Week 4, Part 2–Marley and Me

Five stars for this one folks.  Marley and Me by John Grogan is the charming story of a family and their dog, Marley, whose antics most of you know from the movie with the same title.  What is most interesting for me is that by some huge coincidence, I wound up reading this book in the same week I have to put one of my own dogs to sleep.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=Bibliograph07-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0739468383&fc1=F3EDED&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=040404&f=ifr

Our dog, Texas, is 16 1/2 years old, and tomorrow we will be bringing him to the vet for the last time, to say our goodbyes and ease his suffering.  Over the past few months he’s been slowly failing, and we knew that the end had to come sometime soon. In much the same way that the Grogan family watches Marley’s health slowly decline, we’ve seen a change in our oldest dog that warned us we should brace ourselves for the end.

This book is a wonderfully uplifting book for someone who is about to lose their pet, and no, I’m not using sarcasm or irony.  For several reasons, this book has helped me come to terms with the death of my first dog.

The dog biography opens with the Grogans as a new family, wed for only about two years before they adopt their puppy Marley.  They soon realize that Marley is energetic, destructive, and willful, but full of love and life.  There follows an entire thirteen years of zany and expensive antics–it’s a comedy of errors, if you will.  I found myself laughing out loud often, sometimes embarrassing myself in front of roommates, coworkers, or complete strangers. It’s such a fun book to read–one really gets caught up in it.  I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what Marley did next.

Even towards the end, as Marley slows down and one realizes that the end is coming and it’s going to be sad, I found myself intently buried in the book.  In fact, at this point in my life I found myself needing to know how the end happens.  How this one family deals with the loss of their pet and friend.  And actually, it was really helpful.  All the outpouring of love and sympathy that John Grogan received in response to the article he wrote about the passing of Marley mirrors the condolences my family and I have already been receiving.
It’s a beautiful book for those who have dogs that are members of the family. It’s difficult to understand the grief one feels at the passing of a dog when you haven’t fallen in love with one.  Dogs change us and our lives in ways we hardly notice until we face the prospect of losing them. Marley and Me brought up so many memories of Texas–and indeed all of our dogs–as they grew up, from energetic puppies to curious adolescents to regal adults, and it made me so happy to read, even as I was crying over it. I definitely recommend this book to people who love the movie (because it’s full of things that couldn’t be fit into a 2-hour movie), who love dogs, and who love to laugh.  It’s great.


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