pleasant. Barley is doing find until something happen to his masters and he ends up homeless. He does find a new master who is also homeless. This relationship will take Barley in contact with the kind man, (Jesus). He views different parts of the week between what we call Palm Sunday and the crucifixion. Barley story is interesting and has some good points as well as bad point. My dislike is the details of cruelty and treatment of Barley by some; I felt that some of the details were too vivid for this type of book. At times, the story becomes sidetracked and parts are dragged out. You are three quarters through the book before Barley sees the kind man. In all, the entire story is good and has a number of surprises. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggersbook review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
jess_baker_614 More than 1 year ago
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. I have never read from the dog point of view before, and I could not figure out how the story of Jesus would come out. But I took a chance on it, hoping to gain something and broaden my reading horizons a little bit. I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book! First I have to comment on reading from the point of view of a dog. It has certainly given me a new perspective of my own dog's world and how she sees things! It was amazing to me how involved the author got in this dog's head. I imagine he must have spent time watching the world from a dog's level in order to write so beautifully and realistically. I loved Barley and going along his journey to different families. The images of each and every scene that played out before Barley were vivid in my mind and I felt like I was there with him. Next is the story of Jesus. Although not referred to directly as Jesus in this story, any Christian will easily know that the Teacher referenced in the book, or the Kind Man as he was sometimes referred to is Jesus. What an interesting and yet powerful way to get the message of Jesus across. So many good points were brought up throughout the book that we can relate to ourselves. Even character transformations that happened before our eyes, because of Jesus' word - that can certainly happen today as well. I felt because of the way Jesus was presented that even a "non-Christian" would enjoy this and perhaps have an eye-opening moment. I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4aussiegirl More than 1 year ago
The Dog Who Was There A Novel By: Ron Marasco First let me say I love the cover maybe it’s because I love dogs. It drew me to it like a magnet. As you travel the journey with Barley to Judea to Galilee you’ll see through eyes and hear through Barely ears the greatest story ever told. As Barley meets a woodcarver he finds love and peace. Then when they don’t come back home Barley goes on search for them, Barley goes to Jerusalem where he’s hoping to find his master. Barley gets to Jerusalem and there he meets Samid a man that steals but something starts to changes Samid, he is now Barely’s new master. As each Character brings a piece of the tapestry together the story will unfold through Barley. Barely is swept up in the nice mans teachings it starts to weave a picture of his struggles and of love, forgiveness, kindness. The story isn’t about Jesus but rather about the Teacher and His teachings. So as each piece of the tapestry is woven together you will see the greatest story ever told take place the way Barely see and hears it. This is a unique story. If you looking for a book that is page turner this defiantly is the book for you. It will have you wanting more. I received this beautiful book from booklookbloggers free for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are entirely my own and no one else’s. 5 Stars ISBN 978-0-7180-8392-2
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I would like a book written from a dogs perspective, but I really liked and enjoyed this book. It even made me cry when Barley witnessed Christ carrying the cross. This is an easy and quick read and well worth your time if you like reading something different from most Biblical Fiction. Barley experiences several owners and has tragedy happen to him. You can't help but have empathy for him. I connected and identified with Barley. I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction Guild. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
Doreen-renewing-strength More than 1 year ago
The Dog Who Was There-Ron Marasco I read the first part of this book. I felt it was making trivial a very important part of the life of my Savior. I would not even recommend the book for a 10-12 year old child to read. I felt it was written for a child and poorly written at that. Even a young adult would be very confused by the story. We don't need to confuse stories like this with real truth.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry, I don't think I have ever given a book such a bad rating, but it is really not my kind of book at all, and it is not, in my opinion, even well written. I mean, I love animals and all, but the story of the crucifixion through the eyes of a dog? Really? It seems sort of like an insult. I was given this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine you were a dog living in first century Palestine. That's what Ron Marasco's The Dog Who Was There does. The reader follows Barley from a puppy, who was saved from drowning by a kind couple, to a time when a homeless man was his master, to the time he meets the "Kind Man." View the cross from the eyes of a dog. The story is written in a very simple style that even a child could read.
BookReviewerTG More than 1 year ago
First of all this story begins VERY slowly, I guess to build up to some sort of action. Secondly, and this may just be me, but I had a real problem with a dog telling/feeling a story about the love of our Savior. As much as I like dogs I'm just not sure that they can see a dog understanding how great the love and sacrifice of our Savior was for us, humans. This was just not my kind.of story. Too many "issues" for me. And I'm pretty liberal with my praise for books...authors take a lot of time and energy to tell great stories. Unfortunately, this just isn't one of them.
SusanSnodgrassBookworm More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Barley, the dog who had an encounter with the Messiah in Jerusalem. Barley was homeless, hungry and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. We see the teacher from Galilee through the eyes of Barley, a dog. The story comes alive in a way you never thought possible. Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly drowned puppy. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes for Barley, he carries the lessons of love and forgiveness out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea. On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his new master experience struggles and revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story every told. Dog lovers will be entranced by this story. I love dogs and own one myself, who is the joy of my heart. I often find myself wondering what Sam is thinking and how he feels. I know he loves me, but I would just like to see into his mind. Ron Marasco has written a completely delightful tale that allows the reader into the mind of a dog and how he feels. I was in tears in places during the reading. One scene just did me in. This is a book you'll love if you love dogs and Jesus. *I was provided with a copy of this book by The Fiction Guild. My review is my own and honest opinion.
mymissdaisy More than 1 year ago
I looked forward to reading this book. I expected wholesome and heart warming as the dog Barley shares a behind the scenes look at Jesus Christ and his ministry while here on earth. Imagining walking along side him. It never occurred to me that Jesus would have a dog. But why not? How silly of me. One of the greatest gifts that he has given us is the companionship of a dog. The reader can't help but love Barley. It was a great story that opens the readers eyes to see what it must have been like being apart of Jesus' life being one of his followers friends. Being his 'best friend'. I kind of had this scenario going on in my mind but the connection between Jesus and Barley really didn't come out in the story until near the end. There is a lot of sadness in this story. In the beginning Barley is abused. In the end he suffers seeing the crucifixion. For additional reviews visit the Litfuse website.