John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


Catching up...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It's been a while since I checked in here at Marley Blogland. Let me bring you up to speed.

First, I'm happy to report that Gracie and I survived our appearance May 17 on Good Morning America. Gracie behaved like Miss Manners. She didn't try to hump Diane Sawyer's knee, didn't drool on anyone, didn't knock over any of the big expensive studio cameras. In other words, she was the anti-Marley. She was a perfect lady...which is exactly why I keep saying there's no book in this dog. She's so sedate and mild-mannered, she's....boring. Her biggest transgression was quietly wandereding off the set right in the middle of my interview. It was pretty funny: The opening shot shows Diane and me chatting with Gracie right between us; the next time the shot goes wide, you see that Gracie is simply missing. AWOL. Of course, that's when Diane decides it's time to talk about Gracie, who by now is halfway across the studio, sniffing away. The cameras flip around to capture her having a good ole time off in the shadows. Jenny helped wrangle her back on stage and the interview continued. Ah, you've gotta love live television.
Gracie's favorite part of the entire New York City experience: Why, the pigeons, of course. She nearly pulled me in front of a bus after a couple of them flew right over her head. It was too much for her to resist.

I'm finally back at home after my long, and mostly eventful, spring tour, which took me from Chicago to Portland to Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Fla., to New York and, finally, to Washington D.C. for Book Expo of America. Book Expo is the big annual publishing convention and schmoozefest, and features tens of thousands of new titles. A year ago, I attended as the author of this yet-to-be-released book called Marley & Me that showed some promise. It's fair to say I got completely lost in the crowd; my signing drew about 70 people. This year was considerably different. Marley is now in its 32nd straight week on The New York Times nonfiction list, 16 of those weeks at #1, so I got plenty of attention. As far as I could tell, my only real job duty was to drink, eat and shake hands. I did a lot of all three. Not a bad assignment! My one-hour signing was completely overwhelmed, and we had to cut the line off and turn people away, which I never like to do. I signed about 400 books before we ran out of time and I got kicked out. My publicist, Seale Ballenger, and I then carried the last two remaining boxes of books back to the HarperCollins booth where I signed and gave away those, too.

The highlight of the weekend for me was the HarperCollins party at the Smithsonian Castle, thrown by CEO Jane Friedman, who treats her authors very very well. It featured really, really good food and a really, really good jazz band, not to mentino an open bar, so I was happy. I got to hang out with my wonderful agent, Laurie Abkemeier, and got to meet my wife's all-time favorite television journalist (yeah, I kind of like him, too), Anderson Cooper.

It's good to be home and good to be back at my job at The Philadelphia Inquirer after a 10-week leave for the book tour. If you want to check out my column, you can find it at But I warn you, some of the references are intended solely for Philadelphians. That's all for now. Ciao!

posted by John Grogan at 2:11 PM


Blogger Lisa Chumney said...

Hi John. I just finished reading "Marley & Me". My gosh how one can cry over a dog that they don't even know. We have a big lug of a Black Lab and she is around 90 pounds.
Her only neurosis that we have witnessed is digging and playing with her ball. She is going on 6 years old and a GREAT dog.
The other dog we have is about to be 11 and is a dalmatian. I have had her since being weened. She is quite crazy in her ways somewhat like Marley but not nearly as hyper.
I wanted to say thank you writing the book and give our love to Gracie.
What happened when you went to check out Lucky?

10:26 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I absolutely adored Marley and Me. I boo-hooed like a baby and laughed like a lunatic. I really think it might be my favorite book of all time, just edging out Seabiscuit and To Kill A Mockingbird. We just lost our sweet lab/beagle mix Sadie about three months ago to cancer. And she had a whole lot of Marley-esque traits. After she passed away it took two dogs to take her place she left such an big empty spot. Everything had been planned around her--rushing home before a storm started, etc. I am quite thankful Sadie was only 45 lbs. after reading about Marley. You perfectly captured the best of man's relationships with his animal companions. Thanks so much for a superb book. :-)

10:06 AM  
Blogger Cathie said...

I stayed up ALL night last night reading Marley & Me. I'm also one of those people who never ever leave the house without a book....I admit to bawling like a baby in the cafe section of my local Sam's Club as I finished it....even though I knew it was coming, I was still pulling for Marley at the end...Mr. Grogan, you have written a great book. I felt like I was a part of Marley's family, and I thank you for the pleasure.

Have to let you know that I had a lab/shepard mix that was also expelled from obedience school as a puppy---Sunny was a chewer of stereo speakers and car bumpers as well as an eater of rocks, spatulas, etc.

Loved this book!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Carolyn Coote said...

I have just begun reading your book Marley & Me (well I am 7 chapters in) and already I know I will become one of my favourites. I only pulled it off the bookshelf as the dog next door is called Marley. I am thinking of getting a dog one day but am still cautious about the idea as I am away most of the day during the school week. We'll see. Thanks for the great book. I reckon I will have it read by the end of this weekend.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Aravyndra said...

This post has been removed by the author.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Aravyndra said...

(I screwed up the last comment. My mind doesn't want to work as fast as my typing fingers.)

But what I wanted to say is, I just finished your book over the weekend, and I absolutely fell in love with it! (my mom is reading it now and feels the same.)

I was surprised at how it feels as if you were writing the book about my puppy Dojo. Dojo was a gift from my mom to cheer me up after a hard 2006. My bunny of 8 years died from kidney failure in November, and a week later I was badly injured in a car accident.

Dojo (a shih tzu/bichon mix) displays many of the odd quirks your Marley had, maybe even more. But I love him all the same. And I'm so glad you never gave up on Marley even when he tried your patience the most. That's how I feel about my Dojo monster.

your book is very heartwarming, and is going to be beloved in the pet/dog lover community.

Thank you for sharing your story. It will encourage many people for years to come.

Love to you and your family, and that includes your dog Gracie.

Ps. my puppy just failed his first training class... so don't feel too bad about Marley's first attempt. We're going to try again next month.

6:30 PM  

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