John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


Publishers Weekly reviews 'The Longest Trip Home'

Monday, September 01, 2008

This starred review appeared today in Publishers Weekly magazine. I was thrilled to see the star beside it. Back in 2005, Publishers Weekly gave Marley & Me a positive review, but the coveted PW star eluded me. So this made my Labor Day.

Here's PW's review:
(Starred) The Longest Trip Home John Grogan. Morrow, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-171324-8

Grogan follows up Marley & Me with a hilarious and touching memoir of his childhood in suburban Detroit.

"To say my parents were devout Catholics is like saying the sun runs a little hot," he writes. "It defined who they were." Grogan and his three siblings grew up in a house full of saints' effigies, attended a school run by ruler-wielding nuns and even spent family vacations at religious shrines, chapels and monasteries. Grogan defied his upbringing through each coming-of-age milestone: his first impure thoughts, which he couldn't bare to divulge at his First Confession (the priest was a family friend); his first buzz from the communion wine he chugged with his fellow altar boys; and his coming to know women in the biblical sense. As Grogan matured, his unease with Church doctrine grew, and he realized he'd never share his parents' religious zeal.

Telling them he's joined the ranks of the nonpracticing Catholics, however, is much easier said than done, even in adulthood. At 30, he fell in love with a Protestant, moved in with her and then married her -- a sequence of events that crushed his parents. In this tenderly told story, Grogan considers the rift between the family he's made and the family that made him --and how to bridge the two. (Oct.)

posted by John Grogan at 5:20 PM


Blogger pareidolia said...

Hello, John:

I'm almost done with "Longest Trip" and I have a terrible problem: I'm reviewing it for a major publication and I am absolutely crazy about this book. I didn't read "Marley" and I don't want to read it or its reviews and color my own review. But how do I keep from sounding like a babbling idiot when I praise this book? Surely everyone has already used all the superlatives I want to use!

All my best to you. You are a gifted writer.


8:32 AM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hi, John!
Aw, I can't wait to read this book!
God bless.
Giovana Raposo

8:09 AM  
Blogger JMS said...

Does anyone know when the "Longest Trip" will be available in the UK, I can't wait to read it.


11:37 AM  
Blogger Nathália said...

Hello John, I have thirteen years and my name is Nathália, admired his book, Marley & me. And cried too much with the events portrayed. Congratulations by beautiful dog you had, the book is very exciting.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Marcia Regis said...

Helo John, greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! I am busting into tears after finishing your book, while my little dog Ully (a subnormal maltes, I would say) is quietly starring at me. He is never quiet, but is very loyal and sympathetic. Your book is wonderful and leave us reflecting on life, in its finitude and about the value of living it intensely day by day. I am also a journalist like you. All the best to you and your family. Regards, Marcia

8:07 AM  
Blogger SweetsMom said...

Dear Marley's Dad,
I can honestly tell you I am NOT a avid reader, the last book I read was about Cardiac Rhythms in college in the early 80s, I used to be a paramedic. I picked up Marley about a year or so ago, bought it to read because like everyone else who loves this book, I have a very special dog in my life, Sweetie a 8 year old Shih Tzu, whom I love as my best friend, my lil buddy. Even the smallest of dogs have antics they pull trust me. She is by no means a "Bocahontas" dog, never could or would be either, her best friend is also a 98lb Marley like lab.
This past week, we became victims of yet another Gulf hurricane, and of course the lights went out and I had to resort to reading again. I had read about 7 chapters of your book and put it down until this past week. I just finished reading your book yesterday. What a good book and most of all, what a good dog Marley was. You were so lucky to have had such a loyal buddy in your life. Everyone should be as lucky as us to have a 4 legged friend to come home to everyday.
Sounds like you may have realized in the end how much Marley taught you in his wonderful life. I believe every dog has so much to offer us mere humans beings. I never have taken a day for granted with my dog, and never will. You did not just honor Marley's life with the book but with your understanding of how he honored your life as a loyal family friend, son, brother and most of all a treasured pet. That was the most befitting honor you could have gave him. Sharing him with the world, that was a absolute delight for us.
Like I said, I was a paramedic and for years did that type of work and then before becoming a dog parent did not understand compassion as I do now. My lil dog has taught me more compassion than any accident victim ever could have. I am also the parent of the two legged type of child as well, but there is just something different about a helpless animal who looks to us for everything, unlike the human type dogs never can fend for themselves unlike growing children. On the days when you walk through the door and just want to be left alone there sits your loyal friend happy to see you no matter what type of day that either had although we may be less than happy to see any living being at the end of a long day but yet there they sit, waiting happily. There something to be said for that type of loyalty in this day and age.
John, thank you for sharing, your life,,,,Jenny's, the kids and most of all, Marley's life. Thanks for making a dark light-less week, full of light and joy and oh my God not to forget the laughter of reading about his antics. I laughed so much my neighbors asked what i was laughing about. Towards Chpt 25 the laughter did not come as much but the smiles where still there knowing you had the honor of one of life's most precious gifts, a great dog.
I always tell people when they ask my dogs age, that I have been her lucky and HONORED mom for 8 great years. And what a honor it's been. With great luck I will be bestowed that honor for several more years with Sweets. I am so happy to see that I am not the only person who gets this honor in life you and many of your readers understand that honor. If only we all could write about this honor I would read so much more!!!
Thank you John for the gift of writing and thank you Marley for having such a great life to share with the world.
Donna Connelly And Sweetie
Formerly of Upstate NY

8:15 AM  
Blogger Wild Woman said...

Hello John,
This is my first time to your website. I just finished Marley and Me. I was so happy to see you have another book coming out. I know it will be as good as the first book because you are a great story teller. I haven't laughed that hard at book since some of John Irving's books. And I cried harder than I did when I read Love Story at age 14. It simply was the best book I have read in years. Thank you for giving me a wonderful afternoon and the world Marley.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Thank you for the advanced reader for "The Longest Trip Home". I was delighted to read about your youth. I remember similar incidents in my own 70's school days that I shudder to think of now. I hope to see you at the GLBA, our bookclub is discussing Marley this month-I'll use this opportunity to promote your next book. Jamie Robinson, Bestsellers Books & Coffee, Mason, Mi.

5:35 AM  
Blogger Not so little Woman said...

If there is one thing I love about growing up, is the idea that we are on a path that is our own and different from that of our parents. Who we are, who we become and how we either return to the roots or find our separate path, is one of the most amazing things about living and getting to know oneself. I look forward to reading the new book.

9:25 AM  

hi, john, my name is Adrielle I have 17 years living in brazil and when I read Marley & Me and I have to tell you is that I am loving my congratulations to the book I'd like to have known Marley.
Te added in my blog I hope not because I incomode their super fan.
Beijos whole of Brazil.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Cris Prates said...

Congrats on the reviews. I'm longing to read your new book.

best wishes, from Brazil.

1:00 PM  
Blogger bazooka said...

Hello, John!
I finished to read your book yesterday (Marley & Me), cried enough.
I'm interested by the book, I was curious by the success of the book .. and mainly because my name is Marley, and my father gave me that name also by singer Bob Marley. :D

The story of Marley is beautiful, and I am sure that never any book moved me so much when "Marley & Me", thank you, and .. I am even thinking about buying a Labrador dog, I have a poodle. I am 20 years old and I live with my parents, more soon .. when to buy my house, certainly buying a Labrador.

Success John, I am Marley Kauê, from Brazil.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Nico said...

I can't wait to read the Longest Trip...I've lived in the metro area my entire life...I'm halfwahy thru Marley and me and I left a story about the love of my life Dexter.

I am looking forward to some of your signings in Michigan this fall, and if you happen to fly into DTW in the Northwest terminal, come see me at the new wine bar/restaurant it's called Vino Volo!!!!

7:51 PM  
Blogger soulchops1 said...

Hey john, got a small story here, you inspired me to write it. I also put it and a photo in your "share my story" section. Your book made me (a grown man) kinda break down and cry, so if i could toch your heart please read this, it wont take long. Thanks, ---a fan.
Mr. Titan "cherrybuster" chops is my now 2 year old black lab. The cherrybuster, rude as it may be, came from an inncident where he attacked a bowl of fresh cheeries, ruining my couch, carpet and some clothing! Chops is my nickname, and it was passed on to him.
Spring Lake, NJ is a town right on the beach, where rich old silverbacks, and young haughty people alike all live in multi-million dollar castles, mostly victorian, and drive their mercades benz cars WAY too slow. Everything is perfectly manacured in their lawns, and they keep to themselves or anyone else membered into the s.l. beach club. Well i rented in spring lake heights, the other side of the tracks, literally, in a tiny little house on a dead end street. sl heights wanted to be s.l. and has a high chin as well, any j-walking or public spitting might very well involve the police.
One day i came home from work, and expected the doggie love assault upon entering, but there was none. Strange, i thought, and called my girl to ask what time she would be bringing titan home. "I dont have him" she said. My heart skipped a beat. I ran out of the door and started calling his name. To no avail, i hopped in my truck just as my cell blew up. "This is the s.l. heights police department" Is this the owner of Titan the black lab? We have him in custody down town. PLease come immidiately." Down town, custody?!! What the hell was going on i thought. And raced down town. I dont know how many other people have had to pick their dogs up from being incarcarated, but it's funny as dog___ when you look at your pup sitting on the inside of a cell!!! There was my little blackface, staring up at me as if I just caught him drinking out of the toilet again! Yuk!
The cop filled me in...While i was at work, titan hopped through the wide open (which i thought was ok to leave wide open) window that separated my living room from the screened in sunporch. He then plowed through the screen of the exterior window. (which was a good four feet off the ground-the whole porch had a solid kneewall perimeter.) So superdog tears outta the house and b-lines accross the street at my neigbor. The problem was that my neigbor was a 95or so year old woman, who was out on her porch with her walker(which was as far as she would ever walk.) So she sees this 85lb black animal charging at her (no doubt in my mind for a thourough licking assault) and probably just made it inside, in the nick of time. Having absolutely nothing better to do, she calls the popo. When the zebra pulls up, it took a good half an hour for that cop to get tian in the car. Once downtown, the same cop was trying to get titan, as charming as he is, to come to him so the cop could pet him. Titan would not come. So the cop put a big cup of water down and stepped back. When titan came up to it and started drinking, and the cop slowly advanced, titey looked up while still drinking with those lab-eyes (you know what i mean), grabbed the cup in his mouth and walked backwards away from the cop! LOL- when i was told this, i almost set a bad example for titan by peeing myself indoors, until the i heard the whole thing was going to cost me nearly 300 freakin' dollars! No milkbones that night. Thanks for reading about my jailberg dog Mr. Titan. Good luck and hard labor of love to all you fellow lab lovers out there. -Kevin

10:10 PM  


10:12 AM  
Blogger MicPhilly said...

All I want to say is I can't wait for your book. I am so excited to read your new book! I loved Marley and Me.

I miss you in the Philly Inquirer. The paper is not the same. I wish you were back, maybe once in a while..... Please! Please! Please!


9:24 AM  
Blogger DonnaPicMeyer said...

Hi John!
Greetings from the old neighborhood! I just finished ready my brother's (D.P. aka Sack) copy of The Longest Trip Home. I enjoyed reading about your portrayals of the neighbors and figuring out their real names. How did you decide when to use real names and when to use fictitious ones? I laughed at your perception of my family. By the way, my Dad came to this country when he was 10 years old, went back to Italy after WWII, met and married my Mom and came back when they were in their twenties. The character Becky was a classmate of mine yet I did not know you two dated for so long. I was touched by the chapters relating to your Dad's illness and your Mom's memory loss. My Dad now suffers from Dementia as well. Growing up Catholic wasn't so bad, was it? It gave you fodder for your writings and made you part of the person you are today.

I enjoyed reading Marley & Me and wish you continued success with this new book. I will definitely buy a hard cover copy.

D.P.'s sister Donna

8:43 PM  
Blogger Anne Sisk said...

I have a dog named Bradley. Shortly after getting Bradley from a local shelter, I realized we had made a terrible mistake. Bradley, a beagle, was extremely destructive and disobedient, with very few (if any) redeeming qualities. Just when I had decided it was time for Bradley to go (much to my husband's was one of those me or the dog moments), Bradley ran away (he dug his way to freedom under a chain-link fence, summarily losing his collar and tag along the way). When we got him back three days later, I never wanted him out of my sight again. When I read your book, hugging Bradley close (so close he began to run from me every time I came near him), I appreciated the profound impact this book would have on dog lovers (speaking as someone who grew up with numerous cats and not a dog to be found). Marley and Me truly made me bawl like no other could (think Terms of Endearment x10), and for that I thank you...because now I will await your next book with bated breath, hoping it will touch me the way Marley and Me so clearly has. With deepest respect (less so from Bradley, who now runs from the constant attention...), Anne

7:21 PM  
Blogger Samson: Name & Nature said...

Hi John,

I can't wait to read your new book. Marley & Me is one of my favorite books because it was so personal and every page seems to come right out of my own experiences with my dog Samson. Only thing is Samson is a whole lot worst and much more destructive. I commend you for writing this book. I think if I can get those around me to read it they will be able to better understand why I can never give him up. After suffering another major episode with Samson I decided to start a blog about him. Right now he's boarding at the Vet because of the hole he has punched through my bedroom wall into the living room. I am starting a new VA work-at home business just so I can stay with him. My whole life has change because of my dog. Thank for letting me know that I'm not the only one that would go to these lengths for the love of her best friend.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Ana Beatriz said...

hey John!
I just finished your book and... I loved it!
I cried so hard in the end that I had to take a little break before finishing read @_@'
I'm a dog lover too and here at home we have 2 dogs that we love soooooo much: Kiddy and Nina. They don't have breed... my parents took Kiddy in an abandoned house in the neighborhood 8 years ago and my brother brought Nina 2 months ago... they're such like Marley: don't learn the rules easily, high "destruction potential", but at the same time sweet, lovely and loyal :D
me and my brother ever dreamed about have a lab, but my mom dont let us have one because it's a big dog, we already have 2 and there's no more space for one more dog, specially a big one(but be sure that when I got my own house i'll get a lab :D)
So... that's it... the whole Marley's history is wonderful and I can't wait to read "Longest Trip" :D
Ana Beatriz

2:22 PM  
Blogger Shelly (Ireland) said...

Hi John
I literally have just started reading the book (I am the worlds worst for finding time to read unless on holidays). we are heading out on our belated honeymoon to Las Vegas and Cancun this week and leaving our 2 ladies with my parents (1 yellow lab, Becky, a gentile enough lady, and Kerri a crazy chocolate who loves nothing more than to get her big sis into trouble). I will miss them like crazy. Ok so, I was intrigued by the chapter title so skipped ahead to have a quick look, chapter 10. I just perrused for references to Ireland and nearly PMSL. Back now to chapter 1 for me.

Anyway, I was searching for info on book signings while we are in the states and had heard from fellow lab lovers on that you might be there on the 4th of October for a "who let the dogs out" carnival in henderson pavilion but cant find any def info but I can see your there a couple of weeks later. Is there any truth in the rumour that you might be in LV on teh 4th of oct for a book signing?

So any info would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Shelly, In Creaky Mattress Ireland!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Marc Longstreet said...

I dismissed it as only a coincidence that I'd worked at the Herald-Palladium in 1980 with someone with the same name as the "Marley and Me" author. Your photo in a CMU publication as a '79journalism alum prompted a little reserach, and I discovered it's no coincidence. You may recall me as the person you trained to replace you on the police beat -- much to your relief. I hated the paper and St. Joe, and left after only a year, but I do recall our spending time together and commiserating about our early careers. (Remember Jim, our copy editor!?)Congratuations on your sterling career!

7:51 AM  
Blogger mai said...

Hi John, greetings from Belém, Brazil.Your book is wonderful!!!
I love dogs, I have 3.
I have your books: Marley and me and Bad dogs have more portuguese: Marley e eu and cachorros encrenqueiros se divertem mais.

Maiana M.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...


I just finished reading Marley and Me, in 1 day, and absolutely LOVED it! I just recommended it to friends of mine who have a golden lab puppy, who is a bit like your Marley. That they got shortly after the passing of the black lab last year.

I looked you up online after finishing the book and see it has been made into a movie, I hope they do your story justice!

I don't see any appearances in the lehigh valley. I'm assuming, of course, that you still live here.

Are there any plans to do an appearance in allentown anytime soon?

Lisa/allentown pa

5:23 PM  
Blogger Famella said...

hello John,
I've just finished Marley & Me that is the first hundred pages English book I 've read.I'm Thai.We learn English as second language.It's not easy for me to understand every words so I sometimes take my talking dictionary with me when I read the book.I just want to tell you that Marley & Me is fantastic.Marley is great ..well actually I just don't know how to say I think I need more than the word great for Marley.Can't wait to see the movie.And I would like to thank you for this wonderful story.Thank you so much.


8:13 AM  
Blogger The knife said...

Hi John,

My name is Kalyan and I live at Bombay, India.

I chanced upon Marley and Me when a friend of my wife got it from NY. Both my wife and I loved the book and have been recommending it to everyone we know ever since. In fact my wife specially ordered the book for me for my birthday as I love dogs. I so wish we could keep one. It's just that both of us go to work and we live in a tiny flat which would have driven good old Marley mad. Someday.

Thanks for giving us such a wonderful book. I look forward to seeing your new book in India.



3:25 AM  
Blogger Débora Nóbrega said...

Oi John,
Como me diverti ao ler o seu livro parabéns. Chorei ao final, compartilhando sua dor, pois perdi um dálmata que ficará para a história.
Vivi cada cena de seu livro como se estivesse presente, assistindo de camarote todas as peripécias de seu e "nosso" adorado Marley.
Um grande abraço a você e toda sua família!
Débora Nóbrega

7:52 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hello John!

I just finished your book "Marley and Me" and enjoyed i very much! I have never owned a dog, but would like to someday. i have grown up with cats and currently have two. thank you for writing such a great book.

Jennifer G.

3:45 PM  
Blogger elijah_chan said...

hey john,it is my first time to read your book. Marley a dog like no other, the one with the red cover. i must say it is also my first time to finish a book with no illustrations, because i get bored often with those. but this one really got me hooked, this book of yours is really good. i even told them to my friends. unfortunately "Marley: a dog like no other" is the only one available in the shelves right now. Looking forward to read the others.

Everyone could fall for a dog like Marley, you know.

Dog lover and "Dog-died" owner,

8:38 AM  
Blogger PaulaMP said...

I belong to Shelfari, the online book "club" and so many people had read Marley and Me that I finally decided to do so. I almost put it down for good last night reading the part where your wife was beating Marley, I had no idea your book contained such a scene. While I understand she was having problems, it broke my heart that he stood there and let her hit him. I'm hoping the rest of the book will be more uplifting. It sounds like you were blessed to have him in your life.

5:45 PM  

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