Marley and Me by John Grogan

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

Title: Marley & Me
Author: John Grogan
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Humour, Memoirs
Dates read: 25th – 28th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hachette
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: Dr. Sherman had cleared her to try to get pregnant again.

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

John and Jenny were young and in love, without a care in the world. Then they brought Marley home and their lives changed forever.

Marley quickly grew into a 44-kilogram steamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around. Obedience school did no good – Marley was expelled. Nor did the tranquilisers the vet prescribed him.

Yet Marley’s heart was pure, and his love and loyalty were boundless. He shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. When the babies finally arrived, he was there too – winning hearts while making a mess of things.

Through it all he remained steadfast, a model of devotion even when his family was at its wits’ end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms. Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a larger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.


This novel never fails to make me cry. In fact, since this is the first time I’ve read it since I got a house and dogs of my own, the moment I turned the final page I went looking for my staffy, Onyx, for a big cuddle. And then didn’t let him leave me lap for a good half an hour before I stopped feeling so sad. We love our dogs so much, so the idea of them having shorter lifespans than we do… it’s not something that I like to think about.

I have two dogs, one of which is a beagle (and fellow beagle owners know the trials and difficulties that that can lead to…). Yet, Marley’s antics and insanity most definitely helped to put Lexi’s misbehaviours into perspective. Don’t get me wrong, if she weighed four times what she weighs now… then I think that the destruction and insanity that she would bring down on us would most certainly be comparable. It’s nice reading about another insane dog that doesn’t quite do what its told… it’s a reminder that I’m not alone and I’m not actually a bad dog trainer.

This whole novel is pretty much a love story. To Marley. It’s a great tale about man’s best friend, and a reminder that when we do finally have to say goodbye… they never leave us. Every word in this is lovingly crafted by a master hand. Lovingly and painstakingly telling the story of a dog that is most definitely insane and quite probably completely out of control.

Being my second time reading this, I can clearly and definitely say that its one of my favourite memoirs. In fact, this is the book that got me into memoirs and biographies in the first place. I just hope that one day I have the skill and talent to write something similarly touching and brilliant as an ode to my own dogs.

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Image source: Goodreads

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