Marley and Me by John Grogan


This book was on my “To Read” list for a while.  (It came out in 2005.)  It got bumped up to the top when I saw that a movie of the book was being made.  I wanted to make sure I’d read the book before seeing the film.  I knew I would like it, there were many recommendations from others to read it, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  My recommendation to others, however, is conditional: 

If you are an animal and pet lover I absolutely encourage you to read this book.  I can nearly guarantee that you will love it.

If you don’t really care for animals, or don’t enjoy living with pets (especially dogs) you should pass on this one.

If you are on the fence, thinking about possibly getting a dog, maybe don’t have a lot of experience owning a dog, I recommend that you avoid this book at all costs as it could severely and unfairly bias your decision.  (…I’m only half-joking.)

Marley & Me is John Grogan’s true account of “life and love with the world’s worst dog.”  Marley was a Labrador Retriever whose life was chronicled in humorous detail by the owner who loved him.  Marley was incredibly neurotic, spastic and slobbery but also exceedingly loyal and loving.  For people who have lived with troublesome dogs, there is a certain understanding (and sympathy!) that comes from reading about Marley’s antics.  Marley proved to be exceptional in that he possessed more than his fair share of bothersome canine personality traits, but he still managed to come through as a hero after Grogan’s loving testimonial.

In addition to the hilarious retellings of Marley’s shenanigans, the real joy of the book comes from the way Grogan shares the intertwining of Marley’s life with his own.  Marley is there when Grogan and his wife, Jenny, are living as newlyweds, when they have difficulty conceiving a child, then for the birth of each of their three children.  He witnesses family arguments, triumphs and life changes including career decisions and a cross-country move.  Through it all, Marley is there being Marley and being a part of the family.  Readers who love their pets will enjoy the book for its tender acknowledgment of all that animal family members give to those they love.

John Grogan is a pleasure to read.  More recently he wrote a book titled The Longest Trip Home which is a memoir of his childhood.  I have not read it yet, but if you enjoy(ed) Marley & Me, it might be worth checking out.  He has also written a couple of children’s books about Marley illustrated by Richard Cowdrey — Bad Dog, Marley! and A Very Marley Christmas.

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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