Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Dog, Melody Carlson.  Ada, Mich: Baker Publishing Group, 2009. eBook, 131 pps.

     Betty lives in a small town away from her children. Her husband has been dead. She is a faithful Christian and church attendee. Her newest neighbor, a young man by the name of Jack, is weird and she struggles to respond to him with love. Betty is troubled because the pastor has preached on loving thy neighbor and she is too afraid of Jack to do that. What if he is a serial killer or something? She is aware that sociopaths can possess a sort of slick, sick charm. But Jack is anything but charming. For one thing, he seems to be tearing apart the insides of his home and leaving the debris all over his lawn-- the house used to belong to Betty's two close friends but they are gone now. And to top it off, Jack has a rather bedraggled looking dog that has learned how to come into her yard via a hole in the fence. 

     The dog's name is Ralph (or Ralphie) and he keeps peeing on her dogwood tree. Betty is peeved that Jack would allow his mutt to run loose. Throughout the book, the mutt keeps running loose. Betty wants to report Jack to the local animal control authorities for neglecting the dog. 

     A [step-]granddaughter drops in just before Christmas. Avery is Betty's son's step-daughter. Although Avery is not her son's biological daughter, Avery and Betty have been close since they first met. Avery's mum is peeved that Avery is at Betty's house and not at her own house. She keeps telephoning and demanding that Avery come back in time for Christmas.

     And there is also a fiftieth wedding anniversary party of two friends. Betty is in charge of decorations. 

sapphoq reviews says: Melody Carlson is a prolific writer and her book The Christmas Dog reflects her talent. Being a book geared for Christian readership, there are bits of prayer and church-going in it as would be expected. 
     What I didn't expect what how several situations were resolved in the book. The Christmas Dog was not predictable and I like that. Highly recommended to Christian women (and safe for Christian teens).


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