The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

Book Description:

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

My Review:

One of the reasons why I love reading historical fiction so much is that it brings history to life. It is one thing to memorize facts or to read descriptions of historical events, but another to imagine what it would be like to actually have been present when the event was happening. In Marasco’s book, readers get to experience Jesus’s crucifixion through the eyes of a dog. In many ways, it reminded me of Avi’s book, The Good Dog.

This is the best book I have read in a very long time. I always know when I am completely lost in a book because I say things out loud like, “Oh no!” or even gasp at times. I gave several audible reactions while I was reading this book, so much so that my family asked if I was ok.

One thing that this book made me realize/remember was the danger that merchants and travelers encountered while they were journeying along the roads around Jerusalem. We read the story of the Good Samaritan and other stories that demonstrate the presence of thieves, but this story clearly demonstrated that.

One might not think that there would be any surprises in this book, but I was so impressed with the twists that Marasco included. I had no idea what was coming next. If you enjoy historical fiction, especially with a different and unusual perspective, this book is a must, must, must read!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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