i bought MARLEY & ME off the internet, and the only reason i even thought about buying it was because of work. i’ve never been much of a dog lover, though we’ve always had a pet dog for as long as i can remember. i felt a disadvantage among my co-workers, since a lot of them are big on dogs.
so when i saw the MARLEY & ME book amongst those being sold online, i decided to buy it. and read it. and well, it was a revelation.
MARLEY & ME is a biography of sorts for marley, a labrador retriever owned by award-winning newspaper columnist john grogan. it tells the story of how marley came to live with john and his wife jenny, and the life marley lives with them until the day of his death. and throughout the thing, you get to understand why the book was tagged with the line, “life and love with the world’s worst dog.”
having only been exposed to very mild dogs–the largest of which was a doberman, back when i was a toddler–i don’t actually relate to the problems the author faces in his many anecdotes. but while reading his stories, i couldn’t help but cringe at the misadventures the titular dog gets himself into. at one point in the book, the author’s wife tries to get him to give marley away. and i couldn’t blame her. remember, i’m not really a dog lover.
but as the story progresses, marley’s ‘problems’ never really go away. there is no happily-ever-after waiting in this story. instead, what you get in the end is acceptance. and love.
pure, unadulterated love.
you see, for all of marley’s faults, the grogans adore him. and even when the author is enumerating the numerous things marley had once again done wrong, you can feel the love emanating from the words he wrote. that’s why, when you reach the end of the book, with the inevitable death of marley approaching, you can’t help but feel the pain and the sadness creeping in.
i’m not big on the crying thing. i can name only five works of fiction to have made me cry. but i confess to tearing up at the end of MARLEY & ME. marley may be the world’s worst dog, but for the author, his wife and his children, marley wasn’t just a dog. he was family.
this book is a great work of non-fiction for dog lovers and non-dog lovers alike.