Everyone Who Has Owned a Dog Will Love this Story
I admit it. I have stayed away from dog stories ever since I was blindsided in the fourth grade by Where the Red Fern Grows. Our teacher, Mrs. Petterson, read to us every afternoon. I was enthralled by the story of Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann. But then Old Dan died which was about the worst thing that had ever happened to me in my ten years of existence...that is until, in my mind’s eye, I watched as Little Ann crawled her heart broken body to the Old Dan’s burial mound and died herself. I wanted to die right along with them. I burst into tears right in the middle of class, but fortunately, I wasn’t alone as most of my classmates were in the same boat. From that point on, I resolved never to read another dog story again, because just like every Disney movie which always starts off with the mother being dead, the dog in dog stories always dies in the end. So, it was with great effort that I resisted reading John Grogan’s story of Marley & Me, despite how many people suggested I read it. My wife even bought it for me in some sort of sadistic behavioral intervention through total immersion therapy trick. Yet, I continued to stay firm. No dog stories for me. But then I caved. I was on vacation and finding nothing to read, I turned to Marley & Me.
John Grogan’s memoir is a touching story about the life of Marley, a clumsy, clueless dog with a heart of gold, his loving relationship with his family, and the life lessons learned on the way. In this auto-biography, Grogan entertains us with his laugh out loud anecdotes one moment, and yet brings us to tears the next. The overall layout, organization, and quality of content, engages readers and leaves them with meaningful life lessons.
The layout of Marley & Me makes the book engaging, allowing readers to be taken in by Grogan’s story. The author writes the book by telling entertaining tales of Marley and him, and adding commentary when necessary. For example, when Grogan was explaining how his wife was suffering from depression and wanted him to get rid of the dog, he tells of how he got Marley through obedience school (pages 142-144). The hilarious story was built in seamlessly with the overall idea of the chapter, and helped to lighten a low point in the book. Another example of how the layout keeps readers absorbed is that Grogan includes background information to glue evey thing together and to add to the overall story. Grogan starts the book off with an excerpt from his childhood about his first dog. He writes about how perfect his old dog was and how much he loved him (page ix). This information is an instance of how the book is presented in a way that engages readers because it shows them how the author feels about dogs and how it affected his decision to adopt one. The book is also laid out in a focused manner so that it doesn’t stray too much from the main point the author’s trying to make. For instance, the book was at the point where the author and his wife were trying to have a baby, but instead of the chapter beginning there, it started off talking about Marley’s veterinarian. Grogan took Marley to the vet about his phobia with thunderstorms, which lead to Marley getting fixed. Then Grogan made a smooth transition from there to the main point, his challenge with conceiving a child. He ends the chapter by regressing back to the side-splitting story of how he took Marley to the vet for his operation (page 71-80). It is clear that this book will keep readers engaged and not wanting to put it down because of its great structure
Marley & Me is well organized which makes it easy to follow, lucid, and effortless to comprehend. Everything is built together in chronological order so readers won’t be confused to where the author is in the story. For example, in the first chapter, Grogan and his wife decide on adopting a dog for the first addition to the family (page 4), but by the end, they have three children and Marley has grown old (page 264). This organization makes Marley & Me easy to follow so readers wont be sidetracked. Also, the author doesn’t jump around or drift too much to where a reader might get lost. In chapter five, Grogan and his wife discover that she is pregnant. Grogan starts off with a conversation between him and his wife, leading to Grogan running to the store for a pregnancy test. Grogan adds in some humor by describing how, when waiting for the results, Marley got a hold of the test. The chapter ends with a visit to the doctor confirming her pregnancy (page 34-37). This is a good instance of how the author stays consistent so readers wont be confused, yet still can stray in order to add in humor. These examples show that, because of its organization, Marley & Me is clear, can be easily followed, and makes sense.
In addition to the book’s great layout and organization, Marley & Me has an excellent quality of content that is important, and contributes to society by teaching life lessons through the stories of a dog. One important life lesson learned after reading this book is to not give up when faced with a challenge. When Marley was old, his back legs started to give out and it was hard for him to walk, but no matter how difficult it was, he always found a way to get up the stairs to lay buy his master’s bed(page 264). This teaches us that despite the challenge, determination will lead you to your goal. Marley also reminds us how short life really is and to make the most of it. Marley was always happy and In the end, Marley reminds us to live life to the fullest, to love others with all your heart, and that torn up furniture and screen doors is a small price for a life-long friend.
Marley & Me is a terrific book and I strongly recommend it. With the book’s great content, organization, and layout, I’m not surprised that Marley & Me topped the bestsellers lists shortly after being released. Even if you aren’t a pet fanatic, I guarantee that you’ll enjoy this book and will want to recommend it yourself.