Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
I’ll admit that while I have a certain fondness for animals in real life, I don’t really do animal tales. The thought of reading a novel about a horse or watching a movie about a whale just doesn’t appeal to me.
But perhaps what intrigued me about this particular novel was the idea of viewing some of “the greatest story ever told” from a new-to-me type of angle. So I did indeed pick up The Dog Who Was There by author Ron Marasco. And I wasn’t disappointed.
No, this isn’t a story about a dog who follows Jesus around everywhere. In fact, for a while, I found the parts where Jesus showed up to be the least compelling of the novel. Much like an extra guy who didn’t quite fit in the story, in person. And I thought that perhaps His presentation here leaned too much toward the kind of soft and radiant Christ Who appears in Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur, not enough like a man Who used to work with His hands and would’ve spent a lot of His time in the sun and dirt.
But, once it’s all weaved together, He ultimately does fit in this account that centers on a lovable and courageous dog, Barley. Seriously, Barley’s engaging and poignant story put tears in my eyes at least three different times. And while there’s a simple, storybook feel to the characters and maybe some head-hopping (like hops from Barley’s head into human ones), there’s genius in the novel’s layering and delivery.
It’s the kind of book that makes you want to be a better person, and that says a lot. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Christian and Biblical Fiction or inspirational stories, whether you’re usually a fan of animal tales or not.