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on August 31, 2017
This is not such a horrible book, as many would like you to believe. Sure, it isn't a jaw-dropping epic or an amazingly sappy story, but it is a good read that you can enjoy.

I think I feel bad for the people who criticize John and his wife for how they treated Marley. First, it wasn't that horrible. In fact, Marley had it pretty good. A lot of people are failing to place the story in its proper time frame. Marley was born in the early 1990s--a time when positive training, counter conditioning, and clicker training were just beginning to take root and was not easily available to the public. Most people never even heard of such things---even very good vets. Dominance and Alpha theory were the rule of the day, and the choker chain was a common accessory for most dogs. I recall my own dog wearing one of those things, though I was a timid person who hated them and never actually used them.

True, that didn't excuse several things that Mr. Grogan thought or did. He wasn't the best person in the world...but then again, he didn't hide it either. I give him brownie points for that. Most people try to make themselves seem better than they were, but the author laid himself out pretty honestly. How many people would write down that they actually found a sadistic pleasure in choking their dog during training class? He even put it in a negative light, showing that he was well aware that this was not a good thing. But anyone who has had a problem dog understands this feeling. It happens--frustration, anger, uncertainty can build up like that.

A lot of people condemn the title of the book: Life and Love with the world's Worst dog. Hyperbole is often frowned upon, true, however---he addresses this at the end. Again, he brings to light something anyone with a problem of any kind knows: that feeling of being the only one. He even foreshadowed this when he described his first dog training class. All the other dogs were well mannered and lined up exactly as they should, while Marley ran rampant and drooled over everything. For years, he never met or knew of any dogs that behaved like Marley: until he wrote Marley's life down. Then he realized that he wasn't alone, that he didn't have the *worst* dog.

While he jokingly refers to the Bad Dog Club and all its members, he also writes a very telling line: "My new friends in the Secret Brotherhood of Dysfunctional Dog Owners." It is a subtle admittance that he now realizes that, yes, he was not the best of owners and he failed on many accounts--some of which he had no way of really dealing with at the time.

John Grogan did everything he could with the tools he had. I dislike his seeking the cheapest, shadiest dog training school (parking lot?) but I honestly don't recall dog training classes being anything more than in someone's house or rented community center at the time (I was a teen then, and didn't look so I can't say for sure).

I'm divided on his ill-timed vacation, too. I mean, there was no way he could have predicted what would happen. Even the vet didn't know when or where, only that it was a possibility. He made sure to put Marley in the best care with the people that loved him and wanted the best for him, and when he came back: the dog was mostly fine! Most likely, it was the excitement of seeing his family again that did it, but who knows? Having lost a few pets of my own over my lifetime, and knowing that our own lifes go on, I can't really condemn him for it or blast him for such a horrible choice because...he really couldn't have known. It was very possible that Marley would have gone on for another couple of years, or would have passed at any moment.

What stands out in this book is that John Grogan truly loved Marley. His family really cared for him, and they did the best they could. I think the reason why this book is so popular is because it resonates with the average person: the ones who don't or didn't know that they could have helped their dog overcome their phobia, could have taught him to properly direct his energy--that it was possible to have the "good dog" he wanted with a lot of hard work. At the time, there was no "hard work" only sighs of "too bad." I think he knows better now, at least I hope he does. By the time he wrote this book and published it, all the information he could have used began to be more widely available. Perhaps he regrets what he didn't know, or maybe he uses these things with his new dog.

This isn't really a book about what not to do. It is more a book about what used to be. In that respect, it is actually pretty accurate.
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on November 5, 2016
This is just the kind of hilarious, fun book I like to read, but because I saw the movie, I almost never read books AFTER I’ve seen the movie. For me it’s the other way around: I read the book and see the movie, usually to see how much better the book was.

It’s been a long time since I saw the movie, so I gave the book a chance, and I’m glad I did—the humor and endless comedy was a blast. Marley destroyed countless pieces of furniture and screen doors. He routinely ate things like parts of their stereo equipment and once, a gold necklace that was a gift from author John Grogen to his wife, Jenny. Grogen then reports in hilarious detail being on poop patrol in his attempt to rescue the expensive necklace from Marley’s prodigious defecation offerings to their backyard.

Everything about the book is funny or touching. Even the birth of their first child was told in hysterical detail.

Marley got kicked out of obedience school the first time for being too incorrigible. When they went back many months later, he did manage to pass—and he quickly snatched his diploma from John’s hands and ate it.

If you’ve ever shared your life with a dog (even cats like to destroy plants, especially if they’re hanging and they can pounce on them from any surface and yank them out of the wall so you come home to dirt and plant shreddings spattered across your carpeting. They also like to topple books from shelves and sit on your keyboard while you’re on deadline for work), you’ll identify with the funny stories of how much work animal companions can be, and how much we miss them when they’re gone. If you live in a place that doesn’t allow animals, you’ll also feel a little better about how simple and unencumbered your life is, but you’ll feel a wistful sense of loss, too.
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on June 22, 2016
Hilarious joyride of a book. I saw the movie and read the book twice. Every once in a while I read it again just to get a laugh. My son had a lab once that looked just like Harley and got in just as much trouble. He ate his cell phone, tore the cable wires off the house, tore apart his brand new bedspread, sheets and pillows, chewed a big hole in the bottom of the fence, etc. I have always had dogs but never a lab, but I hear they will tear up everything in sight until they are about 3 years old, and they look damn cute doing it as well.
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on February 2, 2014
Having just lost my baby girl Asia an 8 year old Shih Tzu, I know your pain at Marley's lost. I know the confusion
of wondering when is the time to send them to the Rainbow Bridge, trying to read in their eyes that it's time to let
them go. The pain and wondering afterwards if you waited too long, making them suffer too long or did you do it
too soon and maybe they could have bounced back. After Asia passed I remember crying at the Vet's office why
couldn't I keep a dog longer than six years. Dr John told me that's because you always take the dogs that have
problems and it's not important how long you have them but that you gave them love and happiness for their
remaining years. I'll get another one soon because the length of time that I was in pain over their lost is far, far
shorter than the amount of time that we had together and the joy we had together. I also feel that they wouldn't
want me to be without that love or to not give that love to another dog. Marley wouldn't want you to with hold your love either.
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VINE VOICEon December 23, 2006
I purchased Marley & Me on a whim. I'm generally more of the nerdy type who has their head stuck in the Sci Fi/Fantasy section of the bookstore but being a sucker for animal stories, I decided to try this one out. The book hit exactly the right spot I was looking for it to hit, the sentimental mushy part of the brain which searches out stories about love and loss. After reading this book I actually started to search out more "mushy real life dog stories" - while there are plenty of good ones out there, Marley & Me still ranks at the top of the list.

A word of warning for dog owners or former dog owners:

As you read Marley & Me you will encounter spots in the book where you completely disagree with how John Grogran handled the situation. You will hit anecdotes where you wonder where the heck Animal Control was and why they're not confiscating the dog.

In order to get past these spots you have to come to the realization that Marley & Me is a personal story about one man and his dog, it is *not* a training manual, nor is it trying to be one. While there are quite a few spots where I was scratching my head and thinking to myself, "Man, don't you know how to handle a dog?" I realized that if I tried to detail every single adventure with the dogs in my life, there would probably be plenty of people with the same reaction to my stories.

Once you can get past the naggy little voice in your head, you will enjoy Marley & Me much better, because despite its many faults, it is all-in-all a very heartwarming story about a man and his dog.
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on January 10, 2010
I simply had to have this book after watching the movie. The novel is solidly written and while the movie sticks pretty much to the book, there's so much more detail of the life of John Grogan, his family, and good old Marley that you'll want to make sure and pick up both movie and book.

John Grogan was a reporter turned columnist in South Florida when he and his bride Jenny purchased an adorable little puppy and named him Marley, after Bob Marley. Marley proved, while growing up, to be an oversized, over-eating, unconventional and irascible dog. Breaking away from the leash and running off, humping poodles and other things, failing obedience classes and humiliating the instructor, crawling out of a moving car, eating Jenny's beautiful necklace John bought her when she first found out she was pregnant, jumping on people, chewing on anything in the house, howling at thunderstorms, tobogganing down a hill on top of John ... in other words, Marley was a holy terror.

John began to write about Marley in his newspaper columns, and soon all of South Florida knew and loved Marley and his antics. From puppy to adult to old age and sadly, his death, Marley was definitely a part of the Grogan family. John Grogan is a very talented writer (well, he does it for a living) and tells Marley's tale in this book with talent, humor, tragedy, and finesse. The Grogan family was definitely blessed to have such a unique dog. That John Grogan took his pen and turned his memoirs of life with Marley into a book is a blessing, allowing all readers to enjoy the antics of the world's worst dog. This is a not-to-be-missed book; make sure you pick it up, and the movie as well. Ten Stars! Enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon May 3, 2008
I read this book for a book club and I fell in love with that rascally dog just as Grogan did. It is really hard to know who is master and beast in this book as it seems like the beast was the master of all he reigned. This book is perfect for animal lovers, especially for those who have dogs who may be as rascally as Marley or not.

This is a delightful romp through a dog's life. Chewing on shoes and clawing the doors? Yep. Been there and had that. Messy accidents in the house? Oh boy, sounds like my dog. Man's best friend? Check.

This is really a heart-warming story of a man who has a dog who is a big lovable lug that taught the author the lessons of loyalty and enjoying life to the fullest. There is humor injected throughout the book, whether it was at himself or at Marley. It is hard to remain mad at your best friend as I know since my own dog has chewed up my favorite pair of shoes or dragged me running through the minefields to chase a car and so on.

I know that there are over a thousand reviews of this book, so I will keep mine short. It is a lovely homage to Grogan's best friend who taught him so much in his short life. It is also a wonderful reminder of what our friends do for us in our own lives. This is a perfect book club book as well as a perfect book to read throughout the summer, lying there next to your own best friend. Be sure to have kleenexs handy though. It is heartwarming and sweet and in spots, so sad. All pet owners know the special kind of grief losing your friend is like.

Pick it up and have a delightful romp through the pages! This is perhaps a first book where I actually laughed out loud in places simply because of the humor of the incidents and the joy that Marley brings even to strangers like me. And I couldn't put this book down for the life of me. It was just too irresistable. So, enjoy this furry tale!

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on July 6, 2014
I loved this book and for the people accusing John and Jenny of ignoring and mistreating Marley, did you not read the book well? Jenny went home at lunch to spend time with him, they took him with them on errands, ran him on the beach after work, etc, he wasn't shoved in their garage and forgotten. Unfortunately the vast majority of us who love dogs also have to leave them every day to go earn a living. Yes, Jenny went off on him after their second child was born; she was obviously under a lot of stress and no, she shouldn't have done what she did, but we all make mistakes. Dog training ideas have changed a lot in the 20 years since Marley was a pup, even the monks of New Skete have changed their ideas, so give John and Jenny a break.
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on July 24, 2007
Marley & Me is the engaging and funny story of John Grogan and his dog, Marley. But Marley deserved more at the end of his life than being locked in a kennel, feeble, deaf and nearly blind, while the family goes off to Disney World.

Like all great dog stories Marley & Me is the story of a relationship. Marley is the star but the story revolves around Grogan family. While they are largely clueless about dogs and get one for the wrong reasons, they do come to love the animal. I have lived with, and loved, dogs all my life but I have never owned or even known one dog who possessed all the bad habits and phobias of Marley. I am not sure that I would have had the patience to put up with one such dog. But through it all, they did and that is the story.

John Grogan is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and, as I would expect, Marley & Me is well written. He is able to show through well described events the challenges of living with a dog of boundless energy, curiosity and no manners.

As described in the book Marley did appear in the movie The Last Home Run for about two minutes. The movie went straight to video and I have not seen it.

While the book is well written and funny, I could not give it five stars. I would have preferred more about Marley and less about the adults, John and Jenny. Perhaps more about how the children grew as the dog aged would have added to the story. But perhaps the most troublesome event for me was how Marley's life ended. It is clear the Grogan's loved Marley but I had to wonder why they put him in a kennel at the end of his life and went off to Disney World. Then did not pick him up until the next day after they returned. The stress of the kennel was perhaps too much for him. Marley deserved better and Disney World would have been there next year.

Recommendation: Read and enjoy the book and when your dog is old and feeble, be there for them like they were for you.

Kyle Pratt
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on March 24, 2018
YES!! I loved this book so much that I bought one for my daughter and sister. It was so heartwarming and funny. I don't usually laugh out loud when reading a book, but I did with this one. The author, John Grogan, had such a fantastic use of similes-his comparisons were hilarious.
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