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John Grogan
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The Longest Trip Home: a memoir

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,370 Ratings  ·  579 Reviews
In his debut bestseller Marley & Me, John Grogan showed how a dog can become an extraordinary presence in the life of one family. Now in his highly anticipated follow-up, Grogan again works his magic, bringing us the true story of what came first.

Before there was Marley, there was a gleefully mischievous boy growing up in a devout Catholic home outside Detroit in the
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published 2008 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 1st 2007)
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Tattered Cover Book Store
This is an extremely delightful book--Grogan writes about his childhood and deeply religious upbringing in true ornery schoolboy style, varnishing nothing. To say he was a handful would be a gross understatement-- he certainly lived an exuberant childhood, the tales from which are PG13 to NR17 in nature but funny as all get out. There are also tough issues being discussed here--becoming okay with being a person other than the one your parents wanted you to be, and, eventually dealing with aging ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Marley and Me--but this book was quite different. In fairness, I didn't get close to finishing it, but I could see this was not my type of book.
This book could be subtitled, "Catholic School Boys Behaving Badly". As a teacher and a parent, I can never enjoy seeing kids making bad choices.
As someone raised as a Catholic, and almost the same age as Grogan, I did laugh about lying in confession because I think that happened a lot. I don't know how the Catholic Church is managing confession
Dec 26, 2008 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Grogan has written another best selling book. This time, instead of stealing the hearts of his readers with a lovable,adventurous mutt, Grogan stole the hearts of his readers by writing about his family. The story of his childhood and growing up in a strict Catholic family made me laugh and the struggles of his parents late in life made me cry.
Anyone who grew up in a strict Catholic family can see their own family on these pages. You will relate to the parents wanting the best for their
Jan 06, 2009 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book really touched me. i laughed and i cried. it was a true spiritual experience for me. i grew up in a very catholic family and had many similar memories. john grogans portrayal of his father was truly a labor of love. the catholic church is not perfect but this devout catholic man was the church to his family. i want to have that kind of faith and peace.
Jan 04, 2009 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful memoir about families, faith, and trying to live your own life as an adult with different values than your parents. John Grogan's parents were very devout Catholics, and John was raised in this environment. But as he came of age in the 1970's, his world view changed, and he came to see there was more to the world than just the strict, sheltered Catholic family and school life he was raised in. But as many people may relate to, having your own values and life is one thing, ope ...more
Pat Herndon
Apr 01, 2014 Pat Herndon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Grogan has such a personal style of warmth in his writing. Just as I enjoyed every minute of the book Marley & Me, I enjoyed The Longest Trip Home. Although it seems odd to compare a troubled and loving relationship with parents to a troubled and loving relationship with a dog, I noted that the story arcs are similar in each book. Just as I began to really love his amazing parents, I realized where the story was heading and joined John and his siblings in their concern and eventual mour ...more
May 06, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This delightfully readable book had me doing a lot of self reflection about religion and parenting. I especially enjoyed the memories it elicited of my own upbringing, as I am near the age of the author.
Apr 30, 2009 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit, I just don't understand why people write memoirs about their wholeheartedly unspectacular lives.
Sep 17, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The audio book version of The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir is read by the author, which I think adds a sense of authenticity and an almost intimacy with the author because you can actually hear the story in his own words.

Author John Grogan's second book, following Marley Me, is the funny, moving, and at times almost heartbreaking story of a son and his relationship with his father. At times I laughed out loud listening to the author's adventures and misadventures growing up in Michigan followed b
Feb 18, 2010 Jodi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: memoirs
Wow! Grogan can make me laugh, and cry buckets all in one book. He managed to do that to me in "Marley and Me" and now in this book. I was prepared for the laughs with both books but not the tears. "Marley" I read after my dog died and it was such a good book during that time - healing and theraputic. I did not expect the tears though in this book.......I guess I should have given the way it started. I could feel deeply all the feelings Grogan did because like him, I watched my father weaken and ...more
Laura McHale Holland
I listened to an audio version of the book read by the author, which is a very different experience than reading, of course. So I have no idea whether I'd be gripped by the prose on the pages of this book. But, as a listener, I was pulled in entirely. I felt almost like I became part of the Grogan clan as John shared episode after episode of his life growing up in a Catholic family so devout, their family vacations consisted primarily of driving to religious shrines! So his relationship to the C ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Gaby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I hadn't yet read Marley & Me, I found The Longest Trip Home to be a wonderful introduction to John Grogan's narrative voice.

Grogan is sympathetic, funny and witty as he shares the anecdotes and the milestones in his life. We first meet Grogan as a six-year old being woken up in the morning by his mother with a feather duster, surrounded by his siblings. With affection and love, he shares the particular nuances of his childhood as he was raised by deeply Catholic (with icons, pilgrimages, an
Jan 22, 2011 Wanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, writes a memoir of his life with his strongly cultural Roman Catholic family, and his growing up in Michigan. As in Marley and Me, Grogan plucks at our heartstrings.
This is a well written and thoughtful book, that draws in the reader quickly and is a fast and entertaining read. Grogan is brutally honest and does not spare himself, giving us the unvarnished truth about telling lies in confession, sneaking cigarettes and later pot, and generally coming of age
When you're getting to know a person, finding out about their past and even a little bit of their personal misdeeds can be endearing. Or, they can share so much information about themselves that you feel uncomfortable and eager for the conversation to end. Think of this book as the latter. I was listening to this book on CD and I couldn't get past the 1st CD. There is a lot of detail which, at the beginning drew me in and I was very interested in this person's life. As it went on, though, too ma ...more
Jul 20, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the signature sensitivity and humor that Grogan expressed in "Marley and Me", Grogan describes his life growing up in a strict Catholic family and the journey home when his father is ailing. I listened to this (Grogan reads)and there were laugh out loud moments! I totally understood Grogan's need to go to mass toward the end of the book. It is the "Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic feeling" that I can relate to. I have so many problems with the Catholic Church and yet attending a mass can ...more
Dec 28, 2009 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2009
Having not read his first book, I was unsure exactly what to expect from this book. I absolutely loved it! Perhaps it helped that John Grogan grew up in the area immediately surrounding where my family and I now live and so I have a familiarity to the places he was describing. Or perhaps it was that I was raised Catholic and attended parochial school. Whatever the case, I found myself enraptured by this memoir and enchanted by Grogan's writing style. I loved his use of metaphor in so many areas ...more
Douglas Lord
Sep 02, 2015 Douglas Lord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uber-best selling author Grogan (Marley & Me) recounts growing up devoutly Catholic in a "Shangri-La by the shore" outside Detroit, beginning with an idyllic childhood in an unsanctimonious, loving household full of friends, swimming, and stealth cigarettes. During a comparatively tame (for the late Sixties) adolescence, replete with making out, beer, and shooting off fireworks, Grogan realizes, "There could be either one God who loved everybody the same, or no God at all." So begins a relig ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by this because I read the Marley and Me kid's version. I needed more backstory on Marley's owner who wrote very winsomely for a book about a family pet. So I wanted to give this 3 stars, but can't. It's just TMI (language, descriptions of adolescence and all). He's a writer; it's catharsis -- I get it. I could never write that honestly with no part of my life off-limits.

It did occur to me around 320 why I felt like I should finish the book. It reminded me of what Home by Marily
Jan 20, 2010 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book was unreadable. I really don't care to read about his adolescent forays into being what he thinks is a "bad boy." The ending part of the book dealing with the illness and passing of his father moved me. But even then the overall pervasive feeling of "It's all about me!" does not do justice to the life well-lived by his father. He speaks of how handsome his father looked on the 25th anniversary at GM but he does not include a photo.
Alexandra Rolo
Jun 07, 2014 Alexandra Rolo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ora um belo dia estava eu a passear, na Baixa de Lisboa, com um amigo que ficou muito chocado por nunca ter lido este livro. Pegou nele, comprou-o e ofereceu-me o dito livrinho. O pobrezinho tem estado numa pilha quase interminável de livros para ler e agora que o li arrependo-me profundamente de não o ter feito mais cedo.

Neste livro conhecemos algumas memórias de John Grogan, o autor do livro que nos conta passagens da vida de uma família muito católica e do seu filho mais novo que cedo aprende
Oct 06, 2016 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In college, I was a frequent reader of Grogan's Philadelphia Inquirer columns, and of course, his first book, 'Marley and Me'. While this was not the oft-humorous story focused on one of my favorite topics, dogs, that 'Marley' was, I was more impressed by 'The Longest Trip Home' than I expected once I learned the common theme running throughout the book. Grogan's writing style was key here, as he narrates his life growing up with strict-Catholic parents, as he made a topic I could not relate to ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Crabbygirl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this author did marley and me (which i found sentimental and contrived) but my mom loved this title so i wanted to give him another chance.

I got the book on audioCD to make him easier to take. hmmm. maybe that was a bad idea. read by the author himself, the delivery was terrible, and often times didn't seem plausible - even though he was supposedly reading his own words/thoughts! (for example, i was certain he was mispronouncing st francis of assisi)

when the book got to his college years and yo
Jan 03, 2016 Bernadette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best-selling author of Marley, John Grogan, opens his heart in this memoir and will capture yours as he traces his life from his early years to decline of his parents. Raised by devout, conservative Catholics, including two uncles who were priests, Grogan begins to doubt and question the religious beliefs his parents hold so dear. He desperately wants to please his parents but also wants to be his own person and that does not include the Catholic church. With honesty, humor and sincere refle ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grogan is a seamless writer. He keeps your attention, is not flowery, and tells his story in a way that is palpable. His memoir is bittersweet, juxtaposing his Catholic upbringing with dutiful parents and his own decisions as a young, skeptical parent. He's such a great writer, I think he could make the telephone book interesting. (not that his life is not interesting, but that he is even able to describe the mundane in a way that breathes life into the readers imagination.) Although from a beli ...more
Kristi Vitale
Jan 16, 2013 Kristi Vitale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unforgettable, 2013
I don't think I've cried so much over a book. I laughed quite a bit too. And I miss my mom and dad something terrible. A memory stirrer.... and such a lovely, lovely, touching book.
Gerald Curtis
This was my first reading of this author.

He definitely has the gift of telling stories,and in that sense, it was very interesting to learn about his life. He is one of those people who are chatty and open and conversational.

However, overriding that enjoyable story, I found it very painful to read of his repeated disobedience and deception of his very religious parents - a lifetime of repeated and deliberate betrayals of the trust they placed in him.

I suppose one might observe this as "entertaini
Jun 02, 2014 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This book was recommended to me by a Goodreads friend who knows me well, and I'm very glad it was. Though not funny in the way that Marley and Me was funny (one of my favorites!), there were many poignant moments that I believe are probably best understood by those of us raised by loving parents of faith who were deeply disappointed in us when we could not also make that faith the central tenet of our lives. I recommend it for those who enjoy memoirs (especially baby boomers -- you'll recognize ...more
Jul 23, 2014 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice memoir detailing growing up in a Catholic household and later veering away from religion.

I devoured the first half of this book quickly. I love that it took place near my hometown. I loved reading about John's childhood antics growing up.

Somewhere around the 70% mark of the book I started to lose interest. It just seemed like the pace changed too drastically to keep me so hooked. The theme changed slightly (from childhood boy mischief to religious/family struggles).

I finished out the bo
Jan Grant
Jul 28, 2010 Jan Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you grew up Catholic, you had to read this book. It's wonderful.
Jan 26, 2016 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I like memoirs. Grogan writes a very readable book that I related to about his growing up years through the death of his father. His parents seemed nuts to me, but I keyed in to the similarities with my experience with how he dealt with conflicting values and still kept the peace with them. It is nice to read a memoir about an ordinary person. Even though he is now a best-selling author, most of his life he was not famous. An "ordinary" life can still be interesting to read about. It's the insig ...more
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John Grogan, you did it again! 1 4 Jul 09, 2013 04:02AM  
  • Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me
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  • The Dog Who Healed a Family: And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart & Touch the Soul
  • Staying True
  • Cherries in Winter: My Family's Recipe for Hope in Hard Times
  • The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the People Who Raised Them
  • Orange County: A Personal History
  • Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life
  • Anna's Story
  • The Prison Angel: Mother Antonia's Journey from Beverly Hills to a Life of Service in a Mexican Jail
  • Lopsided: How Having Breast Cancer Can Be Really Distracting
  • Sweet Summer: Growing up with and without My Dad
  • Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles
  • In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing
  • Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived
  • Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood
  • Check, Please!: Dating, Mating, and Extricating
  • The Orchard: A Memoir
John Grogan has spent more than 25 years as a newspaper journalist. Previously he worked as a reporter, bureau chief, and columnist at newspaper in Michigan and Florida. He is also the former editor on chief of Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine. His work has won numerous awards, including the National Press Club's Consumer Journalism Award. His first book, Marley & Me, is a number one inte ...more
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