Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book Review: 'Marley & Me' by John Grogan

✰✰✰✰✰ When you are young and in love, everything seems like a new adventure. So when newlyweds John and Jenny Grogan moved to Florida to begin their life together everything was going as planned. Then came Marley, a cute, cuddly, and wiggly puppy full of boundless energy. This rambunctious pup soon grew up to be nearly one hundred pounds. Obedience school was a joke, and there was just no stopping the antics Marley would get into.

Although he stirred up plenty of trouble, Marley’s heart was in the right place. He was a loyal and faithful companion even during the young couple’s most challenging times. Is it possible for a mere dog to teach humans a lesson or two about life? Check out this book to discover the joys and trials of being a pet owner.

The Bottom Line: This quick read made me laugh and cry over and over again. Marley reminded me so much of the dogs that have been a part of my life over the years. Reading about Marley's bond with John and Jenny will make you look at your own pet with new eyes. Author John Grogan is a gifted storyteller. This humorous and touching story is very enthusiastically recommended for teens and adults who enjoy books about animals, humor, and memoirs.

Book Club Notes: Although this title was and still is a popular one, none of the book club members had read it before. We were surprised by how much this story touched our hearts. We laughed. We cried. Sometimes we laughed and cried at the same time. This book gave us the opportunity to talk about our own pets and the lessons they provide. We also discussed the relationship between John and Jenny, as well as their relationship with Marley individually, as a couple, and as a family.

Our group has some very discerning readers, and all were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed this book. On a rating scale from 1 – 5, with 5 being the highest, we gave the book an overall rating of 5+. Wow! Out of all the discussions I have hosted over the years, that’s the highest rating ever. The movie, on the other hand, received a rating of 4. The group simply felt that the book provided more depth on sensitive and intimate moments than the film.

Grogan’s writing style combines humor and sensitivity to make this book a winner. Both John and Jenny were amazingly open with their story. This was one of the most animated discussions I have ever had the pleasure of hosting. It left the participants feeling positive about both human beings and animals. Pet lovers of all ages will relate to this memoir. Highly recommended for book clubs or film clubs.

Discussion questions and reading guides are available at Heartland Film and LitLoversAlso, check out scenes of Marley (as himself) in the film, The Last Home Run.

Details: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan. Hardcover published by William Morrow in 2005. 291 P. ISBN: 978-0-06-081708-4 

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