BOOK REVIEW: Marley & Me: Life & Love With the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan

Posted 5 March, 2012 by Kristilyn in Animals, Memoir-Biography, Pets / 0 Comments

Released: October 6, 2005 (William Morrow)
Source: Purchased

Challenge: Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012
Buy Now From: Amazon

The heartwarming and unforgettable story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life.

My Thoughts

With three dogs in my house, and the attempted breeding of one of them, it’s no wonder that I love dogs. I love how they get so excited to see me when I’m gone for only a few minutes, or how they cuddle like life-size hot water bottles with me on a cold day. I saw life-size because their sizes range from 40-80 pounds. They’re not small dogs, but regardless of their size, I’ve loved them all since day one.

I first saw the movie for Marley & Me and really enjoyed it. When I saw the book at a library sale, I knew I should snatch it up because if it was anything like the movie, it was bound to be awesome. The movie and the book are both quite similar. It’s the story of a couple just having gotten married and getting a dog. Naturally, they fall for looks rather than researching their option and end up with Marley.

According to the movie, Marley is an absolute terror, but he really doesn’t come across as one in the book. At least not so much. I hate to compare the two, but I really liked how the movie was based on newspaper articles written by Grogan, but that really doesn’t happen in the book. In fact, the book comes across just as I said earlier, a couple who poorly researches a dog, gets one based on looks alone and has no idea what they got themselves into.

Being a dog owner, I know what it takes to yield a good dog. In fact, my husband and I researched our first dog so much and had to wait a year to get her because we wanted one from a specific breeder because they seemed like the best. They were wonderful and we met the mother and the father of the litter, got to know them before the litter was even born. After spending that long with the breed, we were more than certain when our litter was up.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the novel, suffice to say. We spent time training all of our dogs and while they’re not perfect, they are excellent listeners when it counts. Sure, they still jump on people when they’re really excited (usually just family, and it’s only one dog who does it), but they don’t jump onto the counter, they don’t make a lot of noise, they don’t make huge messes or cause a lot of mayhem, all because we took the time to make them respect us.

There were so many moments in the book that I just didn’t understand, parts that made me shake my head wondering how the author could publish them. If you’ve seen the movie, you would have seen the part where Marley gets out the window of the car on the freeway — what kind of people would even let their dog get close to that point? Our windows are opened a crack for the dog, not even big enough to get their head out — enough room for them to get air, but not enough to hurt them. There’s another instant that happens towards the end of Marley’s life that I just couldn’t understand. I’ll just say this — if the time comes and one of my dogs is sick, I am NOT leaving its side.

Anyway, I felt like the book fell short. It had some cute and heartwarming moments throughout, but if you hope to read something similar to the movie, then you’re not going to get it. Yes, the book is sad, and yes, Marley can be quite a handful, but if you’re looking for a can’t-put-it-down dog book, there are better books out there.

Read More of My John Grogan Reviews

© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


About Kristilyn

Kristilyn is a Canadian book blogger, music listener & creator, proud mama, and general lover of life. Her necessities include fuzzy socks, a library full of good books, a fully charged Kindle, copious amounts of tea, and chocolate. Swoon-worthy book boys are also welcome.


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