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Marley & Me: A Memoir

a book by John Grogan - a humorous account of life with an atypical labrador retriever

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Marley: Member of the World's Worst Dog Club

  • Nov 14, 2007
  • by
Pros: Heartwarming and hilarious goodies

Cons: Be prepared to tear up - especially if you own an old dog yourself.

The Bottom Line: A cozy read no matter where you are. Just be ready for the end that has to come.

Even though Marley & Me came out a year or so ago, it wasn’t until recently that I noticed it, or at least Marley, was everywhere. As I work at a Barnes & Noble, it is likely that I never would have noticed it otherwise. I first spotted Marley in his artist-drawn form for the children’s book, Bad Dog Marley!. From there things snowballed. More books on the Pets shelf. Lovely hardcover bargain editions getting showcased. Then a week or so ago, at least 20 copies sitting on a table in the Pets section, getting a lot of airtime.

Being a dog lover, I was very curious about this book with an adorable Labrador sitting innocently on the front while the title proclaimed him “World’s Worst Dog.” I’ve heard horror stories about bad dogs and I wondered if Marley really did live up to them. That and I just decided to read the book. Haha.

Essentially, you get to read about the life of Marley as it relates to that of the author, John Grogan, and his family. It starts with the death of the plant and John’s new wife desiring to take care of a dog to prove to herself that she can actually take care of a child (after all, if she killed a plant, how can she be a fit mother, as she claims). From there Marley comes in and shows his neurosis, everything from acting like a horse galloping around the house to freaking out in a most destructive manner when a storm comes. You follow the family as they begin in Florida and end up in Pennsylvania (only 3 hours away from me!) and eventually the end everyone knows will be coming in this book.

It’s a lot of fun to read. Even someone else’s life, who may not be much different from yours in terms of every day occurrences, is very interesting. Add a little spice that is a wacky dog to the mix and it gets even better. There are plenty of giggle to laugh out loud moments. Marley as Clearance Dog when he was a puppy. The way Grogan describes Marley’s antics, such as when he has some foreign object in his mouth. You also get the “Awww” moments in life, like when a dog just knows that you’re sad and is there for you until you feel better. Then of course, the end – you’ll likely cry if you’ve gotten attached to Marley, used to have a dog of your own, or have a dog now (because we all know the inevitable thing that waits ahead due to a dog’s lifespan). I enjoyed this book a great deal and did indeed cry at the end, for both Marley and because my own dog is 13, and though she’s still surprisingly spunky at times, at others you can clearly see her age – a lot of which Grogan described that had me thinking, “Oh God, that sounds like my dog.”

In one way though, I found myself slightly disappointed. This is mostly due to my own fault and expectations I guess, but I felt like I wasn’t getting enough of Marley and his psychotic antics. There were a few times when Grogan would mention a past event at some length and I thought, “Why didn’t you just give that whole episode its own crazy chapter? After all, the title is Marley & Me.” Rather, at some times it felt more like a memoir for Grogan with a lot of Marley clowning added in. I guess I just wanted it to be the other way around; all about Marley with human actions added in. But again, that was probably my own fault to expect so much of Marley – after all, it is hard to make a book nothing but doggie wackiness while still having a coherent story that follows a timeline (as a string of incidents would end up being no more than, well, a string of incidents in short story form).

Grogan has a real knack for good description and you’ll have a good time reading this book, wrapping yourself up in the good times and the bad times the family goes through, and of course, all the crazy, drooling, barking, command-disobeying, playful, fun-loving, boundless ball of energy that is Marley.



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More Marley & Me: Life And Love Wit... reviews
review by . December 29, 2010
Marley and Me: Nonconformist or Menace, You Decide
    I bought a copy of John Grogan's Marley & Me in a CVS two years ago (this was, of course, before I started boycotting CVS, but that's a topic for another blog post) but didn't get around to reading it until this past Sunday. I read most of it in one sitting, starved for the luxury of curling up with the proverbial good book.         If you've been following this blog with any regularity, then you know that I don't like dogs. …
review by . January 10, 2010
Marley & Me: A Memoir
I simply had to have this book after watching the movie.  The novel is solidly written and while the movie sticks pretty much to the book, there's so much more detail of the life of John Grogan, his family, and good old Marley that you'll want to make sure and pick up both movie and book.   John Grogan was a reporter turned columnist in South Florida when he and his bride Jenny purchased an adorable little puppy and named him Marley, after Bob Marley.  Marley proved, while growing …
review by . June 22, 2010
John Grogan got it right. I have had dogs my entire life, and work as a volunteer at a dog shelter. There are so many amazing little moments we have with our dogs, and that is something that usually becomes a "you had to be there" moment.       But Mr. Grogan captures all the "you had to be there" moments in his book Marley and Me so accurately it felt like I was raising Marley, too.      I hesitated to read this book for a long time …
review by . October 05, 2010
Pros: excellent story, funny, entertaining      Cons: the book is about dogs and I definitely am not a fan of dogs      The Bottom Line: Very humorous book that shows how people can truly grow around an animal and begin to welcome that animal as a major part of their lives.      I'm not exactly sure when I first started hating dogs, but I'm assuming it was probably when I actually had to take care of one myself for the first time. …
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
If you love dogs you will love this book. It really is a good account of dog ownership.
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Movie was good, but I find the book very hard to get into. For some reason, I fall asleep every time I try to read it.
review by . July 07, 2010
Don't Miss This One!
Has anyone ever thought about what it would be like to live with the world's worst dog? By reading this book the reader may just start to be able to understand what it would feel like. I haven't read a book with so much great detail in a long time, and "Marley and Me" by Josh Grogan is just that kind of book. Josh Grogan, born in Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, is also the author of his own memoir, "The Longest Trip" Home, and has loved writing since he was young. As I …
Quick Tip by . July 05, 2010
If you love dogs, it's hard not to love this book.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
John Grogan cant train his dog so he writes a comical book about the dog's bad habits.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
one of the saddest books ive read in my entire life. the whole book the guys wife is picking on the dog, and she dislikes him for doing things that dogs do. they mess up your house, make a huge mess, and dont ever clean up after themselves. and the guy does everything in his power to keep the dog. then the ending, is one of the saddest things ive ever read/heard/seen in my entire life, the movie had a good depiction of how he felt. this book really shows "mans best friend" =)
About the reviewer
Nicole ()
Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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Product Description

The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.

John and Jenny were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy—and their life would never be the same. Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound steamroller of a Labrador retriever who crashed through screen doors, flung drool on guests, stole women's undergarments, devoured couches and fine jewelry, and was expelled from obedience school. Yet Marley's heart was pure, and he remained a steadfast model of love and devotion for a growing family through pregnancy, birth, heartbreak, and joy, right to the inevitable goodbye.

About the Author

John Grogan is the author of the #1 adult bestseller Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, which inspired the bestselling middle-grade memoir Marley: A Dog Like No Other. He is also the author of the #1 bestselling picture books Bad Dog, Marley! and A Very Marley Christmas. John lives with his wife and three children and their dogs, Gracie and Woodson, in the Pennsylvania countryside.

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Books, Cafe Libri, Nonfiction, Dogs, Memoirs, Essays, Labrador Retreivers, John Grogan


ISBN-10: 0061687200 (MM pbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780061687204 (MM. pbk.)
Author: John Grogan
Genre: Memoirs, Nonfiction
Publisher: Harper; Rep Mti edition
Date Published: October 28, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages , Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
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