John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


books


Letters from the heart

Friday, March 06, 2009

Part of my morning routine -- after the coffee, the New York Times, and the walk with the two dogs (as you dog owners know, not necessarily in that order) -- is to log on to my email here at johngroganbooks.com and see what's new. Every day there is a fresh batch of messages from all over the world and from people of all ages and walks of life. My readers from Brazil are especially enthusiastic correspondents, so thank you Brazilians for all the warm missives.

As you might guess, I get an immense kick out of the notes and letters from children, who -- yes, it's true -- can say the darnedest things, such as the little boy who wrote to breathlessly break the news to me: "Hey, did you know someone made a movie out of your book?"

Some have already mastered the art of the hard sell, such as 11-year-old Jasmine M. in Aurora, Illinois, who lobbied: "Please can you give me a book with an autograph? It will be a dream come true because I've always wanted a book with an autograph. It would be a dream come true. Wouldn't you like to make my dream come true? Won't you feel special because you will make my dream come true?" Jasmine's letter goes on for several more paragraphs, putting the screws to me for that autograph. In case her subtlety was lost on me, she closes: "Well, that's all I want to let you know. I really want the book with the autograph. Pretty please?" Yes, Jasmine, your autograph is on the way. Uncle!

Then there are the letters that touch my heart. Here's an example that I just opened this morning, reminding me of the power of words on paper to affect lives and make friends of strangers:

Dear Mr. Grogan,

It is a rare book that can send me into convulsions of laughter out loud, but that is exactly what your book has done for me. I inherited my love for dogs (actually most animals except for spiders) from my father. Growing up, I had a border collie mix who was indeed one of those “mentally unstable dogs, and oh how we loved that dog named Buffy.

Last night while relaxing and drinking coffee at a Starbucks, I went into completely rapturous, roaring laughter while reading the “Alfresco Dining” chapter. Witnesses, I’m sure, took me for one of those “mentally unstable people”. Some though, when passing by me, smiled knowingly when they observed what I was reading.

Why is this so special that I should be writing my first letter to an author? Well you see in November, my very best friend for over 33 years was diagnosed with reoccurring breast cancer. This was not supposed to happen. We had always been there for each other since we were 16. No matter what, I knew that Anita was always in my corner. When we picked the wrong guys, we always vowed that we would be there for each other in our old age. Two old ladies with dozens of cats, (cat people too!) and dogs. You know the crazy ladies. Unfortunately, on December 3rd, my dearest friend died, leaving me to contemplate my future as one crazy old lady with cats and dogs.

In addition, while away one weekend to be with Anita, my elderly mother fell. After three years of me being her sole caregiver, I came to the realization that I could no longer keep her safe. And so she moved into a nursing home. This decision she has accepted and I am in anguish over. I am still reeling from both events. But your book has given me so much joy.

So thank you Mr. Grogan for your wonderful gift of storytelling, for sharing your lives and Marley’s with us and most important for making me genuinely laugh. I am eagerly looking forward to reading your new book.

Sherri S.
Newport News, VA


And from suburban Chicago, here's another note I opened this week and which reminded me how universal our individual, everyday life voyages can be:

Dear John,
I just finished reading "The Longest Trip Home" in record time. It was like reading about my life and it touched me like no other book -- and I read a lot.

I grew up in Chicago in a Catholic family. I laughed out loud when you recounted the rituals of the mass, being an altar boy (I was a lector, but at that time women were still not allowed on the altar), and I especially related to the much dreaded task of going to confession!! As I read on, I couldn't believe the comparisons. I even worked in my church's rectory, too!

Your teen years were a lot like mine and I found myself glued to every page. ... The end of the book was no different. It touched me tremendously.

I could go on and on, but I just wanted to let you know how much your book affected me. I loaned it from the library, but plan on buying my own copy soon. It is one of those books I will treasure forever. Thank you for writing it.

P.S. Not to forget, I read Marley a few years ago. Loved it! Cried a lot! I still quote lines from that book that were so memorable to me.

Carol N.
Naperville, Ilinois


To everyone who has taken the time to write, thank you. I can't begin to respond to them all, but please know that I do read nearly every one -- and they bring me a lot of joy and satisfaction. Keep 'em coming!

posted by John Grogan at 7:06 AM

44 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moon said...

John, I just finished "The Longest Trip Home" what a read. I know people have said how much it reminded them of there childhood, but I can tell you growing up an Irish Catholic in the Boston area at the exact time and age was a mirror image. I too had a smoking / everything tree. I could go on and on about the memories it brought back but I will end it there. In a word John "Fantastic". You are definitely someone I would love to sit with over a Beer and reminisce. Best Regards, Mark!

6:47 AM  
Blogger Gi said...

Hi, John!
Cute letter from Jasmine! lol
Thank you for always posting!
I've just finished reading Marley and Me for the millionth time, and every time I read it, I love it even more!
So, thanks, for 2 outstanding books, that makes me laugh and cry everytime.
Regards,
Giovana - 19
São Paulo - Brazil

10:38 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

John: Thank God for your book, Marley and Me, which I just finished reading over the weekend. Last year, I took in a yellow lab that just showed up at my home with a broken hip. I live way out in the country and no one claimed him. He's about 2 years old now. I thought he was crazy! I've had dogs all my life, but nothing like this. I feel SO much better now that I know his behaviors, which have included eating the drywall in my dining room and a game I call "Taking out the Mama" which involves crashing into me at full speed, are just cuz he's a lab. What a relief!! He's a daily blessing in my life and your book has taught me to treasure these madcap times with him.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Nikki said...

This is more of a question. I put my 13 year old black lab recently and I wanted to know how hard it really is to stay and watch the vet put him or her down. I loved her so much although I could not find it possible to be in that position. If you can reply please I want to know how hard it was for you, because I wont make the same mistake of letting a dog go through this alone.

Thanx!!!!

P.s It is ok if there is no possible way to reply=)

5:35 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Oops I meant I put my 13 year old black lab to sleep recently.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Nikki,

This is my personal opinion. I have been with four dogs while they were being put down. It is not easy, and since all of them had serious medical issues I don't know if they really knew I was there, but I felt better knowing I was with them. It is much better now than it was years ago. They give them something first that relaxes them. So sorry for your loss, Gayle

9:56 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Thank you Gayle

12:27 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Hi John,
I have just come back form watching Marley and Me at the cinema amd I cried so much. It brough back memories of my life as a dog owner, parent (of four), wife, mother and feature writer for our regional newspaper (The Liverpool Echo). Thanks so much.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Jaqueline_BR said...

Hi John,

How are you?? Thank you for that you said about the Brazillians fans!!! Wonderful messages!!!

Jaqueline

6:04 PM  
Blogger Lisbet said...

Dear John,

Thank you for giving us all Marley. My own Marley is our 10-months old golden retriever Daisy, stunningly beautiful and sweet... Looking forward to watching the movie (it has not reached Brussels yet) and to reading your new book!

About putting dogs down: Our old labrador, Elsa, was put down three years ago, at the age of 13, peacefully, in my arms, she just fell into a deep, comfortable sleep that relieved her of her pain. I was surprised how humane it was.

Barking regards to you all,
Lisbet

9:00 AM  
Blogger Shorty said...

Thank you for your dedication to your fans, John. You seem to be a wonderful person... and you ARE a wonderful author!
-Erin

12:42 PM  
Blogger Arlene Hermann said...

John:)

I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your book "Marley and Me" I love your writing style so much and how much you made us feel like we were apart of your family with all the antics Marley had done and it truly cheered me up on my sad low days. It made me laugh out loud! What a blessing you are to me and God has truly blessed you with the gift of writing. I am now reading "Bad Dogs Have More Fun *Selected Writings on Family Animals and Life from The Philadelphia Inquirer*"I have it almost three quarters finished and I started reading it Wednesday, March 11th. Thank you so much for sharing Marley with us and I DID watch that episode on the Dog Whisperer about Gracie. I enjoyed seeing you and Jenny. Hugs to you John and your family!

Love,
Arlene Hermann :D
xoxo

1:41 PM  
Blogger Arlene Hermann said...

Hi John:)

I just finished your book, "Marley and Me" and thoroughly enjoyed the book and felt so at home reading it being that I am such a dog lover. I hated it to be finished when i finished it. I love your writing style and I truly felt like I was right there and felt like i was apart of your family. It really helped me through some sad days and truly cheered me up. God has truly blessed you with the gift of writing. I am reading right now, "Bad Dogs Have More Fun *selected Writings* on Family, Animals and Life from The Philadelphia Inquirer" I have it three quarters finished and I started it on Tuesday, March 10th. I love it very much and look forward to getting your latest book. Hugs to you and your family. I DID get to see the Dog Whisperer about Gracie and loved it very much. Have a great Friday and weekend.

Love,
Arlene Hermann :D
xoxo

1:48 PM  
Blogger Love This Life said...

Dear Dog Lover John,

You are such a wonderful writer and when I picked up the book recently at the library on a family trek out for DVDs and books I just noticed your's on the rack near the checkout... All the hype with the movie and having had dogs (yellow labs) growing up I couldn't resist - I finished it in a day (fast for me)... I laughed so hard at many of the escapades and of course tears fell towards the end... what a wonderful life you've enjoyed, family, good times and that amazing dog of your's - his pictures were identical to our Akins Prince Sterling who my Mum picked out from a backyard breeder when I was a teen and who I slept with as he cried that first night too - many great memories came back to me and I thank you for your superb, warm, funny, real life book John! Best wishes and Peace (0:

7:05 PM  
Blogger Ms. Lucie said...

Hi John, I just finished reading "Marley and Me," and must run out to get your other book. I am so impressed with your writing style and was so touched by your tales of Marley. I have two dogs: one is like your Gracie, a sweet, gentle, golden retriever named Jasmine. We call her "the good one." The other is my little Beagle named Britni. We call her "Trouble." And now, after reading about your book, I call her my little Marley dog. My doggies are 10 and 5 respectively, and I can't bear to think of not having them in our lives. I agree with you that they have deeply impacted our lives as a family. I love them dearly and lavish them with love every single day. Thank you for writing such an insightful tale of what is truly important in life. God bless. Lucie

2:12 PM  
Blogger Bracken said...

Hi, John - greetings from Portugal! I read your book three years ago and still is on my mind. After that, I adopted a portuguese podengo and I don't know who's crazier - if Marley or Mofli, my little devil. I would like to recommend you an american author that reminds me of your writing. His name's Richard Hewitt and he wrote two wonderful books with the same humor I found in Marley&Me. Except he doesn't write about dogs, but about portuguese fate - or craziness. The books are called "A Cottage in Portugal" and "The Return to the Cottage in Portugal". You should read it, I'm sure you'll laugh really hard.
Thanks and please keep writing! (sporry for my bad english!).

3:20 PM  
Blogger Podge said...

Dear John,
I finished your book Marley and Me yesterday (St. Patrick's Day)and have never enjoyed a documentary novel as much before. All I can say is thank you such a enlightening description of your best mates life. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog who devotes her life to my wife and I, although she doesn't get up the mischief like old Marley she shadows us everywhere we go. Before I read your book I had been wondering what would life be like without our four legged daughter and your description of taking Marley for his final journey brought a flood of tears, I am going to have to prepare myself for that horrible day, reflection on her great achievements and contribution to our lives.

Thank you again, kind regards.

Paddy

7:38 AM  
Blogger Podge said...

Dear John,
I finished your book Marley and Me yesterday (St. Patrick's Day)and have never enjoyed a documentary novel as much before. All I can say is thank you such a enlightening description of your best mates life. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog who devotes her life to my wife and I, although she doesn't get up the mischief like old Marley she shadows us everywhere we go. Before I read your book I had been wondering what would life be like without our four legged daughter and your description of taking Marley for his final journey brought a flood of tears, I am going to have to prepare myself for that horrible day, reflection on her great achievements and contribution to our lives.

Thank you again, kind regards.

Paddy

7:39 AM  
Blogger Podge said...

Dear John,
I finished your book Marley and Me yesterday (St. Patrick's Day)and have never enjoyed a documentary novel as much before. All I can say is thank you such a enlightening description of your best mates life. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog who devotes her life to my wife and I, although she doesn't get up the mischief like old Marley she shadows us everywhere we go. Before I read your book I had been wondering what would life be like without our four legged daughter and your description of taking Marley for his final journey brought a flood of tears, I am going to have to prepare myself for that horrible day, reflection on her great achievements and contribution to our lives.

Thank you again, kind regards.

Paddy

7:39 AM  
Blogger Patrícia Passarinho said...

Hi John!

My name is Patricia and I´m writing from Portugal. I just went now to the cinema to watch "Marley and Me". I just loved your book and in 4 days I read it all!Your history with Marley is just beautiful. I also love dogs, although I haven´t got one as I want. Maybe one day. Keep writing, because I truly believe that you have real talent to tell stories.
A big kiss to you and to your family from Portugal.

***

11:48 AM  
Blogger SCP said...

I love that I went to see the film today (even if I mentally shut down during the last part); I love that I came across your site and I love that I sold many of your books (I'm a bookseller). I haven't read it yet because I wanted to avoid the ending. I'm so soft when it comes to dogs that I need to skip a page or two when any dog characters are being harmed in a fictional book.

But I have to read "Marley & Me" now. It's harder because my dog is getting older (and started to limp)and part of me (well the whole me) wants to kick and scream and ask God what the hell was he thinking when he decided dogs were to live only for about a decade?

I'm going to keep up to date with your blog now. I can't wait to read the book...
Take care.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Rich, Jane, Boomer, and Daisy . . . said...

John, my husband and I loved Marley & Me . . . as a writer and former editor, I found it so well written and moving, yet hilarious at the same time.

We've just started a blog about our dogs. I'd love for you to check it out sometime!

Warmly, Jane Struck
thewoofgang.blogspot.com

6:03 PM  
Blogger deborah said...

Hi John, we are all awaiting the idea of another John Grogan reader, and how envious I am of the newspaper, coffee and dog walking. Did you ever think that was going to come out of it all-I enjoy writing and reading myself although my diabetic condition keeps me on its own routine of early rising,walking and eating on schedule-it sounds so wonderful to just do what you want-not that it is not deserved, but think of us who cannot just do with that kind of abandon-it makes me thankful for you but wishing things were different for me

6:11 PM  
Blogger deborah said...

Hi John, we are all awaiting the idea of another John Grogan reader, and how envious I am of the newspaper, coffee and dog walking. Did you ever think that was going to come out of it all-I enjoy writing and reading myself although my diabetic condition keeps me on its own routine of early rising,walking and eating on schedule-it sounds so wonderful to just do what you want-not that it is not deserved, but think of us who cannot just do with that kind of abandon-it makes me thankful for you but wishing things were different for me

6:11 PM  
Blogger beagle79 said...

Dear John,

I can relate to what you mean when you say "Hyper" dog. My dog is a Rat Terrier, a breed I knew nothing about before the day I decided to take one under my care. He runs circles aroud the yard all day, barking, me chasing after him, tired, promising myself that I will call somebody to put in a fence. I take him biking (on a leash, which isn't exactly fun because, like Marley, Baxter seems to think that every other blade of grass is a bomb, and his job is to sniff it out), play frisbee with him, practice hurdles with him (flyball AND agility champ soon!)
, and play with him in the water near the creek where I live. I am only 11 years old, and I fear for the day in which I will lose my beloved furball.

But, you can't live your whole life in fear, so Baxter and I just enjoy the moment!!! And when it snows, Baxter explodes. Snow frisbee? Why not? And when summer comes around, he graduates to water frisbee. Fall? Smashing into leaf piles to get that frisbee! Spring? Taunting the birds, and, oh, playing frisbee.

-Steph and Baxter
Philadelphia,PA

4:43 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Hi john,I love Marley and Me,is emotion,fantastic...''grad book!''grad legions!(in Brasil,soy)


Love
Julia!

9:33 PM  
Blogger Mike Sawatske said...

John,
Finally got around to reading Marley and Me. What a great description of life with a Lab, even if they aren't all as crazy as Marley!
Thoroughly enjoyed it as it has encapsulated our lives and thoughts of two Labs in our lifetime and currently another two, although one is just a day visitor but has a screw loose like Marley. They are true to your descriptions in every way just variations in personality.
Cheers from Australia
Mike

1:41 AM  
Blogger Tanya Hallett UK said...

John,
I have just finished your amazing book, Marley and me. I found myself laughing, crying then laughing some more. I first heard about your story, when i was whatching 'The Dog Wisperer', and as soon as I had the chance, went to the nearest book store to get my hands on it, as I wanted to read the book before I watched the film, witch I am really looking forward to seeing. I know exactly how you felt about Marley when he was young, as I used to work in Kennels, and so saw quite a fue dogs (mostley golden labs) just like him, Thank You so much for an amazing read.
Tanya

3:50 PM  
Blogger karzoopa said...

Hi John,

I just finished reading your book Marley and ME and watched the movie over the weekend. I laughed and cried throughout both. I can totally relate to your story as I have a yellow lab named Buddy and a beagle named Bailey. Buddy is 6 years old and Bailey is 4. Buddy is a much better behaved dog than Marley, but when he was a pup, he would put anything in his mouth that was not nailed down. One thing I do know about all labs is their devotion, loyalty and sweet personalities. My beagle is not as well behaved as Buddy, but she is a sweet dog though a little on the stubborn side. I also wanted to mention that your dog Gracie looks a lot like my dog Buddy too. Anyway God Bless you and your family and keep writing great books. Karen from Spotsylvania, VA

12:13 PM  
Blogger kimphoenixsedona said...

I am not much of a reader. I never have been. Always too busy with other things in my life, as many people are these days. I have only finished 2 books in my entire life so far, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Marley and me. I absolutely loved Marley and Me so very much. I have 2 dogs of my own, 1 Border collie named Sedona, and 1 Australian Cattle dog mix named Phoenix, both of whom I love more than life itself. I am always worried though, about when the time will come to say goodbye to my best friends and most loyal companions. They have been with me through address changes, new roommates, fights with roommates and many other things. When I lost the best job I ever had, my dogs were right there to lick off my tears. Both of my dogs are rescues. I, like John, had dogs growing up. They were family pets though, not my dog. Phoenix is my 1st ever dog. I bought him when I didn’t have enough money for gasoline, let alone dog food, but I knew he was the one for me. He was 3 years old and I was his 5th home when I adopted him, and after just a few hours I realized why. I had to go to work the day I brought him home so I left him in my bedroom while I was gone. I worked 8 hours that day and when I returned home I didn’t have a bed to sleep in. He had ripped it to shreds. He was also very dog aggressive when I first got him, which was something I had no clue about until his 1st attack. It was a golden retriever, just walking by with its owner, minding its own business. Phoenix attacked it, biting the poor dog. When I pulled him off the other dog he bit me on the arm very badly. For the weeks and months to come I realized just how bad his aggression was. He would bite me every time a dog was in sight, if any part of me brushed against him. He would go into a trance, watching the dog’s every move. 2 years of much needed training, done by yours truly, had finally broken my dog of his indisgressions. He was very badly abused before I had gotten him, and he cowered when I patted my leg for him to bring me the ball I had just thrown for him. I promised him that he would never be given up and that I would never hurt him. To this day I have kept my promise, mostly. After I got him, I found out from the landlord that I could not have him where I lived. I had never lived on my own and the only reason I moved out of my parent’s house was to get this dog. Thankfully, a friend of mine’s mom took him into her home for me for the next 6 months. That was the only time in his life with me we have been apart more than a day or 2. He is eight years old now, and I have many fond memories of him, not that we are not still making more every day. My favorite picture of him is when I first got him. He watched over me as I slept and my roommate got a picture of him doing it. He is my guardian angel.

4:35 PM  
Blogger irish eyes said...

Dear John,
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your book and movie Marley & Me I have the plesure of being a foster dog uncle of two yellow labs one 13 the other 8 not in the same house. I also was the owner of a dog non lab but just as great shepard mix I loved the part you buried M arley in the back yard i was able to do the same worst night of my life 15 yrs still not able to get a new dog loved him to much I think i read you did get a new dog good for you it just hurts to much if you know what i mean

9:27 PM  
Blogger nicohumor said...

John:
when I read Marley and Me, it gave me a sense of completion for an odd reason. Before going into law, I worked at a few small town newspapers in Colorado, and had a humor column which occasionally focused on the eccentricities of our 120-pound black lab mix Jesse, who was part bar bouncer, part Kodiak bear, part good-ol boy and part teddy bear.

Due to financial reasons, I gave up the writing, but always wanted to write more columns about our troublesome canine. I almost feel as if you wrote our story, for which I am curiously grateful. You have a smidgen of curmudgeon, coupled with a healthy cupful of articulate and real storytelling ability, which gives me hope that there is still reason to find love in even the most difficult creatures.

Although my wife and I now have the most obedient, well-dispositioned and housebroken Huskie, I still somehow miss those days of calumny with Jessie - just like Marley.

I am about to start your newest venture, the Longest Trip Home. Though I am not Catholic, I was brought up Episopalian, which people in the know tell me is two short doors down from Catholicism, and still considered a real man's religion, or so I'm told.

Keep up the good work.
James

8:14 PM  
Blogger Tina-Marie Talvi said...

Hi John, I just found this website and I'm thrilled. What an amazing thing to find an author so dedicated to his fans and wanting to hear their stories. You are a rare find, Mr. Grogan. God Bless You!! I posted my own story and picture of our puppy Lucy in "share your stories". As a cantor in a Roman Catholic church near Boston, I am eager to read your newest book. Thank you Thank You THANK YOU for sharing your life and your loves with the world. We are so grateful. With best wishes and love, Tina, Matt, Mariah, Amanda and Lucy...

5:55 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi John!
Thank you so much for the beautiful tribute to Marley and for sharing it with all of us. I am soooo sorry for your loss. I just finished "Marley and Me" this morning. I was reading it at work, but as I neared the end and started sobbing, I realized I needed to finish it at home, alone.
I started this book knowing he would die at the end and thinking I could handle it. I did not expect to be drawn so deeply into this book. I laughed out loud at all the Marley antics. Milk Bone breath just about killed me!!
You brought back memories of my German Sheppard, Max, who we had to put down 4 years ago. She was 14 and her hips also went. You made me think of the 2 clowns I have now...Fred and Brian. Brian is a Black Mouth Cur and Fred is a Catahoula-Beagle mix. They are 3 years old now and we still have tooth marks in our walls. Seems Brian had a taste for drywall, rugs, paper, etc. But the grossest treat he had was to follow Fred around when he pooped and treat him like his very own soft serve machine!!! Yeah...it was nasty.
As I finished your book this morning, tears running down my face, nearly unable to see the print, Fred crawled into my lap and kept licking my face.
Dogs bring a joy that nothing else can. I cannot imagine life without them. They bring unconditional love, companionship, loyalty and joy...and they are good for our health too. They are the complete package.
Thank you so much for bringing us all into your family and sharing with us.
Love,
Dawn

6:12 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Just found your blog. Loved your book and the movie. Marley looked just like my first guide dog, Pantera and her final days were similar to Marley's ... so I sat there in the movie theater with my husband and parents tears of love and gratitude for Pantera, Marley and all loving dogs at the end of the movie. My new guide, Cricket was at my feet - unsure of what all the emotion was about. Thanks for writing -- it is a gift.

9:02 PM  
Blogger carol said...

thank you...i just finished laughing and crying with a bunch of senior and crippled, homeless dogs keeping me company while i watched the movie marley and me.
marley had a truly good family.
sometimes i forget there are well loved dogs out there too, thank you for the reminder.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Luciana Maria said...

Nenhum comentário do Brasil... cadê os brasileiros!!!!!!
John... vc me fez chorar com o livro... puxa e como chorei!!!!!
Parabéns.... lindo demais!

Luciana

4:17 PM  
Blogger rahul said...

Surrounded by two of my closest friends, sitting at a posh restaurant I kept looking at a plastic containing what was to be my farewell gift. Yes, this was my farewell dinner, hosted by me for Rossi and Varsha who have (and hopefully will) seen me through the ups and downs of life. Now before I get into the finer details of the gift you, the reader, need to know something about me. I absolutely HATE reading. I have absolutely hated it all my life and my only visits to bookstores were in the hope that I get a glance at some good eye candy.

So as and when I had a look at the contents inside the plastic I was not too thrilled to se a book titled “Marley and Me”. In my mind I said “God, I wish that was a cool Video Game”. Me and Varsha have had this argument before….I have always stuck to my point “A gift should be something usable”…whereas for Varsha a gift should mean something. I can’t say I was terribly excited but the only thing that could attract me towards reading this book or giving it a glance was its topic i.e. it explored the relationship between a dog named Marley and his owner John. Being an extreme dog lover and one who has lived with as many as 5 dogs the subject matter of the book was the only thing keeping it from gathering dust and so the pages began to flip……

It has taken me approximately 2-3 months to complete the book and I often had to find time between shifting to a new country and all the pressures that come with it but one thing for sure, this one book had me hooked. What I am attempting to put into words is not a review of the book as I lack the critical or eloquent touch. My column is simple…..A man who hated books …read a book …which he did not want in the first place…and somewhere deep inside…....it changed him!

Each time I read a chapter I recalled memories of various dogs I had owned and similar experiences I had encountered in my life thus far. Marley, much like my present dog Joshua made me laugh and cry. There are times when I love Joshua and there are times when I absolutely hate him. There are times when I ask myself was getting a dog at this stage of my life the best decision and then….there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and see Joshua sleeping besides me , making me realize he is not a dog …..he is family. Through my times of being a mediocre student in college, a lost graduate trying to land a perfect job and then a satisfied professional living his dream I can imagine my popularity radar has gone up and down among people I know. However, what I can absolutely guarantee is the fact that through all this time the one soul who always waited for me near the door in anticipation of celebrating the joys and even sorrows of life was my faithful friend Joshua. For Joshua, through his 8 years of life (and counting) , Rahul Nath is and forever will be his best friend.

As I finished reading the book I was saddened by the impending knowledge that even Joshua, much like Marley, will bid farewell someday. I was saddened that in my pursuit of my own goals I may have missed out on few precious minutes to bond with the family member who always insisted that his was the first face I saw in the morning. However, there is something more to the book than just Marley. The book made me realize no matter where I stay (Mansion or Hut), no matter what I earn (Dollars or Rupees) and no matter what my designation is in the future….the only thing which can make me happy is coming back home to a loving family waiting for me and a four legged beast ready to pounce on me ,to lick the days sweat off my face.

9:10 AM  
Blogger rahul said...

Surrounded by two of my closest friends, sitting at a posh restaurant I kept looking at a plastic containing what was to be my farewell gift. Yes, this was my farewell dinner, hosted by me for Rossi and Varsha who have (and hopefully will) seen me through the ups and downs of life. Now before I get into the finer details of the gift you, the reader, need to know something about me. I absolutely HATE reading. I have absolutely hated it all my life and my only visits to bookstores were in the hope that I get a glance at some good eye candy.

So as and when I had a look at the contents inside the plastic I was not too thrilled to se a book titled “Marley and Me”. In my mind I said “God, I wish that was a cool Video Game”. Me and Varsha have had this argument before….I have always stuck to my point “A gift should be something usable”…whereas for Varsha a gift should mean something. I can’t say I was terribly excited but the only thing that could attract me towards reading this book or giving it a glance was its topic i.e. it explored the relationship between a dog named Marley and his owner John. Being an extreme dog lover and one who has lived with as many as 5 dogs the subject matter of the book was the only thing keeping it from gathering dust and so the pages began to flip……

It has taken me approximately 2-3 months to complete the book and I often had to find time between shifting to a new country and all the pressures that come with it but one thing for sure, this one book had me hooked. What I am attempting to put into words is not a review of the book as I lack the critical or eloquent touch. My column is simple…..A man who hated books …read a book …which he did not want in the first place…and somewhere deep inside…....it changed him!

Each time I read a chapter I recalled memories of various dogs I had owned and similar experiences I had encountered in my life thus far. Marley, much like my present dog Joshua made me laugh and cry. There are times when I love Joshua and there are times when I absolutely hate him. There are times when I ask myself was getting a dog at this stage of my life the best decision and then….there are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and see Joshua sleeping besides me , making me realize he is not a dog …..he is family. Through my times of being a mediocre student in college, a lost graduate trying to land a perfect job and then a satisfied professional living his dream I can imagine my popularity radar has gone up and down among people I know. However, what I can absolutely guarantee is the fact that through all this time the one soul who always waited for me near the door in anticipation of celebrating the joys and even sorrows of life was my faithful friend Joshua. For Joshua, through his 8 years of life (and counting) , Rahul Nath is and forever will be his best friend.

As I finished reading the book I was saddened by the impending knowledge that even Joshua, much like Marley, will bid farewell someday. I was saddened that in my pursuit of my own goals I may have missed out on few precious minutes to bond with the family member who always insisted that his was the first face I saw in the morning. However, there is something more to the book than just Marley. The book made me realize no matter where I stay (Mansion or Hut), no matter what I earn (Dollars or Rupees) and no matter what my designation is in the future….the only thing which can make me happy is coming back home to a loving family waiting for me and a four legged beast ready to pounce on me ,to lick the days sweat off my face.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Fátima said...

To Grogan Family,

I have a big pleasure in has read a wonderful and touching history, but i'm confess that i cannot hold a emotion and the tears fell in some parts of the brilliant book!

The relationship between you and the dog, and all family, make me feel a few moments, familiriazing
with history.
Now, i have 3 dogs and i confess that i can't live without 1...imagine all 3!
Only who loves dogs for to know that we're feeling when left us.

My sincerous hugs and a lucky, health and all felicity that u can have in your life and ur family!

Best wishes,
by your fan from São Paulo,Brazil.

Fatima Fernandes

6:47 AM  
Blogger Elena said...

Egr. Sig. Grogan, mi chiamo Elena e le scrivo da Siracusa in Sicilia, Italia.

Ho letto il suo libro "Io & Marley" e le posso assicurare che ho riso, ma ho pianto e molto.

Io sono proprietaria di un bassotto di sette anni e di una trovatella di quattro anni e per quanto riguarda i guai che lei ha vissuto con Marley io li ho vissuti con i miei cani.

Sono un amante di tutti gli animali e in vita mia ne ho avuti diversi (criceti, conigli nani, pappagallini, canarini), ma l'amore che dona un cane è una cosa molto coinvolgente.

Le posso assicurare che io ho paura del momento in cui i miei cani dovranno lasciarmi per sempre.

Ma sono rimasta coinvolta dalla sua vita con Marley per il modo così umano che lei ha utilizzato per condividere con noi lettori tutto ciò che lei ha passato con il suo Marley.

Ho intenzione di acquistare altri suoi libri perchè mi piace il suo modo di raccontare la vita.

Le dico solo che io sono convinta che in questo momento Marley è felice nel paradiso dei cani.

Anche loro sono creature di Dio e credo che Lui abbia creato un paradiso solo per gli animali.

Auguro a lei ed alla sua famiglia tutto il bene di questo mondo e spero che il ciliegio sotto cui riposa Marley sia in fiore e stia coprendo la terra dei suoi petali e del suo profumo.

Con rispetto.

Elena

11:03 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Hi Mr. Grogan,

You don’t know me, we’ve never met, but your story, Marley and Me, touched me on a deeply personal level. Like you, I had a lab puppy, while mine was a puppy discarded at the local SPCA, our experiences were very similar. So similar in fact, that I had to pause during several of the scenes because it became too close to what I, myself, had experienced. I’d like to share my experience with you, sir.

My dog, Beau (short for Beauregard) was very spirited just like Marley. Always getting into things, walking us instead of us walking him, but always loving – always there. In a time that things between my wife and I were shaky, he seemed to bring us both closer together. Through him, we found comfort that got us both passed a difficult time. After many years of a very fulfilled life with us, his family, he developed a case of arthritis. Over a year, the arthritis got really bad. And, after some trips to the Vet, we were told he’d continue getting worse. There really isn’t much a dog can do once this happens, his doctor told us – but he still had a lot of life left in him.

So, we took Beau home, and continued caring for him the best his family could do. After about a year, during the colder months, he started going outside through his doggy door, into the backyard…but now he’d stay outside and not come back in. One night, during a particularly rainy evening, he went out and like a few nights previous, Beau decided he would rather sleep outside. About 7AM in the morning, my wife awoke and went to go check on Beau – he was outside, muddy and shaking. I lifted him up and carried him inside. Once inside, he walked over to his blanket at the side of our bed, and laid down. This was the last time he walked on his own. A few hours later, he had to go potty. I was at the store, so my wife had to lift him up and hold him while he went potty. She then made a baby bottle of water for him so that he could drink. Even though he was still muddy from the previous night, he slept in bed with us. The next day, he saw no improvement, and later in the evening when I got home, we contacted a Vet as this was during the weekend and his normal Doctor was unavailable.

My wife and I took him to the Vet. We were told that while the vet could operate, there was less than a 10% chance Beau would survive more than 24 hours, and even if he did, he’d probably never walk again. This poor, sweet member of our family was passing away. It’s almost impossible to describe the kind of pain I felt right then, when the doctor asked if he should give Beau an injection to ease his pain. He left us alone with Beau for about 20 minutes to say our goodbyes and talk things out. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.

Beau was in a lot of pain, and rather than burden his family, he chose to end his life outside. There just aren’t words for this…So, I reached deep within myself and had to choose his wellbeing over my own, and gave the vet the OK. Just as in the movie, I was told he’d feel no pain and simply fade away to sleep. About a minute after the IV injection, Beau looked up at me, our faces nearly touching, looked me in the eyes, and faded away to sleep.

We decided to cremate him and spread his ashes in a forest somewhere, but have not had the money to do so. We eventually will, but for now he’s in an urn in a place of honor above our mantle. I wanted you to know that while our stories are very similar, and watching it, through your eyes, I had to relive a very sad moment in mine, it truly touched me…on a very deep and personal level.

Thank you Mr. Grogan, for helping me remember one of the finest members of my family, and the best friend I will ever have.

Bill Genzoli
10270 East Taron Drive, apt. 289
Elk Grove, CA 95757

1:55 AM  
Blogger amyinbc said...

I have seen the movie 2x now and today read the book. I spent the last chapter crying even though I KNEW what was coming. Perhaps the written word is stronger? Or could it be my 9 year old buddy has been diagnosed with Cushings Disease and will spend the rest of his life on meds?

Gave him extra love and attention tonight as I am sure all your dog loving readers do to theirs.

Great book, loved it. Thank you. And RIP Marley you Great Dog!

10:49 PM  
Blogger MiriF said...

I've just finished reading your book Marley & Me.

I didn't stop laughing or crying (or both sometimes..) during the whole time it took me..
I am a big dog (/animal) lover and have dogs since my teens - that's about 35 years,
So I went through such stories myself.
But, your wonderful way of telling the story caused me enormous pleasure and excitement.

I simply Thank You Very Much!

12:14 PM  

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