In this time of financial turmoil and job uncertainty, I’m glad there are still things that can make me go aaaaah. Like seeing someone do something unselfish, a loved one whispering in your ear, that they love you. Cute kittens or as in this case a Labrador puppy looking longingly at you from the cover of a book.
The book in question is Marley and Me by John Grogan, the marketing Dept. must have wet themselves with delight when presented with it. What Iconic song melts most people’s hearts when they hear it? Yep, “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window”. So slap a picture of a puppy on a book cover, shove it in a window and it’ll bound out the door. Look at the Andrex puppies, we’re suckers for a furry face and black wet nose. Well Most of us anyway, some tire of it by the 26th of December.
The book tells the true story of Marley, a Labrador pup purchased by the Grogan’s as a young married couple and the impact he has on their lives. It follows mainly the relationship between Grogan and the dog with Cameos by his wife and later the kids. From Marley’s bull in a china shop approach to going around the house, his expulsion from obedience class and his constant fear of thunderstorms, not very helpful considering they live in Florida where thunderstorms are a regular occurrence.
The book is a riotously funny read, it had people giving me strange looks on the train as I chuckled at our six-legged heroes antics. But it also eventually tugs at the heartstrings. This goes without saying, Rule no.1 of writing animal books, If you can’t make the reader cry, stop. Grogan’s masterpiece has put him up there with the likes of James Herriot and the creator of lassie.
It’s not a new book, but I selected it for my book group after seeing a teaser trailer for the movie starring Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson, which is due out Christmas 2008, another winner for the marketing dept and a busy month for the animal shelters.
If you’re someone who owns a dog or has in the past shared a life with one, then like me you’ll find a lot in common with Grogan and the ever-loveable Marley… But remember a dog is for life, not just the weekend.
(First published in http://www.murphysview.blogspot.com 2009)