Title: Marley & Me
Author: John Grogan
Page Count/Review Word Count: 372
A few of my friends seemed surprised when I started reading this, but I’m not really sure why. True, the movie (starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson) has a reputation as something of a chick-flick, but I just saw it as a bestselling piece of non-fiction, and it’s certainly true that as you read through it, it just reads like a well-written memoir.
A memoir about a dog called Marley of course, but still a memoir. In fact, Grogan also talks about his family life, including the birth of his kids and the trials and tribulations that he and his wife experience along the way. In the postscript to the book, he explains that the two are interlinked – you can’t tell the story of Marley the dog without telling the story of the Grogan family, and you can’t tell the story of the Grogan family without telling the story of Marley the dog.
Of course, the book comes with the obligatory photos that you often see in a non-fiction book like this, and they work well because they help you to imagine what Marley looks like. And it’s not that Grogan does a bad job of depicting him throughout the book – it’s just that he’s even better at showing Marley’s personality, and so it’s easier to focus on reading about that while looking at the photos to get a well-rounded view of the beloved family pet.
Grogan is a journalist by trade, which means that he has plenty of practice at stringing words together to tell an evocative story. In fact, the book itself came about after he wrote a column about Marley’s death for the paper that he worked at and received a phenomenal response from the general public, who responded with their own stories about their beloved family pets.
And that’s the thing about this book. If you love animals – and dogs in particular – then you’re going to find something in the story for you to relate to. I don’t have a dog, but I’d love to have one, one day – just maybe one that’s a little bit smaller than Marley.