Reading Log: Marley and Me
I just finished reading Marley & Me : Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. The fact that Grogan really is a newspaper columnist does show through in his writing; each chapter reads very much like a newspaper column, and I frequently felt that there wasn't much holding the narrative together other than Grogan's descriptions of his life with "the World's Worst Dog." I didn't even cry at the end, at least not until he started quoting some of the sympathy e-mail he received after writing about Marley and the family's loss.
While Grogan candidly confesses to many of the mistakes of a first-time dog owner, there were many times that I couldn't help but feel the family got what they deserved, though I'm sorry poor Marley had to suffer through all that. On the other hand, they did stick it out and keep him (though I was very concerned for a while that they wouldn't keep him), and he did enjoy a very nice life, by and large.
Marley came from a backyard breeder, which is a fairly typical new owner mistake. But despite that, how can there still be educated people in the world who don't do research into dogs before racing out to get one? I knew we were headed to trouble in the prologue when Grogan described his childhood dog who could do no wrong. Another typical mistake: "my first dog was so wonderful, how can anything go wrong with the next one?"
Then there's the reason they got a dog in the first place: so his wife could feel better about her maternal skills. She overwatered a plant, for pete's sake. You don't get a dog to "practice" being a mom. You get one because you enjoy the companionship that the four-leggeds can bring to your life.
Many aspects of John and Jenny's lives horrified me to no end, and I really hope that people might read this book as a "what not to do" rather than a "how to" manual.
Overall, a quick and fun read, but I'm glad I borrowed the book rather than buying it. And I can guarantee that the name alone does not make the dog; our own Marley was one of the sweetest, best kids I've ever had. :-)