Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Dog That Talked to God by Jim Kraus

The Dog That Talked to God by Jim Kraus is simply more than a contemporary fiction novel.  Ironically, it is an intelligent  work of fiction written for adult readers about a talking dog.  It is about time that a unique fiction story was written for adults as most wholesome writing is either reserved for children and most Christian fiction centers around Amish or Western Romance.  The tale begins in a Charles Dickens-like fashion and is written in the style of other better works of literature. I imagine those readers who normally appreciate the literature classics will enjoy Kraus' writing style. In this novel, the grieving middle aged widow who lost her son and husband to a tragic accident, Mary Fassler, adopts a dog in order to fill the void in her life and her heart. 

The novel is uniquely written in the first person point of view, allowing the reader an intimate glimpse into the heroine's thoughts and feelings.  The character of Mary character is well developed, so much more so than the typical two dimensional characters seen in most modern fiction.  I imagine that many of Mary's traits are based on the author's own personality and life.  Just like the author, Mary is also involved in the publishing- writing business.  In fact the fictional character Mary mentions her own characters are patterned after people she knows.  In light of this I wonder how much of this character is actually autobiographical- which reminds me to make a mental note to never bake Jim Kraus homemade cookies.

 Kraus creates a plausible a  story as if to answer what would it be really like if a dog could actually communicate.  In fact, the author reflects on her own sanity and questions the issue for herself.  At times the main character takes on the role of her own counselor or psychologist as she questions and scrutinizes her talking dog Rufus as well as her own responses.  Even more remarkable is the fact that Rufus communicates advise that Mary would otherwise be too stubborn or brokenhearted to heed.  Apparently she finds it easier and less threatening to open up to an animal than to other people.  And this is very accurate and realistic.  In the safe context of a  talking dog, painful truths can slowly be communicated to the hurting, grieving Mary until eventually she is able to move forward in life.   Krause delves deeply into the mind of a dog, imagining what the world would be like from an innocent observant dog's point of view.  The cleverly chosen dog's first words to Mary, "Why do you break my crunchy in half?" page 54- accurately reflects  a canine's preoccupation with food yet inquisitive, trusting personality.  Apparently he has done his research as his book provides authentic details and insight into the life and habits of a dog and dog ownership. The dog does not actually communicate directly with God.  Rather, the fog asks as a Christian conscious encouraging Mary to reflect on her diminished relationship with God,

In the safe context of a  talking dog, painful truths can slowly be communicated to the hurting, grieving Mary until eventually she is able to move forward in life. After Mary is reconciled with her grief and is able to move on, and after meeting a good moral man in a new relationship, the dog's job is complete.  Convinced Mary has finally found happiness he simply states "I'm going to stop talking now" at the end of the book.  Christian literature usually does not offer too many choices for readers and is often repetitive and bland unless you are into romance books.  Readers are sure to enjoy the entire book, beginning to end.  Although typical "fairy Tale" ending where the heroine get married, I find that unlike other fictional characters you read about in novels, that Mary really deserved  a good ending.  Everytging seems to end a little too perfectly. Yet with her opinionated and overbearing nature i cant imagine any marriage lasting long.This novel is sure to appeal to many readers, pet lovers, readers experiencing grief and loss as well as those readers who enjoy imaginative fiction in general.  Possibly those who are experiencing loss might find some biblical truths communicated to them as they read- in this case the book makes a good outreach opportunity. As a blogger I received this book published by Abingdon press for the purpose of writing this review.

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