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Looking for a heartwarming frolic through the life of a dog? John Grogan new bestselling book Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog delivers. This story of a young family making their way through life with the help of a neurotic dog will have you laughing out loud one moment, and then wiping a tear the next.
Maybe your thinking “I don’t like dogs… why would I want to read an entire book about one?” Let me confide with you: that is exactly what I thought when I picked Marley & Me off the shelf. I have never owned a dog, and don’t especially like my neighbor’s dog. I have no plans to ever own a pet dog… this book definitely served to solidify my determination never to own “man’s best friend”.
However, whether or not you are a “dog person”, there is still an awful lot to gain and enjoy while reading this book. The memories are so personal and heart-felt, at times you can completely forget Marley has anything to do with the book. But then he comes barreling back in the next paragraph, bringing humorous antics with every step.
The book starts with a young couple, John and Jenny, newly weds in Palm Beach, looking for some new challenge in life. They were deeply in love, with a great house, great careers, and not a care in the world. That lasts about 2 pages… that is until they bring Marley home. Little did they know that their lives would never be the same again.
As a ninety-seven pound Labrador retriever with more energy that an Alaskan oil rig, Marley’s entry into John and Jenny’s life is a whirlwind of disaster. Crashing through screen doors, destroying carpets, gouging drywall, eating jewelry are all in a day’s work for the pup. Yet through it all, the book points out the unconditional love Marley has for his family, and they have for him. Just as his ruinous powers appear endless, his love and loyalty know no bounds.
In this book John Grogan takes us along to some of Marley’s craziest adventures. The story of Marley being thrown out of obedience school is hilarious, mostly because of the hard nosed dog trainer who eventually has her pride fed to her by Marley in a silver doggy bowl. When Marley is cast in a local film production as the “typical family dog”, we all cringe at what damage this dog can do. Sure enough, after a full day of filming a 15 second clip, the only thing Marley has accomplished is destroying the set and chewing through his leash.
One of the most memorable stories is that of the Grogan family going out on the town for a family dinner. With Marley in toe, they decide the Florida weather justifies eating outside on the patio of a ritzy restaurant. Marley is secured to the cast iron dining table, and drinks are served. However, when Marley spots another dog strutting down the road, he charges after, dragging the metal table with him, and clearing a wake several yards across. Needless to say, the family didn’t take Marley out on too many family dinners there after.
A big part of Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog actually has very little to do with the big animal. The book reads like a well written journal, describing the new couples excitement over their first pregnancy, and heartbreak over the subsequent miscarriage. John overcomes deep-rooted family concerns, while Jenny copes with serious depression. While the book is primarily a comical, laugh-a-minute adventure, it is definitely not without its sober moments. However, these honest and intent pages give Marley & Me the sole it needs to rise above other light-hearted tales.
Overall, Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog is an excellent book that can be enjoyed by all sorts of people (even cat lovers). The stories are funny and meaningful, the drama is heartwarming and sincere, and the dog is a complete mess. In the end, Marley reminds us all that life should be lived to its fullest, that we should love people unconditionally, and that shredded upholstery is a small price to pay for a life-long friend.
By Jeff Beck