Review Blog

Sep 22 2011

There is no dog by Meg Rosoff

cover image

Penguin, 2011. ISBN 9780141327181.
(Age: 16+)Imagine if the creator of the world is a typical teenage boy, Bob, self-obsessed, thoughtless and sex mad. His mother is a gambler and hard drinker who loses Bob's pet Eck, a strange penguin like creature, at a card game with the mighty Emoto Hed who decides that he will eat it, much to the horror of his daughter Estelle. And then there is long suffering Mr B who tries to clean up after Bob's messes and finds it depressing to attempt to answer all the prayers for help. Lucy, the beautiful young girl that Bob falls in love with works at the local zoo, and Bob, head over heels in lust, plays havoc with the weather while he courts her. Floods and droughts cause chaos in the world.
Rosoff has come up with a hard hitting idea to why the world is in trouble today with floods and famine, whales and other species extinct or endangered. It is because Bob is too careless to spend time on his creations or to think through the implications of what he does. Bob is a totally unlikeable character, or god, with no apparent good features except for the occasional brilliant creation. The anagram in her title There is no dog, is a further hint to what Rosoff is thinking, although her little group of gods appear to be more like the gods of Olympia rather than the God of Christianity.
As I read the book I kept thinking that the themes were more of an adult nature rather than ones that would appeal to teenagers. Certainly her premise of Bob being God, and only interested in beautiful girls, is one that will not go down very well in Christian schools. However I couldn't stop reading it, the inclusion of the last Eck in the world under threat of being eaten was a suspense maker, and I had to find out what would happen to him in the end!
Rosoff has written a challenging and uncompromising satire that is sure to be a discussion starter among adults who read adolescent fiction. It is definitely a book for older, experienced readers,  because of the content and the complexity of the ideas.
Pat Pledger

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