Book Review – The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

First off, I am not a Christian; I am just a dog lover. That is the reason I wanted to read The Dog Who Was There. The book follows Barley and his life. (Do not compare Barley to Marley as they are completely different in all ways but for their love of their humans, this love is unconditional.)

The Dog Who Was There is about Barley who happens to live during the time of Jesus Christ and witnesses his crucifixion.  We are taken through the life of a dog from his puppyhood through all the adventures he goes through as he ages.

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Given the language of the book, I guess the author wanted everyone to read it, even children. It is very simply written and is a rather short read. Somehow reading things from a dog’s perspective is a change. As Barley moves from one stage of life to another, different people enter his life. And these characters could have been a bit better crafted. The author has definitely managed to convey the conflicts that happen in the human mind as we encounter life’s various hurdles.

Overall I enjoyed The Dog Who Was There, primarily because it was about a dog, and then because it was a short read. The book may not be for everyone. It does belong to the genre of biblical fiction and those who don’t like dogs really won’t appreciate it.

A complimentary copy of Child of the River was provided by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.

The Dog Who Was ThereThe Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews


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.

About the Author

Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an “Outstanding Book of 2008.” For the past five years he has taught a very popular course on the subject of grief using film, theatre, literature and oral history as a way to study this often intimidating subject. He has acted extensively on TV―in everything from Lost to West Wing to Entourage -and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie Illusion, for which he also wrote the screenplay. He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA. Brian Shuff is a writer from Mesa, Arizona, who now lives in Los Angeles where he is at work completing a book of short stories. His mother died when he was eight years old, giving him a life-long interest in the subject of grief. Along with Ron Marasco he has written a screenplay based on Louise Hay’s groundbreaking book, You Can Heal Your Life that will premiere in 2011. He and Marasco are also working on a dramatic adaptation of John McNulty’s book This Place on Third Avenue.


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