I found the book Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by chance. During a break between classes (I was at uni back then) I was browsing through the library section of a department store and there it was: a yellow lab in the cover, looking cute and staring at me. I read the blurb on the back and it just stole my heart.
Thirteen years later, I guess that most of you are probably familiar with either the book or the film (starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston), but if you aren’t, read on.
Marley & Me is an autobiographical novel by John Grogan. In it he narrates how, as newlyweds, his wife and him decide to add a lab into their lives. They name him Marley, after the singer Bob Marley.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) for them, Marley turns out to be quite a wild dog. He needs a lot of exercise, he destroys furniture and is terribly afraid of thunderstorms. However, he is also caring, loving and can be a really good dog.
Although the title implies that the book revolves around Marley, in reality it goes much further than that. It’s an autobiography about the personal growth of John and Jenny (John’s wife) and their creation of a family. In fact, it’s a book about the ordinary lives of two people who added a dog to their family, and how they evolved through the years.
This is a book where you don’t want to anxiously reach the end to find out how it all ends, such as you would in a murder mystery, but rather a book meant to be enjoyed as you read it. It’s the journey that matters, not the end.
I really enjoyed and loved reading Marley & Me. John Grogan writes well, in what I found was an easy and fast-paced way. The way he portrays Marley’s shenanigans makes you laugh really hard as you read about them. I should also mention, though, that the book (minor spoiler) covers all of Marley’s life, including his death. Therefore, the last part of the autobiography was particularly hard to read, as Marley struggles with his health issues.
Despite this last part, I can heartily recommend it to any dog lovers or anyone who is willing to start a family, even if they don’t particularly like dogs. In fact, I loved the book so much, that I bought copies for various members of my family (both dog and non-dog lovers), and all of them liked it.
Due to the huge success of Marley & Me, apart from the film, other books were published, this time for children. The most popular ones are:
- Marley, a Dog Like No Other, for children aged 8 to 12. I haven’t read it, but from its reviews it seems to be a toned-down version of the autobiography. Most Amazon reviewers really liked it.
- Bad Dog, Marley!, for ages 4 to 8. This one is based on Marley’s personality but unlike the original and the book for older children it’s not based on the Grogan’s lives.
- A Very Marley Christmas, for ages 4 to 8. Like the previous book, it’s based on Marley’s personality and all the mishaps that take place as Christmas approaches.
- I Can Read series. There are plethora of books in this series, most of all at Level 2, all about Marley’s (fictitious) adventures.
Credits: All images in this post are the property of Harper Collins and have been obtained from their website.