John Grogan’s Marley & Me

John Grogan’s autobiographical Marley & Me is a funny, honest and heart-warming story not just about the life of the eponymous Marley, but the family he was adopted into and the inevitable ups and downs of their lives, shared with their faithful – if a little chaotic – dog. Taking him from puppyhood right through to older age, the book is full of humour and love in equal measure; and the comedy jumping from the pages as Marley attempts to master the obedience he strives – not always successfully – to offer his owners, makes it unsurprising that the story leant itself to a warm and funny film further down the line.

I first read Marley & Me several years ago, and at the time so many aspects of it reminded me of my own childhood growing up in a family with dogs. Re-reading again on holiday last summer – actually as it happened with my own Marley in my arms as I did – so much of John and Jenny’s beginnings together had been mirrored in our own little family’s, and I could relate to the truth and warmth of the story from our own perspective as well.

Reading Marley & Me on holiday with my Marley and the other littles last summer 💙

The Grogans’ tale of life with Marley is a rollercoaster, and is full of mistakes and curveballs, but is held together by the love a life with pets offers so unconditionally.

Marley & Me documents the day-to-day reality of marriage, children and all the winding paths life takes us on. The family’s journey is enriched so much by Marley’s dominating presence in their midst, and as John Grogan writes, he teaches them as much as they teach him and more:

“A person can learn a lot from a dog.. Living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things – a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall. As he grew old and achy he taught me optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all, unwavering loyalty.”

This is a warm and engaging story of family life and the life-long imprint a much-loved pet makes on it. ♥️

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