My Review: The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

I'm slowly working on my Reading Challenge...
here's my latest accomplishment:

The Christmas Dog
by Melody Carlson

Christian Fiction/Contemporary

Revell Publishing
Pages: 172
ISBN: 9780800718817

(from Amazon):

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. There's church, of course. But who can she bake for these days? And who would care whether or not she pulled out the Christmas decorations? Her new neighbor just adds to the problem. He's doing home improvements that don't appear to be improving much of anything. These days when Betty looks out the window, she sees a beat-up truck, a pile of junk, lots of blue tarps, and--horror of horrors--an old pink toilet. But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn a very important lesson about what Christmas is all about. This contemporary Christmas story is a timely yet gentle reminder that God can work miracles through something as seemingly insignificant as a little brown dog.

A little before seven on Monday morning, Betty woke to the sound of someone trying to break into her house. At least that was what it sounded like to her. . . . It was that scruffy dog again. Jack Jones's mongrel. The dog crouched down, whimpering, and despite Betty's bitter feelings toward her neighbor, she felt a tinge of pity for the poor, dirty animal. And Betty didn't even like dogs. "Go home, you foolish thing," she said. "Go bother your owner." The dog just whined. Betty knelt down with the screen still between her and the dog. "Go home," she said again. "Shoo!" But the dog didn't budge. And now Betty didn't know what to do.

My thoughts:

This was only my second Christmas story for 2009...I'm so far behind! I've usually read at least a handful by now. I like to start in November, but I have been busier than usual this holiday season.

At first I didn't think I was going to enjoy The Christmas Dog; it just didn't grab my attention at the beginning. I had to "force" myself to keep reading, but I eventually got into the story. However, even though it carries a really touching message, the story seemed really rushed and sporadic to me. I would have loved to spend more time with Betty, Avery, Ralph, and Jack. When the book was drawing to a close, I felt like I had just started to truly get to know them. In my opinion, this could have been an excellent story if it had only been longer.

On the other hand, I think Melody's message of finding out what Christmas is truly about is easily seen throughout the book. Betty quickly learns that it's not such a great idea to judge her new neighbor by his attitude or actions. It takes her granddaughter Avery's compassionate heart to get her to see Jack in a completely different light. Needless to say, my favorite character in The Christmas Dog was Ralph...the "star" himself. He is what kept me reading to the end; I wanted to see what he would be up to next.

If you're looking for a quick, heart-warming read, you really should pick up your own copy of The Christmas Dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, or her other books, please visit her at: Her website

** I received my review copy of The Christmas Dog, compliments of Revell **


Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

What a great review! I liked this book too...and that's saying a lot because I'm not the biggest fan of novellas! Thank you for posting another review that I know will be helpful to so many readers!

xoxo~ Renee

Angie said...

Great review..this book is on my wish list..the dog on the cover is too cute! :)

hmsgofita said...

Great review! This one looks really cute. Since I'm all new to blog reading challenges this year I really didn't plan my reading accordingly so I only have two or three on my list to read this christmas season and I have them all read but one! But next year....

Jenn said...

I have heard good things about this book, so I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I like the balanced review you gave. Thanks!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Renee ~ I'm glad you like this book...your review was great!

Angie ~ I hope you get a chance to read this book...you will enjoy it.

Heather ~ This is my first ever reading challenge, and I chose waaaayyyy too many books! LOL I forgot that I have a couple of review books (not Christmas) that need to be read as well. If I read half of them on my list...I'll be happy. Good Luck next year! *wink*

Jenn ~ Hi! Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoyed my review...I'm never sure how they will be received. :)

Have a Merry Christmas, ladies!
~ Lori