John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


A Memorable Performance

Friday, April 27, 2007

A cool, steady drizzle was falling this morning over the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, where I live, but it wasn't a sad or dreary rain. It felt nourishing and cleansing. The hillsides are bursting in green now, and the cherry and pear trees are in full, glorious bloom. The tulips are opening, the forsythia has painted swaths of eye-popping yellow across the landscape. In my garden, the early peas are an inch tall, the fall garlic is ankle high, and the broccoli and radishes have just broken through the soil. On a morning like this, the rain seems more friend than foe.

I had planned to start the day by transplanting a bushel of daylilies I had dug up and divided a few days ago. Not in this rain. So I poured a second cup of coffee and decided to check out a package that had arrived in the mail last week. Inside it was the new, soon-to-be-released audio version of my upcoming children's book, "Marley: A Dog Like No Other." The book comes out next week (May 1 release) along with my other children's book, "Bad Dog, Marley!" Bad Dog is an illustrated book for 3 to 7 year olds. Marley: A Dog Like No Other is an adaptation for young readers, 8-12, of Marley & Me. And Harper Children's Audio is simultaneously releasing an unabridged, four-CD audio version read by the actor, Neil Patrick Harris.

I performed the audio version of Marley & Me, and have always had a hard time listening to my own voice read my words. I guess we all sound funny to ourselves. But this morning I popped in CD #1 from Marley: A Dog Like No Other, and Harris' soothing voice hooked me immediately. "Wow!" I thought. "So this is how it's supposed to sound." You probably remember Harris as the child star of the TV show Doogie Howser, M.D. He has since gone on to have a varied acting career. I was thrilled to learn he was performing the audio version of my young-reader book. And he did not disappoint. The story is aimed at third to seventh graders, and Harris set just the right tone, bringing the characters to life and bringing a lot of emotion and personality to his performance.

Jenny came in from the other room while I was listening. She heard me in there, laughing out loud at my own writing. "You are enjoying that WAY too much," she said. Well, what can I say? It's a whole different experience to hear my own words come to life through a talented actor. Good job, Neil Patrick Harris!

As I said, my two children's books come out this Tuesday, May 1, and I will begin a three-week book tour that day with a scheduled appearance on NBC's The Today Show. I say "scheduled" because there's always the possibility I could be bumped in the event of a breaking news story. Otherwise, I'll be there, with Gracie the Labrador retriever at my side. Gracie is pretty funny. She's so skittish, the sound of her own nails on the tile floor can spook her, but she doesn't think anything of going on national television in front of millions of people. Calm as a cucumber. I hope I absorb some of her mellow energy.

To find out what cities I'll be appearing in for my children's book tour, please visit the "upcoming events" link on the home page. Now it's time for me to sign off. The rain has stopped and I just might be able to get those lilies into the ground. Happy spring, everyone.

posted by John Grogan at 12:52 PM


Blogger Animals Inc. said...

My eyes are pretty bloodshot, my nose pretty red, my Kleenex box empty... sigh..............
I work at a small hospital and at times work is slow. I chose to read your book. I laughed and then laughed louder and sometimes yelling OHHHHHH NOOOOOOOO..........
I found myself living in your book with your family. Hopefully you never noticed pages getting wet or worse yet, a leak in your house that you couldn't explain...if that was the case it was from me
At times I found myself rereading parts of your book to my patients. I had to be a little selective on this, after all how many technologists read books to their patients.
As the end drew near both in your book and for Marley, I was glad to be by myself once again as the tears freely flowed.
In finishing your book I discovered your web site. I noticed you will be an hour away at a book signing in Naperville, Illinois in May. I actually will be in Arkansas at my parents and debating on cutting it short to meet with you. If that is the case you will know me by the blood shot eyes, my red nose and an empty Kleenex box in my hand.
If I should not make it back...might you be in Illinois soon again. I would plan a vacation day just to shake your hand and say job very well done.

To this day I will find myself saying good night to all my 4 legged animals long since gone. The ache I find is still there and with each passing I find another animal who needs adopting from my local shelter.

Sophie is the latest to join the group. She has an appetite to run chase tug-of-war and to lick, lick, lick...My poor glasses. I just cant seem to keep them clean nor straight on my face

Thank You Once Again

7:45 PM  
Blogger ME said...

Best of luck with the new books John!

8:50 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

John- I saw you on the Today's show this morning. I'm glad you weren't "bumped"... As I grew up with my own "Marley", a bounding yellow lab named Wheatly, I have connected with you and your books in a way I can't describe! Thank you for sharing your experiences, and for making a series of books I can share with my own little ones. We will cherish them forever. I wish you and your family the BEST of luck in the future!

8:42 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I just finished your book last night and I cried my eyes out and I still feel kinda washed out this morning. I loved the book and it brought back a flood of memories for me of all my dogs and cats that I have had over my 53 years of life. I have deeply loved every one of them and they all have a very special place in my heart. I have also experienced all the same sort of things with my animals that you described in your book. My favorite dogs are border collies and I have had four of them but I have also have had 6 mutts as well at different times in my life. Right now I have two border collies, one female (Jessie) and one male (Sam). My female is now 131/2 years old and my male is now 9 years old. Both are still full of life but I can tell they are starting to experience the beginnings of old age. Jessie is very sweet and well behaved but Sam is my Marley and I have many stories just like yours about him being bad. And my first new house was nearly destroyed by him but I would never trade him for anything and the joy that he has given us was worth it all. Your words have touched such a nerve for me. You put into words what I have felt about my animals all my life. We are an ex-military family and we took our animals all over the world with us because they were a big part of our family. Please keep writing and I look forward to reading your books even the children's books. I will read them with my grandson as I hope to show him the love of animals and what they can give in return. I am sorry that this is such a rambling mess but I felt I needed to say something ever since I picked up your book. Thanks again for such a heartfelt story and letting us all share your experiences with Marley.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Felipe said...

Oi John! I´m Felipe and just have finished your book (it has reached many places including the other side of America-Brazil!) What a wonderful work! GREAT STORY! GREAT MARLEY!!

9:16 PM  
Blogger Animals Inc. said...

This post has been removed by the author.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Animals Inc. said...

John Lithgow or Russell Crow would be great as you!!!. I am very interested in seeing who is the lucky person to portray you.

My two friends and I really enjoyed meeting you at the book signing in Naperville. You are just as you portrayed yourself in the book.

Can't wait to get back to work and talk about you and your book. Can you work a deal out with Kleenex that a coupon is supplied with each book purchase.

My mother says to tell you she too enjoyed the book and went through 1/2 box.

Thank you for the signing.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Magdalena said...

thank`s for yours book! Magda&Afryka

6:23 AM  
Blogger Maria Jullyana said...

Hi John! I'm Brazilian...I don't speak English, but I need speak about your book "Marley and me" with the title "Marley e eu" in Brazil...Still I am reading...In my opinion a wonderful book! Really emotive...Thank you for this book!Hugh!Jullyana

10:29 AM  
Blogger computerjinx said...

I think the couple playing Mommie and Daddy in '7th Heaven' would be perfect as John and Jenny Grogan! What say?

12:24 AM  

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