Then who has been doing their business in my garden?

“Oh glorious, most glorious glorious! And yet again glorious!”

Aside from attending a Church of England primary school and having occasional flirtations with the notion of the Greek gods being worthy of my worship, my relationship to religion is minimal. I do not believe in a god and remain atheist. However, perhaps it is this part of me that has led me to discover and devour so many books about the nature of god. Over the last couple of years I have read Mr G, The Second Coming, The Initiate’s Blog, Good to be God and a few other novels that deal with God, Jesus or the Creation. This has bought me to this book here, There Is No Dog.

In this instance of creation, our God is actually called Bob and is an eternally nineteen-year-old lazy, self-absorbed, sex-obsessed, selfish, destructive  and apathetic teenager. (Seeing now why making people in his own image was such a mistake?) Given the job of creating the planet by his mother, Mona, and with his personal assistant Mr B as his only support, he set about making Earth in a mere six days, filling it with all manner of animals and plants, including humans, and then pretty much retiring, already bored of his creation, unwilling and uninterested in answering the prayers of those he has made.

He spends his days with his pet Eck (a penguiny sort of beast with a trunk and grey fur), avoiding doing any work, while Mr B dedicates his life to trying to jolly Bob along, and answer the few prayers he is capable of answering. Things have been tough for a long time and then only get tougher when Bob discovers a human called Lucy. She is rather pretty, a religious virgin and works at a zoo. And Bob is absolutely and utterly in love with her.

True love never did run smooth, but it runs rougher than usual when you are immortal and the object of your love is a human you created. Bob’s moods cause havoc with the weather on Earth, leading to widespread flooding and displacement of the masses. But Bob doesn’t care – he just wants Lucy. In the mean time, Mona has got herself stuck in another poker game and ends up gambling away Eck to another god, with the promise that he is delicious. Bob cannot deal with so many problems at once and everything begins to fall apart as Bob, Mr B, Mona, Lucy, Eck and Eck’s saviour Estelle, struggle to get exactly what they want, regardless of how others feel about the situation.

The characterisation of the humans is flimsy at best. At no point do I feel much compassion for Lucy or her colleagues, in particular Skype, who seems a waste of pen and ink in a book like this, mere padding. In fact, a lot of the book seems to padding – a collection of briefly interesting moments strung together hurriedly by irrelevance. There are some nice touches, certainly. Mr B is a maravellous creation and one whom I can accept willingly. Bob himself is also great as an explanation for all the rubbish that happens on Earth. And even Eck is adorable. There is also a rather touching sub-story about Lucy’s mother and her reciprocated love for the vicar, in a relationship that can’t go anywhere.

All in all, while the writing is good and there’s something unique about the whole thing, I can’t say I was captivated wholly. There feels like there’s something missing, only I couldn’t exactly tell you what. It wasn’t the sort of book I’d put aside an evening to read, but if you’ve got nothing better to do, then it’s more worthwhile than sitting about watching reality television.