Marley and Me

by John Grogan




The story of a family in the making and the wondrously neurotic dog who taught them what really matters in life. Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.--From publisher description.

Library's rating


(2805 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member SqueakyChu
In his early days of marriage, the author adopts a Labrador retriever puppy. This dog, Marley, becomes his constant companion throughout the years he and his wife are raising their family. John Grogan does for Labrador retrievers what Jon Katz did for border collies – which is to bring out what is distinct and special in each respective breed of dog. I found Grogan’s book much more fun to read. In addition to telling what makes Marley so unique, Grogan has a way of telling a story that makes the tale absolutely hilarious. Here is a book which grabs the reader and has him both laughing, crying, and nodding his head in understanding as Marley goes rollicking through life. My only complaint about the book is that I felt it should have ended a few chapters earlier. Then, at the very end of the book, there was a teaser with no resolution! I found that annoying, but it did not take away from my great enjoyment of this book.… (more)
LibraryThing member AdonisGuilfoyle
With the film out, I thought should probably get around to reading the book; I also thought that the book couldn't possibly be as cute as the film. I was wrong - going on what I've seen in the trailer, there is absolutely no need for dramatic licence in telling Marley's story!

From the opening chapter, John Grogan had me in fits of silent hysterical laughter, describing behaviour that I recognise from my own personal experience of labradors, not to mention Marley's own incredible adventures (including jumping out of the window of a moving car, and taking a restaurant table for a walk). Of course, I knew what was coming - family and friends who have read the book warn of the sad but inevitable conclusion - but I really wasn't prepared for how close I had grown to Marley throughout 250 pages of mayhem, and had to save the last few pages until I was alone. To say I cried is an understatement. Yet it is worth braving the tears, because the real belly laughs come as John Grogan recounts some of the horror stories he received in response to his farewell column for Marley - I was still half blind, sniffing and dabbing at my eyes with tissues, but now I couldn't breathe, either!

An emotional read, particularly for dog owners, but really for anybody who has an ounce of sentimentality in them. Thanks to John Grogan - and Marley - for sharing.
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LibraryThing member dmorrison
Great book for anyone, especially if you have ever had a close pet family member...great story.
LibraryThing member Justjenniferreading
At the time I read this book I had a dog named Harley that reminded me a lot of Marley. That may be why I liked this book so much, or it could be the fact that I am an animal lover. Either way I loved this book.

The story of the problems Mr. Grogan and his family had with Marley were all to real. Every pet owner has moments of distress where they feel that they could give up their pet, but love always wins. I think that the antics of Marley were greatly detailed.

I became attached to Marley and felt the frustration, love, and compassion that Mr. Grogan felt for his dog. I would recommend this book to any pet owner, or animal lover.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
What a great book! Mr. Grogan somehow made their life with Marley seem enjoyable, though as a not-dog lover, I couldn't even imagine living with him day to day, as lovable as he sounded. I really admired the author for sharing the difficult experience of watching Marley age and die. It's such a personal sorrow, but he shares it in such an honest way with just enough of himself to help the reader feel sorrow too. A great example of the kind of memoir I most enjoy - real people sharing their real experiences in a straightforward way.… (more)
LibraryThing member elliepotten
I put off reading this book for a long time, suspicious of the hype around the book and then, not long after, the movie. I needn't have worried so much. John Grogan has done for American dog lovers what Deric Longden did for British cat lovers. He has written a memoir with a deceptively simple premise - one man's story of life with 'the world's worst dog', his labrador retriever Marley.

What actually leaps out of the story is a wonderful portrayal of family life with this huge personality in its midst, a heartwarming tale of one dog from bouncy puppy to geriatric old dog. There is enough humanity to keep the book grounded, enough Marley to fill the whole with boundless energy. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cry so much I had to do some serious mascara damage repair, it made me think, it made me smile... I'm definitely a cat person, but Marley's personality won me over from the word go, with his fierce loyalty and sheer enthusiasm for life.

"Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things - a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty."

Beautifully written, full of hilarious anecdotes, and well worth a read!
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LibraryThing member Karbie
I laughed out loud, I cried...I loved this book! I've been recommending it to everyone I know.
LibraryThing member BookishPatti
I was never a dog-lover. After reading this book, I think I'm able to become one. Of course, I have to start with a really small dog. I don't want someone like Marley barreling into me the first time.

A touching, engaging, and satisfying read. This started my love affair with dog books and novels.… (more)
LibraryThing member CasualFriday
This is a good airplane book: short, slight, diverting. The subtitle “Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog” is overstating the case; Marley, a slobbery, tail-wagging, galumphing yellow lab, is really just a run-of-the-mill bad boy. If you like dogs, you’ll be amused, but really Grogan has nothing original to say about dogs, life or love.… (more)
LibraryThing member lfreire
This book tells an inspiring story of a young family's life with a crazy dog who they love unconditionally. Grogan fills the book with hilarious and heartfelt experiences with his yellow lab Marley. This book had me laughing almost every chapter and when reading it you cant help but think how much of an angel your own dog is compared to Marley. This book shows how Marley, like any dog, can help you get through tragedies and learn the important lessons of life. At the end of the story when Grogan recaps on the times he has been through with Marley its feels like you are watching home made videos. I felt a closeness to Marley and the family while reading the book and by the end I was sad my journey with them was over. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a good laugh and wants to experience a crazy dog for a few days.… (more)
LibraryThing member Katie_H
Anyone who has ever owned a dog will understand the emotions that are central to "Marley and Me." Dogs just have a way of pushing their way into our hearts, and the short time spent with them is precious and memorable for many years to come. This is the heartwarming story of Marley's life with the Grogan family, through all of their struggles and triumphs. Marley could be considered a "difficult" dog, but his antics were hilarious, and any dog owner will be able to relate. I wasn't able to give the book a higher rating for several reasons. The writing was simplistic and amateurish, which considering that the author was a journalist, was unexpected and unfortunate. As Lab owners will be able to concur, the story itself wasn't groundbreaking or unique; Marley wasn't a "special" dog, he was just an average Golden Lab. Additionally, the author came across as very self-involved; the Grogans weren't the best owners which was apparent in several situations, and any "flaws" that Marley exhibited were a direct result of the way his owners raised him, a fact that the author failed to realize and explore. I'm by no means a PETA activist, but while reading, there were times that I found myself scratching my head, thinking, "They did what? No wonder poor Marley was neurotic!" This is an easy read that would be a good choice for the beach or travel. Dog lovers will really enjoy it.… (more)
LibraryThing member drebbles
After a little more than a year of marriage, John and Jenny Grogan decided to get a dog as a pet. They had no children and thought having a dog would be a good way to practice their parenting skills. They decided to buy a somewhat goofy Labrador puppy they named Marley. Marley, while full of exuberance and love, turns out to be quite a handful with his fear of thunderstorms, love of jumping up on people, tearing the house apart, and habit of chasing any object that moves. "Marley and Me" is a loving tribute to Marley as it chronicles his thirteen years with the Grogan family.

What I liked best about "Marley and Me" is that it's the story of an ordinary family and their love for each other and their dog. The book isn't just about Marley; it describes the Grogan's struggle to have a baby and Jenny's post-partum depression when she does conceive as well as other life changes such as new jobs and moves to different cities. But the book is mostly about Marley and he certainly is a handful. Readers may wince at some of his antics and the destruction he causes, especially with his intense fear of thunderstorms, which ironically was rationalized when he was actually caught outside in one. At times Marley seems almost human, especially when he comforts Jenny after her miscarriage. Grogan's attempts to train Marley are very humorous, such as when Marley fails obedience school and when he literally drags a table he is tied to across a restaurant. Other times his attempts seem almost cruel, like the way he gets Marley to stop jumping on people. While reading the book I sometimes wondered why the Grogans kept Marley, the list of items they left with a dog sitter to take care of Marley was incredibly long and scary. John Grogan is a newspaper columnist and a gifted writer who makes Marley come to life on each page - you can picture him during his various antics. Speaking of pictures, the book is full of pictures of Marley, John and Jenny, and their children. The pictures of Marley look like they were selected with care and often match the chapter heading. And yes, the ending is a bit sad, but uplifting all the same.

Anyone who has owned a pet, especially a dog, should enjoy "Marley and Me".
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LibraryThing member koeniel
I took this book one morning as I ran out of the apartment, for my usual train reading. It was so funny I burst out laughing by myself several times, drawing stares from the other passengers. During the office hours it was hard to keep from reaching out and read a few more pages. Six o’clock came and I heaved a sigh, starting to walk to the station with the book open in my hands. Alas, a senior colleague happened to ride the train as well, in the same carriage, and out of politeness I closed the book and paid attention to his conversation, all the time thinking, “Oh why, why, why of all this time he should be on my train today! I could have read a few more pages of the book!” However, later on after getting home and throwing myself on the sofa to continue reading I thanked heaven for sending that guy on the same train with me. It turned out that the next few pages were tear jerker. Imagine bawling my eyes out on the train?

Yes, Marley and Me is such a book. John Grogan writes it with wittiness and slight cartoonish exaggeration it sends you to chuckle if not downright roaring laughter. He also writes it from such a depth of emotion that you sometimes need some tissues around to wipe the tears of your cheeks. Marley and Me is a biographical book telling the story of a huge Labrador retriever named Marley, and his family, which started with a pair of young couple John and Jenny, and as the years go by added with three children.

Marley was not a perfect dog. On the contrary, he is, in Grogran’s words, a chewer of couches, slasher of screens and slinger of drool. Marley was not the smartest of dogs, he’s always hungry and loved to steal food. He crashed into things and was prone to mischief. He was once kicked out of obedience class. He was also neurotic and had a big phobia to storm, which would turn him into a home destroying machine.

However, John and Jenny are not perfect either. I say half of Marley’s problems are due to them, who, Grogan himself admits, are hapless, weak-willed masters. I’m sure Tamar Geller and Cesar Millan (both dog trainers with best seller dog training books) winced reading how they treat Marley. Too much love, not enough discipline. Which is why this book is so endearing. We see our dogs in Marley and we see ourselves in John and Jenny. We are not the only hapless, weak-willed masters in the world, and Marley and our dogs are in the same Bad Dog Club, belonging to which is now a source of pride. Yes they’re not perfect dogs, but they’re so full of love and so faithful, they’re there in our happiest and lowest moments, what more could you ask?
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LibraryThing member MissYvonnee
I loved this book. Being an animal lover and the owner of 3 dogs, I could connect with the behavior Marley exhibits(my dog would definitely have been kicked out of obedience school). I laughed out loud at parts and of course had to wipe away a few tears. Definitely would recommend to anyone, but especially any dog owners.
LibraryThing member br13cadi
I’ve never read a book like Marley and Me. With crazy stories that cost the Grogans thousands of dollars, Marley’s one fear, and moments where John and Jenny Grogan have to stay strong, John Grogan makes sure Marley’s time in the world will never be forgotten.

Throughout the book, John Grogan thoroughly describes key events in the 13 years he spent with Marley, his own life with Jenny, and their struggles with Marley and their children. It forces the reader to recall their own dog and compare their struggles to the Grogans’. My dog, a Black Labrador Retriever, died in 2008 as he approached his 10th or 11th year in life. He loved to chew and escape the house, a natural Houdini. After reading Marley and Me, I could no longer see him as a bad dog. He just had misbehaved. Marley, however, was a completely different story. he would eat jewelry, demolish a toy in seconds, and make decisions that led to a terrible outcome. Marley certainly was a handful!

As the story progresses, it becomes more sad and depressing because the Grogan’s are facing what all dog owners must face:old age. Marley begins to have arthritic hips, worn-down teeth, and becomes deaf. It is very emotional and detailed. The way John Grogan wrote it made me want to cry. I did, eventually. He told almost every detail that mattered from Marley’s adoption into the Grogan family to the moment he died, as well as the following weeks after his death. The author wrote about Marley fondly, painting images of Marley beautifully with descriptions of everything during the event. What I think John Grogan did best while writing this book was he not once said “I remember” or “recall” or anything that made the reader feel like it was in past-tense. He wrote like it was taking place at that very moment, a story, not a memory. I absolutely loved this style; it got me more involved and into the memoir.

There are many things that I wished had occurred in addition to the events, yet it is hard to criticize when what you are writing about is a memoir. You cannot control what is to happen or what the world looked like when it happened. You can control, however, HOW you describe it and WHAT you decide to set the tone to. In my opinion, these things are key to a memoir. You can write all you want about the event with a bored expression and with very little description and the memoir will come out boring to read. John Grogan successfully steered clear of these dangers, creating a book that is very elegantly written and an amazing and interesting read.

Marley and Me is an extremely hilarious, heart-touching book. Although it has very depressing parts at times, you truly feel the emotion coming from the author, John Grogan, as he recalls his beloved, crazy dog’s past.You haven’t lived until you have read the unforgettable memoir of Marley, a dog like no other.
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LibraryThing member Caspettee
Marley & Me is the tale of neurotic dog named Marley and his family the Grogans. The story starts when John and his wife Jenny bring home a 12 week old yellow lab who they name Marley. It soon becomes clear that Marley is no ordinary dog and is neurotic and loyal to a fault.

This book focuses on the lighter side of Marley and even the darker issues that are dealt with.I laughed quite a bit especially when they took lovable Marley to the street cafe for a family afternoon out and the chaos that ensued. I held my breath as the family came close to giving him up, and teared up when Marley came to the end of his life.

My only negative was that I was a little perplexed over their dismay over how Marley behaved, every Labrador I have ever know has been a little nuts or more accurately a huge powerful dog with the mental capacity of a puppy. This book is "light & fluffy" and does not deal with the more serious issues raised in depth which is understandable the book is not about that it is about Marley.

People who have owned dogs will get the most out of this and will completely empathize with most of Marley's antics in fact you will probably find yourself thinking "I know a dog who did that". A really good read which I do recommend.
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LibraryThing member Talbin
An enjoyable read about Grogan, his family, and his loopy Lab Marley. As someone who shares a house with an aging, somewhat neurotic Shepherd-Lab-Who-Knows-What-Else Mutt, I could relate to Grogan's humorous tales of life with Marley.

The book chronicles Marley's life, from puppyhood to creaky old age. While telling Marley's tale, Grogan also follows along with the story of his early marriage and growing family. Marley and Me is a good diversion - well-written, light, humorous - with a few life-lessons thrown in for good measure.… (more)
LibraryThing member Phaedra
If you've ever been owned by a dog, you will relate to this book. Marley was everyone's dog. I've had several Marleys'. Just be sure you have a tissue box handy for the last chapter.
LibraryThing member coricouture
I know EVERYone is reading this book right now, but that's because it's good! If you're an insane dog lover like I am, it's a must read. Funny, shocking, touching, sad. I found myself laughing and crying like an idiot on the train going to and from work. Great fun.

Passed it on to my mother to read.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jennamay333
Touching book about Marley and how he helps the family through many happy and sad times in life. The end of this book is so sad but definitely worth reading to remind me how pets serve a special purpose in everyones lives. Many times I was laughing out loud then later using many tissues!
LibraryThing member jonwwil
I'm usually very uncomfortable with generalizations, but in this case I feel very safe in saying that any dog-lover would enjoy this book. Grogan is a natural storyteller, and his anecdotes about the "world's worst dog" have a resonance that gets to the heart of what it's like to have such a companion.

More than just a story about a goofy, possibly insane tank of a dog, Grogan really gets into the heart of what it means to have such a loyal companion. It's a story about unconditional love, friendship, and family. If this book was nothing more than a "our dog was bad but we loved him anyway" story, it would be a decent read, but nothing to get too excited about. It's more than that, though. It's almost like a novel more than a memoir--the "characters" are dynamic, and you really feel along with them. You realize how Marley helped them to grow, not only as a family but also as individuals, and when Grogan writes about how he realized it too, it hits home for someone who's felt the same way.

I am lucky to have counted a part-Lab as one of my life's greatest friends; and recently a purebred Lab has come into my life to whom I am warming up quite nicely (and of whom I saw many flashes in this book). If you love or ever have loved a dog, you owe it to yourself to pick this book up.
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LibraryThing member bekziscool
This book is wonderful! I was crying the last 40 pages or so because it reminded me of my dog when he got to such an old age. Recommended to anyone who has loved a pet sometime in their life. :]
LibraryThing member firefly7522
This has got to be, by far, one of the best books I've read in a long time. I've already gotten a friend of mine and my sister to read it, and I'm still working on trying to get my fiance to read it. Everyone should read this book, especially if you are a dog person or if you own a dog. Those of you who haven't read this book yet should be're really missing out. Marley is the sweetest, kindest, most caring crazy dog there ever was, and I honestly think my dog Kita is Marley reborn (just without the fear of thunderstorms). Everything about Marley (except for the fact that he was a lab and Kita is a husky) is the same, and, although there are some very sad parts to the book, I look forward to all the joys and laughs that are coming my way from Kita. She is my Marley, and, because of that, I felt like I was able to relate to this book on a more personal level. This book is so touching that, tears and all, it's worth reading many times over.… (more)
LibraryThing member deargreenplace
A sweet and fluffy piece of sentimentality, this book loses stars for the shocking editing. Note to American editors: you do not "queue up" a movie - the word is cue! Similarly, you "acclimatise" to something, not "acclimate". You'd think that since the author is a journalist, these things might have been caught.

Editing aside, it's a book for dog lovers, or those debating whether to get one. You'll laugh and cry. Blah Blah.… (more)
LibraryThing member emilyhill
I laughed a lot reading this book and cried. I love it when a book can reach me like that.

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