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Monday, March 30, 2009

Reading Marley and Me

I don’t write book reviews on this site any more mostly because I got bored to death with them. Plus, reading started to involve a thought process about the review I was going to write, something I had to assume was taking away from my reading besides the fact that I simply didn’t want to think like that as I read. The review I was going to write was becoming a chore instead of something I actually wanted to write, and the hope of getting back into writing for a newspaper was becoming more like a pipe dream. But reading Marley and Me wasn’t just reading another book, and writing about it certainly isn’t my attempt to review it.

Ever since losing my full-time job a while back, the idea of getting a puppy has appealed to me. I do pretty well at keeping myself busy, and did so even before getting a (very) part-time job from home, but it can get pretty lonely. Unfortunately, my new landlady (aka mom) said no chance. Since she had a decent point that I couldn’t take care of a dog – though I’m not totally convinced of that – and I don’t know that I could even afford a dog, it’s never gone anywhere.

So it was with more than a little trepidation that I picked up Marley and Me. I really didn’t need to pile on myself the feelings of wanting a dog, but with the author John Grogan having written for the Philadelphia Inquirer for years – and having regularly been read his columns whether I wanted to hear them or not by the aforementioned landlady – I eventually couldn’t resist.

There were some definite surprises in reading Grogan’s remembrance of life with his dog. The inevitable – almost unbearable – cuteness of tales of a lovable dog, along with pretty much the only ending possible that tries its best to rip your heart out, was certainly present and well done. There was also some good writing, apart from just the storytelling, made the book even easier to get through.

I will say I could have done without some of the stories, for example Marley’s penchant for eating his own waste almost made me gag. I also didn’t need to read so much about the poor dog losing his manhood. Let’s face it, even just the thought of it makes a guy wince. But, to be fair, I guess some of it was just a part of the reality of owning a dog.

Marley’s absolutely manic behavior would almost be enough to scare me off of wanting a dog if it would wasn’t for the fact that it seemed to be a rarity according to Grogan. Of course, even that was foreseeable according to Grogan by taking a little more note of Marley’s father.

I definitely recommend this book for any dog lovers, or even those that just like dogs. I’ve been told the movie is significantly different, so as the DVD comes out this week, don’t assume that’s all you need to check out if you are interested in Marley and Me.