Review: The Dog That Talked to God

The Dog That Talked to God, Jim KrausWhen the recently widowed and depressed Mary buys a Miniature Schnauzer, she expects her life to get a little crazy: potty training, chewing, etc. What she doesn’t expect is a talking dog. To make the situation even stranger, Rufus doesn’t just talk to her — he talks to God, too.

When Rufus begins giving Mary advice that threatens to tear down the walls she has built around herself, she must decide whether or not to trust her furry friend — and God.

Some thoughts

What dog lover out there hasn’t at one time or another thought of their pet as a guardian angel, comforter, and great—if not overly chatty—companion? Animals of all kinds have an amazing ability to bring people out of their shells and give them help when no one else can.

In The Dog That Talked to God, author Jim Kraus takes this metaphor even further, presenting Mary with a pet that not only does these things, but also does them on behalf of God. Rufus is a great character, and I loved seeing how his and Mary’s conversations brought about positive changes in both their lives.

God, Mother Goddess, fate…whatever you want to call it, often chooses to send us friends from the unlikeliest of places.

Spoiler alert!

I must, however, admit to disliking the theological aspects of the ending. Mary spends 320 (of 330) pages being upset about the death of her husband and son, blaming and railing against God for her loss, unable to trust; then suddenly on page 321 all is well and now she can get remarried and have a happy life?

Why does she have to ask God to forgive her for being upset at Him over her family’s death? Why does the author imply that Mary has to get all buddy-buddy with the Big Man before she can experience anything good? It was, literally, a deus ex machina ending.

I’ve read enough Christian literature—and attended enough church—to realize this is a common way of ending these novels. And I know my perceptions are colored by my less-than-ideal experience with religion and its practitioners. I guess I was just enjoying the book so much I forgot that the ending might contain a heavy-handed reference to requesting forgiveness for a (perceived) sin.

That said…

Despite my theological quibbles, I really enjoyed The Dog That Talked to God. Watching Mary bloom was wonderful — she’s a warm, nice person I really wanted to see be happy. I guess Rufus and I had the same wish.

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2 comments

  1. Jenny says:

    I’m a religious person but I too get irritated with it being shoved in my face in book form. I do like the pet aspect of the book though.

    • amypeveto says:

      I’m wary of religion, and perhaps over-sensitive to it. It could be that the end is not heavy-handed, but it felt like it to me. The reviews on Goodreads range pretty widely, so it’s hard to get a good idea of a consensus. One reviewer said the ending felt “rushed,” a sentiment with which I agree 100%.

      Rufus was definitely my favorite character. He spoke the way I wish Christians and pastors would speak, clearly indicating that he doesn’t have all the answers, and can’t even begin to understand everything God is and wants.

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