I love the film of Marley & Me – it’s an absolute classic for a good old cathartic weeping sesh! If you haven’t seen it – or read the book – it’s a gentle-paced story about a journalist and his new wife, who adopt a puppy together after they’re first married. Marley turns out to be pretty much certifiably insane… and hijinks ensue!
What I’ve always said about the experience of watching the film is that it’s not really about the dog – it’s about him, John Grogan, and his family and the development of his career and life. And it’s true; the stories told by the fictional John Grogan (as played by Owen Wilson) reveal more about the author than about the subject, as the old cliché says.
This isn’t as true of the book. The plot and anecdotes are much the same, but the real-life John Grogan’s writing – although it is autobiographical, and does tell the reader about him, his family et al – is absolutely, crystal-clearly, about the dog. This is a story for dog lovers! John’s love and affection for Marley shines through every page, and I am not embarrassed to say the the book made me laugh and cry louder and more often than the film did (I was in the library for the ending. Whoops…).
If you liked the film, you’ll love the book – and if you love dogs, you’ll really love the book!