Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog

BarryThe Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry


I like Dave Barry’s fiction.  To be honest, I was surprised at how much I like it.  I expected the novels to be a bit clunky, since he is primarily a writer of nonfiction, but I liked how he made the zany and the dangerous work side-by-side.  This was long before I read anything by Carl Hiaasen, so I didn’t realize that there was already something like that out there to read.

The Shepherd… is a nice diversion, but it’s not the greatest book I’ve ever read.  It’s short, and sweet, and captures a little bit of the sense of Christmas, along with the wacky humor that Barry’s known for.  But, ultimately, it’s not a great story.  There are some aspects of the story that seem forced, and, even granting that the book is less than 150 pages long (with illustrations), there’s not much to the story at all.

The story is about Doug Barnes, a 13 year-old boy who’s trying to win the girl of his dreams while playing a part in the local Christmas pageant.  He wants to play Joseph, because Judy Flanders is playing Mary, but instead that part goes to the new, popular boy in the school.  He also has an ailing dog, who has been a part of the family longer than Doug has.  There’s a lot of potential here, but it seems forced and rushed, and there are too many plot points that just seem to resolve themselves.  I hate to sound cynical about a book about Christmas, but it seems that this was rushed to publication in order to make some money off of the season.

I don’t think this will become a classic like A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life, but it’s very much a Dave Barry story, and the antics of the Wise Men alone is worth the time to read the book.  It’s probably worth reading if you like Barry’s sense of humor, but don’t expect it to be the next Christmas Carol, either.


December 28, 2006 - Posted by | Adult Fiction, Reviews

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