"Marley & Me". How exactly can you sum up "Marley & Me"? It's a daunting task, as this book made me laugh, made me cringe, made me cry. This book was truly about "life and love with the world's worst dog" (the sub-title).
This book follows the life of Marley, a Labrador Retriever, and his owners, John and Jenny Grogan. John and Jenny decide early in their marriage that they want to add a dog to their brand new family. They both grew up with well-behaved, loving dogs as part of their families and they figure that they would like to have their future children grown up with one as well. Plus, they live in a sketchy area of Florida and wouldn't mind the extra protection. They answer an ad in the paper by a woman selling puppies. She's just breeding them for the love of the breed, which John and Jenny approve of, so they drive out to her farm just to take a look at the litter. There they find Marley, who's not even "Marley" yet, just begging to come home with them. They make the mistake of not meeting Marley's dad, although his mom is docile and gentle. Unfortunately for the Grogan's, Marley takes after his dad. John and Jenny get Marley home and soon find out that he is no ordinary dog. He's terrified of thunder storms, eats like a horse, strains on his leash, and flunks out of obedience school. Regardless of all of this, they love him, and by the time they find out that he is a "bad" dog they are beyond the point of return and he is now part of the family.
What follows is the story of the Grogans, and of Marley, as they add three beautiful children to their family, change jobs, and move several times. We as the reader are greatly entertained by the energentic Marley's antics, yet we can clearly tell that above all he is a loyal, loving dog. This book is funny (be sure to read the part of the book when the Grogan's try outdoor dining- I laughed until I cried), it's heartwarming, and it's heartbreaking. Be warned: have an entire box of tissues ready for the last chapters- you'll need them. I loved the story of Marley the bad dog, and had to laugh as I compared the Grogan's experiences to my own with my very own "bad dog".
This is going to make one heck of a movie. I'm sure that most people have already seen it, and hopefully loved it (who can't help but love a movie with a cute dog, Owen Wilson, and Jennifer Aniston?) but I rarely have the chance to see a movie in the theatres so I'll have to wait until it comes out on Blu Ray. You can browse inside this book on HarperCollins' website here.
Up Next: I'm several chapters into Christopher Moore's "Fool" and am absolutely loving it. Some people who have read it so far have loved it, some have hated it, but I'm definitely in the former group. Now if only I had less housework and more time to read...