Newest Review: ... full of character. His outgoing nature some times gets him into trouble, but he is impossibly hard to stay mad at. Some of the tales of h... more
The life and times with a delinquent dog
Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog - John Grogan
Member Name: catsholiday
Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog - John Grogan
Advantages: A great read, warm and funny
Disadvantages: None really
Marley and Me : Life and love with world's worst dog by John Grogan
I picked this up as I was taken by the lovely photo of Marley on the front cover. He looked so innocent and happy and I had enjoyed a couple of animal stories in the last year or so so thought I'd give this a go. I actually bought this from Tesco in their three for £5 section so although i did pay for it , it wasn't a lot of money if I hated it.
This is not a new book, it was published in the USA originally in 2005 and in paperback over in the UK in 2007. Amazingly four million copies have been sold, that isn't counting all those which have been borrowed from libraries and passed onto others. It was a Sunday times bestseller and has received praise from many worthy literary critics.
The book is based around Marley and how he became part of the Grogan family but it also is the story of this family, their happy times and their sad times. It is told in a very easy style and with humour that is not at all forced. You almost feel as though the author is just telling you anecdotes in his sitting room. By the end of the book you do begin to feel like you almost know both John and Jenny and to alesser extent their three children which is probably deliberate on the author's part.
The hero of the book though is Marley. Even though the subtitle of the book is" Life and love with world's worst dog " and he really does get up to some fairly awful things, throughout the book we can also feel the warmth and love this man felt for this very large over energised seemingly brainless hound.
This is the sort of book that as you read you find yourself chuckling out loud so it is best not to read it in public as you might well get funny looks. It isn't laugh out loud funny throughout, in fact we share a pretty intense time with the couple after the birth of one of their children when Jenny hits rock bottom and wants Marley out of the house as his antics are just too much to take. She is suffering from post natal depression and really struggling to cope with the babies never mind a loony dog hell bent on destroying the house.
The author is a newspaper columnist and his style of writing is very much that style, easy, witty and able to describe situations in a way that makes you smile. I did laugh at the description of the obedience class that Marley was eventually expelled from attending. The instructor took over to show how to do it and marley was just as awful ending up pulling her so hard that she had to break into a run to keep up. After this she told them not to come back and Marley as if to show what he thought: "As if on cue, lifted his leg and let loose a raging stream of urine, missing his beloved instructor's foot by mere centimetres."
Marley was afraid of storms and as they lived in Florida they had a few. If left alone during the lead up to a storm the couple would come back to a scene that looked like a murder had taken place as he had tried to dig his way through walls or the floor , his paws torn and nose bleeding all over the mayhem he had created. They had to get tranquilisers to help but even they were not really the perfect answer so they had to be prepared to rush back quickly if they heard or saw a storm approaching to prevent total house destruction and horrible injuries to Marley.
Marley stared in a film in which he played himself and performed antics that were naturally him as any chance of him performing to instruction was impossible. He visited a special dog beach and disgraced himself by drinking so much sea water while he enjoyed himself that he was sick in the sea much to the disgust of all the other dog owners.
He dragged an entire table across the road when he saw another dog and his lead was tied to the table where the family were seated. The stories go on and every time I could just picture the scene and felt their embarrassment as we had a bearded collie who used to embarrass us by her behaviour especially if we had guests. She ate all the smoked salmon starters I had prepared in the kitchen and then sicked them up in front of the guests, luckily we were outside at the time! We made some more and ate the main meal I then went to collect the desert and found her with her head in the trifle. She never got up on the table before!! Needless to say we didn't have trifle for our dessert.
The family moved from Florida to Pennsylvania in the countryside and Marley thought he was in heaven with rabbits to chase and new smells to explore. Towards the end when Marley was an elderly dog and began to suffer from all kinds of problems the author's deep affection for this ancient troublesome friend comes through. We feel his sadness and I admit tears came to my eyes in the end.
After Marley died (sorry if you think that is a spoiler but it is pretty well documented) Grogan wrote in his paper about Marley and the next day he had over 800 emails into his box. These messages kept coming from sympathisers, people sharing their dog stories and so on. His column really struck a chord with the readers and this is what inspired the book.
I loved this description of Marley; "Yes he was an attention-deficit, hyperactive, nutty dog, but he had a pure heart and an incredible gift for canine-human empathy." He also says that Marley taught him a lot about successful relationships and people could do worse than learn some lessons from their dogs. "Many of the qualities that come so effortlessly to dogs - loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love - can be elusive to humans."
This is a happy and sad, honest open heart warming, easy to read account of a family and their hopes, fears and struggles to be a family and cope with a dog with 'special needs'. I defy anyone to read this and not feel the warmth and humour and shed a tear towards the end.
If you are not a dog lover this may not appeal but having said that it is a story of love and relationships told with great humour. It is a story about life and its ups and downs so really I don't think you have to be a dog lover to enjoy it but I may be wrong. I would certainly recommend this book as it is a great story beautifully honestly and humorously shared.
This was shortlisted for the amazon.co.uk Biography of the year in the British book awards in 2007. There has been a movie made starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson which was released in the Uk in 2009. My husband said it was poor but I missed it, I think he watched it on a plane journey.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
Summary: A lovely heartwarming story
More reviews in the field of Biography
- Witnesses to War: Eight True-Life Stories of Nazi Persecution - Michael Leapman
- Anne's Song - Anne Nolan
- Upfront and Personal: The Autobiography - Coleen Nolan
- Lorraine: Between You and Me - Lorraine Kelly
- Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper - Art Pepper
- Twin Ambitions: My Autobiography - Mo Farah
- Where Mercy is Shown, Mercy is Given: Star of Dog the Bounty Hunter - Duane Chap ...
- Total Recall My Unbelievably True Life Story - Arnold Schwarzenegger
- The Plantagenets - Dan Jones
- Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney - Piers Morgan