Friday, December 26, 2008

Marley and Me

I'm a cat person, and agree wholeheartedly with Leonardo da Vinci who said, "the smallest feline is a masterpiece". But I'm also a dog person. I grew up in a household which seemed to favor cats. We were cat people, after all, and had two cats during the early part of my childhood, a gorgeous calico and a sweet black cat. However, one fateful day my family decided to change things, and suddenly we had a large, shaggy puppy as well, an Old English sheepdog we named Chaucer (even though she was female). As a child, it was difficult for me to break the news to my cat people friends. They wouldn't understand why we had gotten a dog, but somehow I managed to utter the words. Overnight, it seemed, I became a cat and dog person. Since then, I've had no qualms about this, adore my cat, and enjoy taking my wiggly, exuberant boxer, Jenny, for long walks in the park. To Jenny, it's not just a walk but a grand adventure. Together we get exercise, and socialize with other dogs and their friendly owners, and I marvel at the variety of dogs we meet, everything from Greyhounds to American Eskimos to adorable Pugs and mixes (formerly referred to as mutts). Jenny's favorite activity besides going for a walk is sleeping.

Obviously, I 'm a dog person (who also happens to be a cat person), so I suspected that I'd enjoy Marley and Me, a film based on John Grogan's bestselling book. In 2008, the novel was adapted into a family movie, also titled Marley & Me. Released on December 25, 2008, the film stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, and other talented actors, and is directed by David Frankel. The role of Marley is shared by twenty-two labs. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, which is a tearjerker. Marley and Me is not just a dog movie, but also a touching story about writing, following your dreams, unconditional love, and the passing of time.

Book wise, Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog is a New York Times bestselling book written by journalist John Grogan. Published in 2005, this autobiographical novel portrays Grogan and his family during the years that they lived with their yellow Labrador Retriever, Marley, who's high-strung, rambunctious, and generally uncontrollable. From the start "the world's worst dog" is quite "a handful"-- always hungry, strong and active, often destructive of their property--and he remains a challenge to live with. Repeatedly, Marley misunderstands what's expected of him, but he's forgiven, because he's still lovable and has a heart of gold.

Marley & Me has been rewritten into three versions for younger readers, Marley: A Dog Like No Other, a picture book for beginning readers called Bad Dog, Marley!, and A Very Marley Christmas.


  1. Sorry, I had to delete my comment because I spelled a word wrong. Anyway, I am glad to hear a positive review of this movie. I will definitely have to check it out. We have a golden lab named Aggie. It is definitely a love-hate relationship!

  2. I bought and read this book and LOVED it! (The prude in me had a hard time with the mild swearing and sexual references, so I did end up donating it to our local library.) I think that Marley and Me is the reason that I became dog owner myself. I grew up as a dog person and this book made me remember why they're so loveable -- crazy antics and all. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie as was excited to see that it had a PG rating.

    Note: I consider myself a dog person, yet I also enjoy our cat. Cats are definately easier to care for. But dogs work their way right into your heart! (In addition to working your heart through walks and bike rides.)

  3. Allie and Christie, the movie is quite touching, and believable (except for the beginning, when Aniston and Wilson both sport a golden tan during the Michigan spring blizzard). Thanks for commenting!

  4. Wow ! I didn't know this film was a book (or books) first. Thanks for that info, Suko. My daughter saw it at Christmas and warned me it was a take your Kleenex box with you movie, but I still wanna see it!

  5. Yes, we got the book for Christmas--I plan on reading it. The movie will make you cry, but it's truly wonderful.

    How's your book doing?

  6. judging by the box office, it looks like Jennifer Aniston is giving Brad Pitt a run for his money...

  7. I'd also like to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    Thanks for your comment, coffee fiend (I'm a tea fiend).

  8. Nearly a year later, I read these comments with pleasure. Jenny's photo lead-in to the discussion speaks volumes to the subtleties of our relationships with dogs. I preferred the book to the movie as, at least from my perspective, the depth of intelligence, understanding, and companionship is conveyed in greater detail, such as the protective and calm demeanor demonstrated by Marley when rescuing the neighbor from the driveway accident. I learn so much from my canine friends that I can't imagine being without them. Hence the need for tissues. Lots of them. (P.S. due to allergies, I've been around dogs all my life, but have experienced a few beautiful personalities in some felines.)


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