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The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  3,468 Ratings  ·  588 Reviews
Meet the Grogans

Before there was Marley, there was a gleefully mischievous boy navigating his way through the seismic social upheaval of the 1960s. On the one side were his loving but comically traditional parents, whose expectations were clear. On the other were his neighborhood pals and all the misdeeds that followed. The more young John tried to straddle these two world
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by William Morrow (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
Dec 06, 2008 Lisa rated it did not like it
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 24, 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 04, 2009 Emma rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 12, 2008 Sheila rated it really liked it
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
Apr 30, 2009 Bill rated it it was ok
I have to admit, I just don't understand why people write memoirs about their wholeheartedly unspectacular lives.
May 06, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
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.
Laura McHale Holland
Apr 02, 2011 Laura McHale Holland rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2010 Jodi rated it it was amazing
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
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 08, 2011 Wanda rated it liked it
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
Sep 08, 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
Pat Herndon
Mar 17, 2014 Pat Herndon rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 20, 2009 Tara added it
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
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
Jul 02, 2009 Christi rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2010 Kim rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 24, 2009 Kristi rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan Grant
Jul 28, 2010 Jan Grant rated it really liked it
If you grew up Catholic, you had to read this book. It's wonderful.
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
Mar 01, 2012 Florinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Grogan's second memoir shows that he can write a moving and often hilarious memoir that doesn't involve a dog. Of course, you didn't have to be a dog person to love Marley & Me...but it didn't hurt. At the same time, you don't have to have grown up Catholic to appreciate The Longest Trip Home...but again, it probably wouldn't hurt. I'm sure it contributed to my own appreciation of this book.

The memoir is divided into three sections. "Growing Up" covers Grogan's childhood and high-school
Jul 19, 2016 Rachel rated it it was ok
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
Apr 28, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Author of Marley & Me, John Grogan, has a way with words. So when the dog is gone from the story and the memoir is just about him, I was curious to see how the story would end up. Well, that and my grandma included this book in a pile she gave back to me, and I read just about anything that comes into my hands.

Grogan was brought up in a very Catholic household. In fact, his parents were about the most devout Catholics I'd ever read about. But he didn't take to the faith, even from an early a
Bill Hall
Mar 29, 2009 Bill Hall rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
Fans of John Grogan's "Marley and Me" will not be disappointed by his new offering, "The Longest Trip Home." This is a beautiful, funny, sad, moving, remarkable book.

"The Longest Trip Home" is described as a prequel to "Marley," and that's accurate, because it tells his story both before and after that rambunctious, lovable dog came into his life. Grogan brings the same sensitivity and gift for detail to these pages that he brought to "Marley." We meet John's parents, siblings, friends and lover
Jan 12, 2014 Crabbygirl rated it did not like it
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 01, 2011 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After winning my heart over with Marley and me, I was very excited to discover that John Grogan wrote another book. I discovered it on the shelf at The Real Canadian superstore and I had to buy it. I began to read right away and spent every free moment reading it. I found it funny and engaging at first, it got right in depth with the mind of a growing child. His descriptions of being an alter boy were hilarious to me for I was the same thing, I knew the crazy situations he was going through beca ...more
Tanya W
Aug 14, 2011 Tanya W rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book and read it quite quickly. My first thoughts were gratitude that I grew up in such a sheltered environment, since the author is very open about the raging hormones and mild drug use he experienced as a teenager... it's a little scary to think of sending our sweet daughters out into a world that can be so ungodly... to think they can lose something as precious as purity to someone who is just physically and hormonally anxious to make it happen! Thank goodness most of these you ...more
Paul Pessolano
Feb 22, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
Many of you probably know John Grogan from his first novel about his love affair with a mischievous Labrador Retriever names "Marley".

Grogan, again, calls on his real life experiences in "The Longest Trip Home". This is a "no holds barred", honest, and frank story of a young man coming of age in a Detroit suburb.

John's mother and father were very religious and deeply imbued in their Catholic faith. John and his brothers and sisters went to Catholic school, and his two uncles were Catholic priest
Dec 29, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio, tearjerker, 2009
John Grogan’s The Longest Trip Home is an absolutely beautiful love letter to his parents. Some authors have a gift for words, others suspenseful plots, but I think John Grogan’s is for comedic and poignant storytelling.

As with any author who writes more than one memoir, I was initially concerned that there would be too much overlap with his previous bestseller, Marley and Me. There is a nicely interwoven passage where you see the other side of his life as he was living with the world’s worst do
John Grogan’s memoir of growing up Catholic, The Longest Trip Home is one of the most interesting books I have recently read. The author of the bestseller Marley & Me now writes about his deeply Catholic upbringing and how it affected the course of his life.

As one of four children to deeply devout Catholic parents, John Grogan grew up surrounded by religion, with the milestones of his life measured by the sacraments and rituals of the Catholic Church. At the same time, Grogan tells of a ver
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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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