Marley and Me

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Author: John Grogan
ISBN: 978-073-362-6616
RRP: $29.99

The latest reprinted edition of John Grogan’s bestselling Marley and Me is a holiday gift edition. Hardcover with a red dust jacket featuring the cutest photo of what must be a young Marley, also featuring inner covers filled with photos of Marley throughout his life. A very attractive edition which really would make a wonderful gift.


Now that we’ve addressed the outside, perhaps it’s time to concentrate on what’s within the covers of Marley and Me.

Marley and Me is the 13 year story of a family and their 4 legged friend, demonstrating the emotional depth of the old saying about Mans Best Friend; because some dogs really are. This is an emotional rollercoaster that will have you laughing out loud, shaking your head in exasperation or reaching for the tissues in unison with the Grogan family within these pages.

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At times this read a little like a manual so would be great for someone looking to invest in a Labrador. Giving you all the history, personality traits and physical attributes of the breed as well as tips on how to choose a dog and what to look for. Also describing quite minutely the everyday care required for Marley. I found it a little drawn out and not quite relevant, though as I said for a lover of Labs or someone looking to get one it would be good research.

There are also times I think this would only appeal to a dog lover, would only strike a chord with a dog owner but overall it really is so much more than that. Yes there are experiences John and Jenny have with Marley that can only truly be empathised with and recognised by people who have owned dogs, especially difficult dogs and large dogs. Who else would understand the pride and joy of seeing your 40+ kg dog laying peacefully curled up next to your newborn’s bassinet and knowing without a shadow of a doubt that he’s going to protect that baby and you have nothing to fear? Not that I am advocating leaving dogs and children unsupervised of course.

More than all of this Marley and Me is the story of growth and evolution from young and carefree newlyweds responsible only for themselves into caring and nurturing middle aged parents and the journey to get there. Owning a pet, not that some pets are really owned – let me start that sentence again. Welcoming a pet into a childless family can be that first experience with nurturing another living being. Not quite sure if you’re ready for children, have a trial run with an animal first and if that goes well and you feel you’re ready then you move on to the real thing.

Dogs, like children, are all completely different. John and Jenny both grew up with a family dog, a family dog that was saintly. Such wonderful manners and exemplary behaviour, a perfect example of the family dog everyone wants. With childhood pets like that who wouldn’t want to start their family with a dog?

Marley isn’t like the childhood dogs of memory. Marley isn’t like any dog they’ve ever encountered. Which makes this a story of learning to love unconditionally and accept undesirable behaviours when it gets to the point you realise they can’t be changed. The story of learning understanding and patience for the ones we love most. I think most importantly it’s the story of how everything looks different when you look back on it. At the time it is extremely annoying, embarrassing, humiliating but when you look back years later the memory makes you smile rather than resurrects the original emotions.

This was a book that took me quite a while to get right into and wasn’t really my thing. Having said that when I finished it the first thing I did was go give my difficult, middle aged dog a pat and think a bit on how much I love him and what an impact he’s had on my life and the lives of my family. Thankful for the love and companionship he’s bought to my life even though there are times I could gladly throttle him for his refusal to change undesirable behaviours.

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