John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


The Celebrity Factor

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

On Sunday, the newspaper where I work, The Philadelphia Inquirer, ran an essay I wrote about the surprise success of Marley & Me. One of my editors thought it would be interesting to tell the story behind the story, so to speak. Not just the glamour of having a bestseller, but some of the trade-offs, as well. To tell how the book came about, how I found an agent and a publisher...and how my story of a family and its nutty, out-of-control dog took off from there to (as of this writing) have more than 2 million copies in print. Writing this piece was somewhat cathartic for me. I've been running pretty much nonstop since the book came out in October, and I hadn't really paused to consider what it all meant to me -- and to my family. This piece allowed me to try to do that.

Here is the link:

Meanwhile, I speak, read from the book and sign copies tomorrow (Wednesday, July 19) at 7 p.m. in downtown Philadelphia at the Borders bookstore a 1 S. Broad Street (at Chestnut). So if you're in the area, come on out and say hi!

posted by John Grogan at 10:24 AM


Blogger kari said...

My mother bought me a copy of your book. I started a few months ago, and just finished it moments ago. My heart is full because I'm followed and bothered and loved and owned by a big, goofy yellow lab myself. His name is Finn and he'll be three on Christmas Eve. He looks a lot like Marley, only darker and not as large (he's about 85 pounds). I just found this site, and, am happy that I did. I wish I was in Pennsylvania, as I'd come out to meet you. Alas, I'm in Texas. You can see Finn and me at our myspace account...

I love Marley.

9:50 PM  
Blogger kari said...

My apologies for leaving two comments back to back. I just read the original column written shortly after Marley's passing. I'm in tears, once again. But, I just realized that Finn was born just before Marley left. And, for whatever reason, I thought I would share that. Your book is one of a handful I've read that has made me laugh so hard, I couldn't breathe. Although Finn's unafraid of thunderstorms, many of the stories about Marley are ones I could tell from personal experience. I keep my car windows locked and only open enough for Finn to stick his head out. ;) Thank you for sharing your dog with us.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Thank you so much for your book. Even though I finished it two nights ago, I am still grieving over Marley's death, and the death of all the dogs I have loved. My husband and I have a wonderful Yorkie named Smoky Lonesome who is absolutely our child and the light of our lives. I held him and sobbed into his fur as I finished your book. I know my reaction is not unique in the least, but I'm so glad you shared your wonderful story. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I just finished reading Marley and Me and it touched my heart in so many ways. I laughed till it hurt, and I cryed till the pages grew soggy. It made me remember all the good and bad in the dogs that I've owned, and brought back precious memories I had forgotten. I loved this book so much, the stories will carry with me forever, and in the end I think of Marley as my dog, too!!!

12:34 PM  
Blogger panthergirl said...

My 11 year old son, Lucas, and I just finished listening to your audiobook of Marley & Me. We often listen to books in the car, and we were both weeping as we came to the last few chapters.

Lucas is the penultimate animal lover, the only kid I knew who hated "March of the Penguins" and "Eight Below" because he could not sobbing in the theater. We came to love Marley through your words, but I think the story had much greater impact on us for two reasons: One, because we have a "pain in the ass" greyhound and realized that he won't be around forever, and two, because we lost Lucas' dad to cancer when my son was only 8 years old. Your commentary about living each day to the fullest was especially poignant for Lucas.

I am going to post a review of the book on my blog later today, and I am going to especially recommend that people listen to it. There is something even more special and touching about hearing your joy, your exasperation, your heartbreak and ultimately your resignation to life with another kooky animal...

I was hoping you had a blog, and that it wasn't one of those "million comments that no one reads" blogs.

Thank you, from Lucas and me.

3:26 AM  
Blogger Lorianne said...

Yep, I'm here because of Panthergirl's blog review of your book (see comment above). I haven't yet read the book, but I'm thinking a trip to the bookstore is in order. I have a chow/shepherd mix I adopted about nine years ago when I was still married & living in Massachusetts. He's a rescue dog, and I can definitely say that he's "rescued" me in return, helping me navigate my divorce & the transition to living without another human (not alone, of course).

You can see some cute pix of Reggie encountering a fiesty groundhog here.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Finn said...

I just finished your book; it was lovely. Thank you for sharing Marley with us.

- A former Bocahontas ;)

6:48 AM  
Blogger Desertsnow said...

I bought "Marley & Me" to listen to for an airplane trip to Chicago. It was difficult to stifle the snickering through the funny parts. Dog gone it, the iPod crashed halfway through. Well, send it off for repair. Last Saturday, we came home... things didn't look right. Our big ol' dog, Willie, wasn't at the gate like he always was when we pulled into the driveway. I walked to the back, there he was in his favorite place. I turned to Bob, shook my head and blurted out "He's gone". It's been a surreal week with doggy funerals and all. Got the iPod running and I was going to try and do chores and listen to the end of the book this morning. But could I do it? I knew Marley dies in the book, could I relive the pain of losing of Willie. Let me tell you, you can't scrape paint off of window sills and cry uncontrollably. The neighbors really think I'm crazy now. Thanks for this wonderful book.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I so much enjoyed your book John, but my eyes are still sore from all the crying done today, when I finished the story. I have one of those (fashion accessory?!) Chihuahuas, who has brought so much joy into my life, but I promise you, he's never ever seen the inside of a handbag! I have been desperately trying to get hold of a copy of the film Marley was in - hopefully it will come to me soon from America to Gibraltar, where I live. Can't wait to see the living moving darling Marley. What a simply FABULOUS dog you had - you were lucky to have him, and he you.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I am unable to post on the forum pages covering the film (my ID is not acknowledged as valid for some reason) but if you click on the following link you will see Marley as he appeared in the film "The Last Home Run":

Full of exhuberance and joy for life! What a wonderful dog.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Jluca96 said...

My wife and I loved your book! Marley was certainly a special dog and it was great to read all about his numerous misdeeds. We have a great dog, but even he has had some breakdowns, which we now call "pulling a Marley". Best wishes on continued success.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Ritika said...

Let me begin by admitting that I have not read Marley and Me, and it's not because of a weak resolve. I live in India and have been unable to get my hands on this book. I have read all the excerpts I could online and have read the blog on the site end to end, not that all this can substitute for reading the book. My family is a self-confessed Lab family. We have had Labs in our family for a long time. My dad had a beautiful Lab names Dingy (or she had him), she was extremely intelligent, obedient and faithful. And then there is Lucy. Lucy came into our lifes more than 12 years ago. She was the last pup left from a litter of 12. The breeder was dad's friend and told him very frankly that the only pup left was very naughty and bossy. My father thought it would be good revenge on me for hounding him endlessly to get a dog and willingly got the pup along.

I can only guess that Marley and Lucy's stories were quite alike. Lucy lives true to herself despite several trips to various training schools, no less than Army Dog unit training schools (my father was in the Army).My mother being the softy she is, banned us all from entertaining thoughts of sending Lucy to Dog competitions. Not just because she didn't like the idea of these competitions (none of us do) but because she was alarmed by how entertaining we found Lucy's performances at these shows. In addition she claims that these competitions depressed our dear dog. I agree. Clearly Lucy's mission in this birth has been to teach us how to live life to the fullest. We are fortunate to have her with, she lives on, ruling our life and our family.

Look forward to reading your book, even if I have to ship from USA!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Mary Hutton said...

Hi John,
Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to Marley. I devoured it in two sittings and alaramed my other half by bursting into very noisy sobs as Marley's end approached.
When I'd finished the book, I went down to our kitchen and woke our Chocolate Labrador, Fudge. I sat on the floor with my arms around him and sobbed for the day when I would no longer be able to do that.
I cannot imagine life without my dog. It is simply too painful.
The love you had for Marley shone out of every page. I laughed out loud and grieved for him along with you.
Thank you so much for your wonderful book, John.
All best wishes to yourself and your lovely family.
Mary Hutton (Outer Hebrides, UK)

3:53 AM  
Blogger Alissa said...

I just lost me Sheltie, Kobesane Kolepa, of 12 years Thursday, August 10, 2006. I've been taking it rather hard. Last November Kobe and I took a trip to Carmel and stayed the weekend. While I was out there I walked into a little bookstore and the cover of your book caught my eye. Unfortunately, I passed up the book at the time, but often thought about the adorable cover and kept that as my mental note to purchase it. Now that Kobe is gone, I felt it might be good therapy to start reading it. I'm chapter 4...and although my eyes are swollen from crying off and on about the loss of my baby boy, I've found myself bursting out in giggles while reading your book. My boyfriend looks over at me and can't help to smile, glad to finally see a smile on my face.

10:21 AM  

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