I LOVE dogs. And LOVE is an understatement. That could be one solid reason for me falling in love with John Grogan’s book Marley and Me. The other reasons are the wonderful insights on dogs that Grogan has given, the light and funny and yet deep prose that has been used, as well as the wonderful chemistry between Grogan and his wife Jenny and dog Marley. Yes, I’m here to rant about the next book that I picked up after The Zahir. I had this book with me for a long, long time and finally finished it over the weekend.
Marley and Me is the story of John Grogan and his wife Jenny – right from where they get married and decide to buy a Labrador called Marley, only to find their lives turned upside down. It goes on to include the birth of three kids – an adorable daughter and two sons – and how Marley becomes as much a part of the Grogan family as the kids. It is a tale of the ups and downs in Jenny and John’s lives, and how Marley is a part of them. It is a tale of Marley sharing in the special moments of John and Jenny’s lives. It is a Marley-memoir penned by Grogan, and his heartfelt feelings for Marley that reflect in every word make the book extra-special.
I always assumed that doggies would be faithful, polite and, once trained, would listen to their owner’s commands and would be well-behaved. Once you get a dog, you have a faithful, loving, obedient friend for ever. Never did I consider the possibility of the dog being manic and hyperactive, like Marley, and completely disobedient. I never thought a dog would be as mischievous as to steal food off the plates of children, but now I know. Perhaps, that is what made Marley so special – his boundless energy, his disobedience and mischief, coupled with his good-heartedness and his complete devotion towards his owners.
I never considered researching or reading up before you buy a dog other than the usual word-of-mouth advice from friends and relatives. This book opened my eyes. There is A LOT to know and A LOT of work to be done BEFORE and AFTER you get a dog. Emotional upheaval included.
I knew that the lifespan of dogs is lesser than that of humans, and that dealing with your pet’s death could be a very difficult job. What I was not prepared for was the jolt that hit my heart on reading about Marley’s old-age infirmities and death. I was crying my eyes out by the time I finished the book. I now know how much a dog owner has to go through when the much-loved pet goes off to sleep forever.
I knew a dog could communicate with you – anger, happiness, grief – through barks and tail wags and eyes. What I didn’t know was that dogs can give you insights on life. Marley and Me showed me that it is possible. The book created images in my mind – of Marley reaching up on his hind legs and stealing sandwiches off the table, of Marley comforting his mistress when she has had a miscarriage, and so on. I just can’t wait to watch the film – Marley and Me – based on the book.
All in all, I found the book extremely poignant, heartwarming, beautiful and touching. The language is simple and humorous, making it an easy read, yet touching several chords in the heart. Give this book a shot, people! I am sure you won’t regret it!
PS: The cover page is adorable, no? 🙂
For the 4-month challenge – under the 15 points category: Read a book that has been made into a movie. That puts my total score for the challenge at 30 points.
My rating: 4 stars