Friday, August 28, 2009

Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog, John Grogan (2005)

Editor's Note: We were recently informed by a reader and friend that the books featured on Yinzer Bookclub are "snooty" - this review seeks to remedy this problem. Indeed, we are often quite responsive to literary fads and mass commercialization. Harry Potter Theme Park anyone? WOO HOO!

Reviewer: Spudbabe

Rating: 2 Overcooked Pierogies

Review: John Grogan is a journalist who wrote such a touching eulogy for his dog in the newspaper, he was encouraged to write an autobiographical book about his family’s relationship with their dog, Marley. The story was apprently so compelling that it was a New York Times bestseller and inspired a movie starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, and Dylan Henry.

Marley is an adorable, but badly behaved Labrador Retriever who was adopted by the Grogan’s shortly after they were married. He is with them through their ups and downs, and all the stages of this young family. They are inevitably taught about themselves, life, and love. Awwwwww!

I am an animal lover who can relate completely to the story of a family’s love for their dog. Some parts were truly touching and sweet. One or two were funny-ish, and the end made me cry like an infant. The problem I had were the stories about the family. I found many of their choices that set up these supposedly hilarious stories to be stupid and annoying. I thought John Grogan was totally unlikable, and quite frankly, I don’t need to know how they conceived their children. I guess the appeal is supposed to be fact that they are an ordinary family. But I don’t really want to read 304 pages about a boring family that I don’t like.

The bottom line is that this should have been a 100 page novella focused solely on the dog. I think it could have been very tender and moving. Instead, John Grogan forced us to read way too much about him and it was incredibly cheesy. I also found it to be emotionally manipulative at times, which I do not appreciate.

I would say this is a good light read, but it’s not that good, and it’s too upsetting to be considered light. So I guess if you like to cry hysterically over something that isn’t very good and find tedious journalists to be fascinating, this is the book for you!

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