The premise is that God is a nineteen-year-old boy called Bob. Bob’s mother won Earth in a divine poker game and gave it to Bob to give him something to do. Sadly for Earth, Bob is feckless, lazy, whiny and irresponsible, spending most of his time as a sort of deified Kevin the Teenager, complaining about how unfair everything is and obsessing about sex. Luckily for the Earth, Bob has a sidekick, Mr B, a sort of deity-personal-assistant, who sorts out as many prayers as he can while Bob goes around trying to have sex with all the women he created. But when Bob meets Lucy, a pretty, virginal zoo assistant, however, he is determined that she is the girl for him and won’t stop until she agrees to be his.
There Is No Dog is part thought experiment, part fantasy/paranormal romance and raised and answered some interesting questions. Meg Rosoff’s writing is really very good and her descriptions and dialogue are spot on.
Bob started off as quite a funny character. He didn’t really seem nineteen years old to me; more like thirteen, and a pretty spoilt, nasty thirteen at that. His one redeeming feature (and there really is only one) is his brilliant imagination and creativity and I was willing to go with this, but unfortunately over the course of the book Bob didn’t grow or change at all and by the end of the book I just wanted to punch him.
His love interest, Lucy, was kind of dull. She’s pretty and loves animals, but that’s all I can really tell you about her. The romance between her and Bob was a bit skeevy. He sets himself up as her stalker, following her about and spying on her and coming on way too strong. Lucy’s okay with this but unfortunately the old It’s Only Stalking If They Don’t Fancy You Back trope is a bit of a peeve of mine so this didn’t sit too well. After their first encounter, Bob decides not to rape Lucy, which is big of him, but he conceals who he really is, so their whole relationship just felt a bit unsettling and weird.
I didn't really understand what the point of Luke was, as he didn't seem to do much besides harbour a secret crush on Lucy which he covered up by being cold towards her. The other gods were fun characters, especially the long-suffering Mr B, Bob’s personal assistant/sidekick, although I was never sure why, if he had enough creativity and power to create whales, he never just got on and sorted the world out himself instead of waiting for Bob to get his backside in gear. The character I felt really sorry for was Bob’s much-abused pet, Eck, and I was glad he had a happy ending.
I think I get what Meg Rosoff is trying to say: that in a world filled with rainbows and icebergs, tsunamis, earthquakes and warm summer days, with cats and blowfish and peregrine falcons, where there is so much water, but people are dying either through too much, not enough, or from it being poisoned to bits, where paedophiles walk the same pavements as saints and where children get cancer but war criminals live to ninety, it’s far more likely that the Creator (if indeed that’s how the world began) is some ADD-inflicted, capricious child rather than some benign old geezer sitting up in the sky on a cloud.
I think that's what she's trying to say, anyway.
Ultimately, this was an okay book, but really only okay. It was a quick read and held my interest, but some things were just left too uncertain for me to love it.