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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Marley & Me: Life And Love With The World's Worst Dog » User review

Marley & Me: A Memoir

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

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I still hate dogs... but my fiance's dog has a reprieve

  • Oct 5, 2010
Rating:
+5
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. During my first marriage, my wife at the time would bring home dog after dog and I would sell dog after dog, it was a constant battle that never made any sense to me. She was able to forgive any stupid thing that the dog did, I just saw every little mistake as an intrusion on my life and a huge inconvenience.

Of course, it always seemed as if even though I was told that I wouldn't be the one cleaning up after the dog, I always was. I was told I wouldn't have to chase the dog down when she got loose, I always did. And I was told that I wouldn't have to feed her, touch her, groom her, talk to her, or look at her, I always found that this was my duty for getting married to a woman so obsessed with dogs.

I remember coming home from work and the dog being so excited to see me. I of course would always find new ways to ignore it. However, no matter how hard I would try, she would always nudge at me for attention. So, in order to not smell like dog, I would do like any other dog hater, put on a glove, and proceeded to scratch her. This of course only encouraged her and she became more needy than ever. After the dog finally ran away for the last time, I didn't chase after her and since my wife wasn't home, I had no one forcing me to look for her. It was raining, so I figured she would come back, she never did. If my wife had been in town, we would have scoured town for her, but she wasn't, so I didn't care to look for her. Finally, I was free of her... and of course, I had to pay the price by having a truly emotional wife nagging at me and moaning about how insensitive I was for not even attempting to find her. I should have just told her the dog was dead.

My new fiance is quite similar in her regard for dogs, especially her dog, who she treats as if it is her best friend. The dog doesn't currently live with us, but since we are planning to move to Florida, and have a bigger yard, he will undoubtedly be coming along with us. In order to help me to better understand the love someone has for their dog, my fiance had me read Marley & Me: Life and Love with the world's worst dog. This of course didn't sound like a title that was going to convince me to like her dog... but I agreed to read it anyway. And every night while running on the treadmill, I began to read the book.

About the Book
Essentially the book is about the author, John Grogan, his family, and their life with their Labrador, Marley. The book takes place from the very beginning of the family and their life with Marley, starting out as a newlywed couple in West Palm Beach. Just like any other puppy, the author describes how he was quite affectionate and grew into a naughty, beastly, hyperactive dog.

In a humorous manner, the author describes how the family dealt with the dog on a regular basis. He describes the time that the dog went to obedience school but misbehaved so badly that he was actually kicked out of the school for making the dominitrix instructor look bad. What started out by the couple as a means of learning how to be parents, became a project pet that they spent a lot of time and effort on, without a whole lot of results.

When John's wife gets pregnant, she begins talking about getting rid of Marley out of fear that he is just too crazy to have around the new baby. However, no matter how hard she tries to get rid of him, she gives in and ultimately keeps the dog. During the pregnancy, John's wife eventually has a miscarriage, which is incredibly difficult for everyone. Throughout all of it, they began to realize just how important Marley was to them. No matter how upset they were, Marley was always there to give them a good 'paw' for comfort and was ready to cheer them up at any time, day or night. They really began to understand the importance of having him around and just how big of a part of the family he had become.

When John and his wife are finally able to have a child, they are still nervous about how Marley will react, but are delighted when they realize that Marley is in love with the new baby and is more than gentle with the fragile little one.

Over time Marley does good and then he causes more trouble. Whenever he seems to redeem himself for good, he does something else that Jenny (the wife) is annoyed by and again she wants him gone. Such was the case shortly after the birth of their second child, when they came home and found that Marley had destroyed their house. He did so much damage, that even after having him for such a long time, Jenny wanted him gone, and she kept stressing strongly how John needed to get rid of him. However, by this point in time John was so attached to the dog, that he was willing to do whatever it took to keep the dog. They had bonded and now Marley was just as much part of the family to him as anyone else. Eventually after much convincing, Jenny calmed down and allowed Marley to stay.

Throughout the book Marley does quite a few things, including starring in a short movie role, which no one really believed that he would be able to handle except for John. However, eventually he nailed the part and the movie was released, straight to video.

Essentially the book is a story of how a family learns to accept a dog into their lives and how big of a role that animal plays in their overall function as a family. Marley became more like another member of the family and they began to function around him as if he were one of them. They brought him with them through several moves, he had been there after the births of all three of their children, and he had been affectionate and watched them grow up. Over the years Marley earned his spot in the home and settled down into an aging, but lovable dog. Eventually, Marley died, but the family never truly forgot about him, especially John, who loved that dog as much as any family member.

My thoughts
While after reading the book, I still hate dogs, it's truly incredible to see the amount of time and dedication was spent on a dog that really wasn't any better than any other dog. This family, especially John really opened up to a mediocre dog and really made him into a member of the family, regardless of how badly Jenny wanted to get rid of him at times.

I myself realize now that there is no way that my fiance is ever going to get rid of her dog and it's probably likely that I will eventually accept her dog as part of the family, regardless of how much he annoys me. I guess sometimes you have something around you for long enough, you really begin to feel differently about them as they begin to grow on you. The same is true about my ex wife. Since we have a child together, we have to spend time around each other, and no matter how much pain she caused me during our marriage, I have grown to appreciate her and enjoy her company. I guess the same can be said about a dog. Regardless of how much the dog might annoy me, how much time the dog may take out of my life, and how inconvenient the dog may be, I may eventually grow to love the dog, and who potentially even want one of my own in the future. While this reality scares me, I relate to Jenny, and I think this could be highly possible in the future, whether I really want to admit to it or not.

As a book, it is heartwarming and funny at the same time. The book itself is a great read, regardless of whether you like dogs or not, own one, or don't. John Grogan does a great job of really making you a part of the stories, and entertaining you through story after story of the bad things the dog has done and then turning around and making you think as he talks about the times when the dog was the most supportive one around him and the only one that he could talk to, knowing that they were listening.

I guess, it's a great book, regardless of whether or not it changed my opinion on dogs in general. I suggest that anyone that loves dogs definitely take a look at it, and those that don't like dogs... well, I'm sure you still won't like them, but maybe you'll begin to understand the thoughts of those that own dogs and why they love their dogs so much.

Recommended:
Yes

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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 …
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" =)
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
i'm biased because he grew up in the same neighborhood and time period as my mom, so it was really interesting to read about their similar childhoods!
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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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Tags

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

Details

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
Polls with this book
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