Off Across the Pond
Friday, January 30, 2009
I'm writing this next to the woodstove in my writing studio on a snowy night here in eastern Pennsylvania. But tomorrow I will get a change of scenery. I leave to fly to London for a two-week tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland to promote my latest book, The Longest Trip Home. I'm really looking forward to returning to one of my favorite parts of the world and reconnecting with readers there in person. The last time I was in London was almost a year ago when I was a finalist for the British Book Award in the biography category. I did not win, but I sure had a great time and enjoyed speaking to so many British readers who helped make Marley & Me a #1 bestseller in the UK.
My Longest Trip Home tour will take me from London to Dublin to Belfast, then back to England to visit the cities of Liverpool, Lancaster, and Manchester. If you live in any of these areas, please drop in to see me at one of my events. For more information on the British release of The Longest Trip, please visit: http://www.hodder.co.uk
Meanwhile back here in the United States, I continue to get really wonderful emails at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to write. I cannot begin to answer them all (though I try), but I do read them all and take strength and encouragement from your words.
As you might expect, many of my daily emails are about the Marley & Me movie, which is just now winding down after its holiday run, which landed it as the #1 movie in America for two weeks. But the emails that most touch my heart are about The Longest Trip Home, a book that is so personal for me.
Many of your letters are so beautiful and heartfelt, I wanted to share a few.
From Janet Smith:
"I just finished your new book "The Longest Trip Home" and felt a need to let you know how deeply your book touched me. What wonderful parents you had. Your father reminded me of mine who also passed away about 7 years ago. They leave behind a beautiful legacy in each of us. I have cried through your 2 books so far and right now am still crying over this one. I find it amazing that your books really dig deep in all of us and touch a part of us we sometimes forget about. But, I can also tell you that after reading these books I feel really good and optimistic about life again. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."
From Janice White in Ontario, Canada:
"I applaud you, John Grogan, for touching my heart like no other author has. Both Marley & Me and The Longest Trip Home brought on every emotion possible. I laughed and cried as I reflected on our similar stories."
From Mary Spalding:
" I have just finished The Longest Trip Home... Your metamorphosis from Baltimore Catechism to spiritual seeker is so beautifully told. Your respect and openness is heartfelt. Marley touched me so and now this story-- Wow! Thank you so much. Your very personal experiences and feelings shared allowed me to see with your eyes. Thank you.
From Leslie Jones:
"I may be the only person on earth who read The Longest Trip Home before Marley and Me. Your book is amazing to me in a personal way. My husband and I are just your age, and I've never read a book that so closely mirrors my childhood--not the religious part, but all the every day stuff of suburban USA in the 60's and 70's. You also nailed the family dynamic--the parents and the adult children, and the process of breaking away into your own new family. I know you were just writing about your family but the way you did it was so masterful, and allows all of us readers to remember our own experiences and relate."
From Kelly Francani near Philadelphia:
"First let me begin by saying that I've never attempted to provide feedback (good or bad) to an author, but I felt compelled to let you know just how much I enjoyed your memoir, The Longest Trip Home. I finished it this afternoon. I'm not one for words, so I won't go on and on, but simply put I was deeply moved by your book. Not only was it well written, but I loved that you included the good, the bad, and the uncomfortable! I laughed and cried (read: sobbed uncontrollably) at the end, but still walked away feeling inspired and grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story and demonstrating how it is hard to break away from your family, start your own, and then live somewhere in between the two realms!"
From Mary Claire Schmidt:
"What an incredible gift you have! Today I read The Longest Trip Home. Once again, just as I did reading Marley and Me, I laughed out loud and cried. Your stories are so personal that readers can not help but relate your experiences to their own lives. In my case, for the most part, it was start to finish in both books."
From Betty Kruszka:
" I'm a tad intimidated writing a writer and yet having just finished reading The Longest Trip Home I feel brave enough to try. Your book resonated so deeply in me, I felt as though it was simply the male version of my own childhood. John, you truly do have a gift. I have read and truly enjoyed both of your books. You have the uncanny ability to make me burst out laughing and then burst out crying all before finishing a single chapter. Thanks for filling a few hours of my life with both joy-filled laughter and sweet sad tears as you took me on a trip home that reminded me so much of my own."
And from Father Louis Lohan, an Irish Catholic priest in Mississippi:
" For the past two weeks, I have been listening to your book “The Longest Trip Home.” From very early on in the book, I have wanted to write to you or be in contact with you somehow. My first reason for wanting to contact you was to tell you how clearly I heard the echo of my own childhood and youth—totally different from yours but somehow there were so many similarities... Your book is beautiful. Thanks for sharing so openly and honestly."
Now it's time for me to get some sleep. I have a plane to catch tomorrow! Again, thanks everyone, for all the great feedback.
posted by John Grogan at 8:06 PM