Thursday, 6 October 2011

There is no dog

 "There really isn't another young-adult novel like There Is No Dog," said Anthony McGowan in The Guardian, way back in August.

Two things, Anthony.
One: you meant to say 'There really isn't another young-adult novel as good as There Is No Dog.' Two: 'Young-adult novel?' Really? You think so? Honestly, I'm flattered...

I first came across Meg Rosoff through writing this blog...while Googling 'writing and riding' of all things. I wrote about her here

I'd never heard of her. Well, why should I have? Her first young-adult novel, How I Live Now, was published in 2004 when my own children weren't children anymore and I certainly wasn't (although there are some who would dispute this.)

I adored How I Live Now.   I mentioned it here  It inspired me to write Of Night And Light - because it was written in a way that I'd yearned to write and I never thought was possible. (Of course it was POSSIBLE but was it ACCEPTABLE?)

So...There Is No Dog. Even better. The premise is that God is a feckless teenage boy with all the characteristics of a feckless teenage boy - and as a mother of three of them (feckless teenage boys, not Gods) - believe me, you wouldn't want one in charge of your planet. The hormones, the poor attention span, the bursts of insane creativity followed by weeks of lethargy, the mood swings (which, when you're God, play havoc with the weather)...

"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."

I don't actually want to go through the story bit by bit because that's why you must read it for yourselves. (I'm SURE you're not the sort of people who buy the York Notes instead of reading the book, are you?) Except I have to tell you about the Eck...
 ...who IS the most delightful creature in nine thousand galaxies and very nearly extinct so it's just as well it's possible to adopt one. He's God's pet, badly neglected, and consigned to An Unmentionable Fate. I had to race through the book just to see if the Eck would be okay. No spoilers here...sorry.

If I have just the tiniest gripe, it is that when Eck's fate is determined there's no response from him. At all. So I was left ...bereft. An unfulfilled Eckophile.

Anyway, Meg Rosoff is the writer of my dreams. I'd kill to write like she can.

She has a mind like mine. A mind like a kaleidoscope. Only unlike mine, when she turns it around the pieces fall into place.

As mad as a bucket of frogs, yet underpinned with an eclectic (see yesterday) passion for literature, a darkly wicked sense of humour and a lateral way of thinking that's so lateral it's off the edge of this flat old world we live in.

And she rides horses.

There Is No Dog blasphemous? Come ON people! I've not read a book so full of hope and redemption in a very long time. It restored my faith in...well, faith.

There Is No Dog for young-adults? Yes, a thousand times yes - but also for very much older adults.

Like me.