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The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe

2.77  ·  Rating Details ·  552 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Meet Maf: The hilariously opinionated, well-read, politically scrappy, and complex canine companion to Marilyn Monroe.

In November 1960, Frank Sinatra gave Marilyn Monroe a dog. His name was Mafia Honey, or Maf for short. Born in the household of Vanessa Bell, brought to the United States by Natalie Wood’s mother, and given as a Christmas present to Marilyn the winter after
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published December 6th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2010)
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MJ Nicholls
To be filed alongside the brightest and funniest animal-narrated fiction (not a competitive field—ha, see the pun?), O’Hagan’s novel is a debonair shaggy dog story (homage to Tristram Shandy evident in the title) that concerns the exploits of a Highland pup, passed into the hands of Vita Sackville-West, Natalie Wood’s princess mother, and finally (via Frank Sinatra) Marilyn Monroe. Maf was raised a socialist in the Scottish Highlands, and is extremely au fait with European, American and Russian ...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is a biography type thing of Marilyn Monroe told from the viewpoint of a dog, a very pompous maltese that somehow manages to identify Renoir paintings and Louis XV chairs at a mere few months of age. Now, I was expecting something more along the lines of Spencer Quinn's "Dog On It," a funny book from the viewpoint of a dog that is very "dog like." I was expecting humor. Instead I get a narrative using words I don't know, much less expect my dogs to know. It was not very dog like at all. Com ...more
Sarah Furey
Sep 18, 2014 Sarah Furey rated it did not like it
Very pretentious book, seems to me the author was just showing off his knowledge of literature, philosophy and politics,, not that much about Marilyn's life and personality more about the dogs vast knowledge of authors, artists, philosophers and geography... really don't recommend this if your looking for an insight into Marilyn's personality very disappointing because if could have been a brilliant book if the author wasn't so focused on showing how intellectual he is.
Jul 16, 2014 ulli_z rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy, someone did fail gloriously here! I am OK with dogs knowing all human thoughts, feelings and innermost character, even some wisecracks about literature and philosophy out of their barking mouths would be perfectly in order, but here this strategy is simply overdone. Maf the Dog quickly morphs into a sorry excuse for employing an omniscient first-person narrator (which perhaps would be rejected today, while dog narrators obviously have carte blanche), even though he is not even omniscient ...more
Janne Varvára
This was a strange book.
Since my boyfriend bought his iPad, I've been borrowing his Kindle, since he doesn't need it anymore. And it's really opening up an opportunity for me to read ebooks, which I'm having trouble concentrating on when they're on the laptop.

One of the books I've been wanting to read, is this, "The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe".
A lifelong fan of Marilyn Monroe, who is my favorite actress, I always jump on the chance to read about her, novel
Diana S
Maf is Marilyn Monroe's pet given to her by Frank Sinatra. And what a life they lived! Not only do you get a glimpse of Marilyn's personal life. But also, the ins and outs of Hollywood and some details of the Kennedy clan. All through the observations of this smart little dog. I give this book 3.5 stars***!
Sep 30, 2015 Mary rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE!!!!
I have only five things to say about this book...SO GLAD I AM FINISHED!!!!!!
Mar 31, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Even from his humble beginnings in an English farmhouse, Maf is a very special dog. Able to cogitate for hours on the strange proclivities of the humans surrounding him, Maf becomes the companion of one of the most famous women in all of history while still a puppy. When the mother of young ingénue Natalie Wood buys a group of dogs to give away to her favorites, she invites Frank Sinatra to pick a dog for the up and coming film actress, Marilyn Monroe. He, of course, can’t resist the little dog ...more
Jan 10, 2017 Jennifer rated it did not like it
If you're looking for a light, fun, narrated-by-dog book like I was, this is NOT the book for you. Primarily pretentious and overbearing, but with the occasional instances of humor and poignancy.
Jun 09, 2011 Jeruen rated it it was ok
When was the last time I read a novel that was narrated by something that wasn't human? I think it's been a while, I can't even remember. I was browsing the new books section of the university library when I saw this one, and when I saw that it was narrated by a dog, my interest was piqued and so I decided to borrow it.

Yes, this is a novel that is narrated by a dog. It's actually about the life of Marilyn Monroe, but from the perspective of her Maltese dog, whose name was Maf. The novel starts w
The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of his friend Marilyn Monroe is full of references to literary greats and politics; much is discussed about the political parties and concerns at the time, around 1960, and therefore as my knowledge on this is limited I feel as though I couldn’t appreciate it as much as some other readers would. I still enjoyed reading the book and learnt quite a lot but for all of the readers out there who are knowledgeable about literary greats and politics I can assure ...more
Dec 19, 2016 Laurie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
A slice of Marilyn Monroe's life through the eyes of her maltese, Mafia Honey. Maf is well read and philosophical and cats speak in poetry. I found this book charming, but think I would have gotten more out of it if I were better read in philosophy.
May 27, 2012 Sylvie rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, abandoned, dogs
I'll read, or try to read, anything to do with dogs, so it was only a matter of time before I'd pick up this book.

Gotta tell you, it hasn't hooked me so I'm reading snippets at a time. I'm certain that I'm missing a lot because people, works, and some events mentioned by the author are completely unfamiliar to me. But that's my problem. Perhaps it's a good problem because... I'm learning. I'm looking up things--thanks Internet! For example, today I read that Thomas Mann had a beloved German Poin
Jud Barry
Feb 18, 2011 Jud Barry rated it liked it
Mafia Honey--Maf for short--is a Maltese dog who has the distinction of being acquired by Frank Sinatra from Natalie Woods's mother and given to Marilyn Monroe as a gift. Not to mention the distinction of being able to narrate this story.

The time is 1960-1962, the last years of Monroe's life. Kennedy is president, Bellow is writing, the Partisan Review is being published, Elia Kazan and George Cukor are making movies with stars like Dean Martin, and fellow Brat Pack entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. i
Dec 27, 2016 Mai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Glasgowissa syntynyt nykyisin Lontoossa asuva Andrew OHaganin Maf-koira ja hänen ystävänsä Marilyn Monroe on kirjailijan neljäs romaani ja toinen, joka on suomennettu. Maf-koira ja hänen ystävänsä Marilyn Monroe teoksen kansikuva on todella kaunis, mutta eihän Maf-koirasta nyt huonoa kuvaa saisi otettuakaan, eikä sen puoleen Marilynistäkään.
Kirja on kuvitteellinen teos ja kertoo Maf-koiran ajatuksista, aikamoinen filosofi ja pohdiskelija tämä pieni veijari oli. Andrew OHagan on luonut todella
Sep 26, 2010 1.1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Goodreads giveaways was being kind to me lately, and I managed to snag an ARC, the usual line of acknowledgment and thanks applies.

I rolled right through this book and enjoyed it thoroughly. Despite having the odds against it, the book is engaging. At first I wondered if the world really needed more books about the 60s or Marilyn Monroe, but O'Hagan proves that, yes, perhaps we could use at least a few more.

There are a lot of allusions made to other interesting works and animals and the characte
Oct 02, 2011 kasia rated it liked it
A lot of research must have gone into this book. That's what I kept thinking as I was reading. So many reference to other pieces of literature or philosophy (especially to moments in philosophy that reference animals), so many scenes with various celebrities of the time... I almost wondered if O'Hagan wasn't a former grad student. The thing is though, aside from a few moments, most of those references always seem like just that - clever references. They don't really bring the characters or the t ...more
Kasa Cotugno
Dec 01, 2010 Kasa Cotugno rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Andrew O'Hagan is a wonderful writer. His Be Near Me was one of the most inventive, lyrical books of recent years. Which is why I'm puzzled as to why he'd choose to have his latest story narrated by the dog given to Marilyn Monroe by Frank Sinatra. It sounds like a wacky premise, and there is always a danger in releasing a book as a novel that is populated by the well known. Oddly enough, the book has legs since there is a movie project in the works wherein George Clooney will play Sinatra and A ...more
David Hallman
Aug 19, 2011 David Hallman rated it liked it
I really wanted to enjoy "The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe".

My anticipation was stoked by hearing Andrew O'Hagan on a panel at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in October (2010). I've rarely encountered a more infectiously gregarious and unpretentiously erudite participant at a writers' event.

Furthermore, I thought that the literary conceit of Marilyn's dog Maf as the book's narrator would be very clever.

It was, for the first 150 pages or so
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Welp it was about time I read a book that I wasn't crazy about. I had a long string of great reads.

I did love hearing the stories that involved Frank Sinatra - didn't potray him in the nicest light. I never thought he was anything but gentlemanly and the everyday man. I also enjoyed hearing a book come from the prospective of a dog, different and interesting, I liked it.

For what I didn't enjoy, as far as a dog talking that was great for this book, but the rest of the animals talking to Maf the d
Jul 08, 2012 Tali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is story about a dog, but not just any dog, a philosophising, fashion-conscious, psychoanalysing dog who just happens to be the beloved pet of Marilyn Monroe. To tell you the truth, I had no idea what to expect from this novel - I had originally picked it out to read because I liked the title and the front cover - but I really ended up liking it. Maf, the dog in question and the story's narrator, manages to be both intelligent and cute by equal measures. One minute he is analysing Frank Sin ...more
Steve Wilson
Jun 04, 2013 Steve Wilson rated it it was ok
This is a book which had been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years. Originally it was a gift from a friend to my wife although she has not read it either. regardless it was sitting there with a picture of Marilyn and a cute dog on the front cover and my thought was you cannot go wrong with that combination.

While I enjoyed certain aspects of the book especially the sections which included cameo appearances by a number of known Hollywood stars such as Sinatra, Peter Lawford and Nathalie Wood
Savanah Andrews
I won this book as part of the first-reads giveaways. I really wanted to like it more than I did, but unfortunatly I think I was born in the wrong era.
There were some things I did like about it such as it's light and witty prose. I liked all the cute critters that talked, like the squirel that thought life was great because he got a peice of a peanut butter sandwich. I also enjoyed being able to imagine Marilyn's voice in parts of her dialogue. He really brought her to life and I saw her in a l
John Amory
Aug 22, 2012 John Amory rated it it was ok
What started out as a cute, clever novelization of the final days of one of Hollywood's greatest stars quickly devolved into a pretentious, gimmicky, boring meditation on philosophy and art. Maf is like that kid we all had in our undergrad classes who think he knows everything and will talk about anything with anyone at anytime, no matter how much you want him to shut up. Whenever Maf would say something along the lines of "I wish Marilyn could hear me," I couldn't help but think that if she cou ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it liked it
Shelves: mar-apr-2011
"Good book. Good dog," (St. Petersburg Times) was the general consensus from critics, who had begun reading Maf the Dog with extreme skepticism. Who could blame them? That said, reviewers in the United Kingdom were able to suspend their belief far more easily than those in the United States. But in the end, most were won over, or at least entertained, by this canine memoir. While critics described it as witty, elegant, and original, they also acknowledged that awareness of both Hollywood, high l ...more
Aug 23, 2015 yoli rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Maybe if I had a better understanding of the time period and the historical figures I would have gotten more out of this book? Maybe If it hadn't taken me so long to read I wouldn't have "lost the plot" while reading it.

It's got nice cover art and an interesting premise. You get a better sense of a bunch of celebrities (or a better sense of O'Hagan's imaginary vision of what they're like...), and Maf himself is given multiple dimensions. He offers interesting non-stop commentary that ranges acro
Anne Broyles
Jan 04, 2011 Anne Broyles rated it liked it
Through the eyes and strong voice of Maf the Dog, readers see a slice not just of Marilyn Monroe's life, but of the intellectual and HOllywood elite (not one and the same) of the last years of her life. Maf is intellectual, elitist, and often made me feel I was not quite up there in the brains department myself. He challenged much of what I thought I knew about Natalie Wood, Frank Sinatra, the Kennedys and Marilyn and I still don't know if it was the dog's uppity nature or the author's research ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Greenockian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable novel written from the perspective of a clever clogs dog who has absorbed a very erudite standard of education simply through licking people and picking up their thoughts - wish it was as easy for me. The strongest parts of the book are the characterisations of a variety of Hollywood types, New York's pretentious actor-types and some UFO-gazing rednecks. I ended up hating Frank Sinatra and, quite literally, crying for Marilyn Monroe for whom the book is a sweet and heart ...more
Vicki Seldon
I enjoyed this book in much the same way that I enjoyed Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris. In the film, the would-be, present-day novelist played by Owen Wilson is transported back in time to the Paris of Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, and in one memorable scene, even further back to the Paris of the Belle Epoque. In Hagan's book, Mafia, Marilyn's dog, is the omniscient narrator and companion, accompanying Marilyn through her interactions with various luminaries of the entertainment, literary, ...more
Feb 14, 2011 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I think I enjoyed this book..I kept reading it so on some level I must have. Maf the dog was given to Marilyn Munroe by Frank Sinatra after her split with Arthur Miller. He becomes her constant companion never far from her side (or bosom )accompanying her to soirees in New York full of the brillaint literary types of the 1960s and later to Hollywood where he meets President Kennedy and the luminaries of the Hollywood scene. We hear Maf's opinion of everyone she meets and his ruminations on inter ...more
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Andrew O’Hagan is the author of the novels Our Fathers, Personality, and, most recently, Be Near Me, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His work has appeared in the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, and The Guardian (U.K.). In 2003, O’Hagan was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. He lives in London, England.
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