Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Books I'm Reading 18) Marley & Me by John Grogan

I will admit that I nearly got dragged to see the moive that came about because of this book and thankfully managed to avoid it.

The book itself starts out slow and unengaging. Even as someone who grew up with dogs and around dogs the story wasn't one which initially captured me very well. Don't get me wrong, the stories were touching and funny and referring to the basic obedience trainer as "Ms. Dominatrix" was pretty damn hilarious. But it wasn't a story I would have paid much attention to until near the end when Grogan and his family (I should not the story itself is a true story) move to Pennsylvania. At that point the dog is getting older and it begins to became apparant to the family that the dog is getting up there in years. At that point the lessons that you read beneath the story itself begin to be drawn out explicitly by the author. And when you get to the ending itself, after Marley is buried and gone, where Mr. Grogan recalls an enlightening trip to Shanksville, Pennsylvania on the second anniveersary of 9/11 and comes to his revolutions about the lessons he's learned, I will admit that I was biting my lip and holding back some laughter and tears.

I'm not a professional writer or a journalist of any sort so I shouldn't be critical here. And in truth the writing wasn't bad. It was just a little slow for my taste. It was written as a memoir should be. A witty and insightful telling of the backstory of an importnat person (which is somehow, how I view this dog now, much like my own pets of past) with a few larger lessons revealed in due course.

I should also menion that I'm pretty sure that despite the family John Grogan may be a little gay. Or at least bi-curious. I mean really, gardening? Living for so many years in South Florida? Either that or it was ghost written by a retired Jewish lady. But it was good book and one worth the time. I'm almost, but not quite, curious about the moive now as well. Curious to see how someone would have morped this into a large budget screenplay and curious to know how they would have gotten a manic dog well enough trained to do some of the things that Mr. Grogan describes. I will now have to train any future pets...perhaps even fish, to respond approriately to the command "incoming!"


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