A Profile in the Philadelphia Inquirer
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I'm back home from nine days on the road, on a tour leg that took me from New York to Boston to Chicago to Las Vegas to Phoenix to Denver and back to Philadelphia. Whew, I'm ready to stay home and eat leftovers for a while. During my two nights in Chicago I received a visit from John Timpane, a Philadelphia Inquirer writer whom I had never before met despite my having worked there from 2002 to 2007. The poor guy got stuck flying all the way to Chicago to spend two hours interviewing me, then turned right around and flew back. Damn, and I was looking forward to having someone to hit Rush Street with. (Actually, my childhood best friend, Rock, who is a major player in The Longest Trip Home, was on hand to fill that function.)
At any rate, Timpane, himself a published author and poet, struck me as a skilled professional on top of his craft -- and believe me I have seen the total spectrum of journalists since Marley & Me came out, from the sublime to the sub-prime. His piece came out in today's Inquirer, and I thought it was fair and well done. I appreciated how it explored the connection between column writing and the memoir, and how one led me to the other.
It begins like this:
'Marley' led author to his new memoir
By John Timpane
Inquirer Staff Writer
CHICAGO - His dog has been very, very good to John Grogan.
He's living a writer's dream: In a luxury suite on the 30th floor of Chicago's sparkly Ritz-Carlton, plush furnishings, room service scrambling with the wine, urban spires all but leaning through the windows, the former Inquirer columnist is relaxing, beer in hand.
His 2005 memoir, Marley & Me, about life with his yellow Lab, Marley, has sold more than five million copies, and the movie opens Christmas Day, starring Owen Wilson as Grogan and Jennifer Aniston as his wife, Jenny (about which Jenny had few complaints).
There's Marley for adults, many kinds of Marley for kids (Marley: A Dog Like No Other; Bad Dog, Marley!; A Very Marley Christmas), not to mention dozens of non-Grogan Marley knockoffs in which people's lives are forever changed by their close relations with owls, cats, buffalo and parrots.
Now Grogan has written The Longest Trip Home (William Morrow, 352 pp., $25.95), a memoir of growing up in an Irish Catholic family, breaking away, and, through "gravitational pull," coming back full circle. Longest Trip, in effect, is the book Marley let him write. Both stemmed from a discovery Grogan made as a columnist: Readers crave personal connection.....
To read the entire story, please follow this link.
(And yeah, that top-floor suite was certainly sweet, but the untold story is that it was a free upgrade from a standard room, more a reflection on how much business my publisher, Harper Collins, does with the hotel chain -- and the state of the current economy -- than on anything to do with me. I definitely enjoyed it, though, especially the view of my beloved Lake Michigan, on which I spent my 20s sailing.)
P.S. - To read the complete reviews in The New York Times and Publisher's Weekly that Timpane references in the story, please click "Reviews" at the top of this page.
posted by John Grogan at 7:29 PM