Dave's Reviews > Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog

Marley & Me by John Grogan
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M 50x66
's review
Sep 20, 2007

did not like it
Read in December, 2006

This is a mediocre book written by horrible dog owners.

Marley sounds like an amusing guy; but I think pets are like kids - you don't get nearly as much joy from people telling you stories about their kids as you do from watching your own. I have dogs whom I love very much, and often things they do I find to be very entertaining even though others might not derive the same level of enjoyment if I were to tell them all about it. For this reason, there are no parts of the book that are truly funny. Perhaps I would have laughed at some parts of the book if Marley was my dog, or if I at least knew Marley - but he's not, and I don't.

Unfortunately, this isn't what I disliked most about the book. What really stands out is that the author and his wife are horrible pet owners. At best they are negligent parents. More accurately, I think quite a bit of their behavior borders on animal abuse. In the half of the book I read, they did the following:

* Decided to get a dog for purely selfish purposes (parental practice)
* Read nothing about the breed before choosing to adopt a Lab
* Failed to do any research into the breeder
* Failed to seek out a trainer to work with Marley's quirks despite obvious behavioral issues
* Failed to provide Marley with adequate protection from storms which completely terrified him
* Used a choker with zeal, while almost deriving joy from Marley's near self strangulation
* Allowed Marley to escape from a moving vehicle, seemingly finding humor in Marley hanging out a moving car by his collar

The worst part comes at the end. During the last few weeks of his life, Marley becomes very sick. What does the author do? He leaves the dog at the vet's office and packs the family into the van for a Disney vacation. Fortunately he gets back just in time to have Marley put down. I then get the impression that he expects us to feel sorrow for his loss.

I can't imagine going on vacation while either of my pets are left, deathly ill, at the vet's office. I had already developed a strong dislike for the author's idea of pet care. This last incident really validated that opinion.
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02/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 67) (67 new)


message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Yes, the authors were foolish to get a dog without adequately preparing or researching -but unfortunately a lot of pepole do this. After "101 Dalmations" came out (including the more recent versions), many people adopted Dalmations without doing any reaseach to find out that dalmations are very hyperactive, neurotic dogs who are not usually good with kids. As a result, many people abandoned their dalmations by the side of the road, or worse. Hopefully this book will make people think and realize what they are getting into before adopting a dog.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I disagree that the owners were bordering on abuse. The dog was loved, he was well fed, he was taken to the vet religiously, he was petted, hugged, never beaten, and they tried to train him. By the way,the dog obviously ADORED them. I've seen abused dogs who were frightened at the very sight of a raised hand - obviously not Marley.
And yes, most of us learn the hard way that we were unprepared for the dog we got - it is usually an emotional decision, not a well thought out or researched plan. How many people don't get a dog or selfish reasons? We fall in love at first sight, and we know, beyond a doubt that the dog will love us.
And you may get a goofy or neurotic dog no matter how well you plan!
I believe that most people do the best they can caring for their pets. Sometimes the care by owners is misguided, sometimes it are irresponsible and sometimes it truly is abuse. Sometimes it's like having a weird aunt come and live with you, and you all just try to make the best of the situation.
You mentioned the seemingly heartless decision for the family to go on their vacation and leave the dog. Many families have to make that basic choice - do they put their human family and children first or their pets? My last dog was 13 years old when he died, and we cried for days and mourned for many months. I still miss him, but I would not have canceled a long planned vacation with my family because he might die while we were gone. Pets live 10-15 years at best. Yet our family relationships are 50 plus years and need to be nurtured through activities like their trip.
In this economy, some owners are having to choose between vet care and shoes for their children. That is not irresponsible.
I also believe an owner makes a humane decision when he takes a dog to a humane society , a shelter or to a rescue society rather than ignoring it, putting it out on the street, or abusing it out of frustration .
Please try not to be so hard on those of us who were never able to be the perfect dog owners, or have a perfectly obedient dog. We still loved them with all our hearts.


Laura I completely agree with you, Dave. I've never owned a dog, but there were times that I found the author's behavior absolutely disgusting. I suppose hindsight is 20/20, and I hope that the author & his family would do things differently if they ever got a new dog (whether it be more research about the breed to find one that fits their family best, or finding some sort of behavioral training if they wound up with a mischievous dog). I'm not sure it was abuse, but I definitely think that this man had no idea how to properly care for a dog like Marley, and failed to learn how to do so. Yes, the dog seemed to love them, and they seemed to love him at times too, but there were also times when Marley was traumatized by storms when the author knew how the dog would react ahead of time and failed to do anything about it, or when his wife hit the dog in what was probably a bout of postpartum depression - not an excuse, in my eyes. luckily, he didn't seem hurt by it, but I was shocked by that passage.


message 4: by Beverly (new) - added it

Beverly OMG! I haven't heard anything about the book being bad and to be honest had thought this was a "feel good" book that every dog lover needed to read. I had no clue there was even a part in there about the wife hitting the dog. I'm not one who takes any abuse of animals or children lightly and I have to say I'd be a bit put off by this too.

Interesting that you guys have this take on the book. Up until now I assumed it was all kind of sappy and sweet! I'll have to read it, but I'm glad I know it's not going to be what I had expected!


message 5: by Mary (last edited Nov 25, 2008 06:56PM) (new)

Mary I totally disagree with you, Laura. Postpartum depression can make you do things you wouldn't normally do.


message 6: by Rachel (new)

Rachel True, but postpartum depression still wasn't an excuse. His wife wasn't having full-blown postpartum psychosis and it sounds like she was still aware and in control of her actions. When she was beating Marley and saying, "He ruins everything!" it didn't sound like she had truly lost her mind, it just sounded like she was looking for a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for her own actions and choices.
Also, the author says that his wife never took her anger out on the children, only on Marley. Of course it's a good thing that she didn't take her anger out on the children - but it's also disturbing that she targeted all her rage at the dog. And it shows that she was in control of her actions, but she still chose to beat up her dog just for acting like a dog. I don't think the wife was a terrible person or anything, but that did make me like her much less. She redeemed herself somewhat by the end, but not completely.


Rose Most people would have just given up on this dog or perhaps had it destroyed. I think they did what was the best they knew how. They persevered and loved Marley. He had a good life and he was loved. Nitpicking over small slights, when there are animals out there that are truely suffering, starving and beaten to death I hardly think this warrents all this negativity. AGain people are focus on the negative, not all the positive this story has to offer. It's a shame.


message 8: by Dave (new) - rated it 1 star

Dave Most people would have just given up on this dog or perhaps had it destroyed.

Perhaps. But pointing out potentially worse offenders is hardly a compliment to the Grogan's, is it?

I think they did what was the best they knew how.

Maybe they did; but that is actually part of the problem. If they didn't know better, it is becuase they didn't seek out information which would have made them better pet owners.

Nitpicking over small slights

I suppose the extent of their shortcomings is subject to opinion. I thought they were more than small slights, but it may be that we simply disagree on that point.

when there are animals out there that are truely suffering, starving and beaten to death I hardly think this warrents all this negativity.

Again, do we give them a free pass becuase there are worse offenders out there?

AGain people are focus on the negative, not all the positive this story has to offer. It's a shame.

Is there some value I missed in the book? I am not being sarcastic; I ask legitimately. What are the positive aspects in this story that I am overlooking?


Rose I, too, could write a book about all my shortcomings as a parent and dog owner. If I put down into words my perceptions of where
I had not been my best as both parent and dog owner, it may sound like I am both abusive and negligent in certain areas. However I don't believe I am either a bad parent or a bad dog owner (I researched my dogs for 2 years before finalizing my decision) but have made so many mistakes. Some people may think they are huge mistakes, some may think, no big deal. It's all a matter of perspective. But if you look at both my kids and my dogs, they are wonderful and loved. Could I have done better, absolutely, could I have done worse by them because of my lack of knowledge or shortcomings, absolutely. The positive is that Marley was loved and part of a family despite their inadequacies. We all have them and we all just do the very best that we can with what we have and what we know :)



message 10: by Dave (new) - rated it 1 star

Dave I, too, could write a book about all my shortcomings as a parent and dog owner.

I'm sure I could too. I think this is the difference. You and I are perhaps aware of where we fail to meet our own standards. Grogan wrote a whole book which pointed out lots of his shortcomings, but seemed completely unaware of those shortcomings. If he exhibited any sort of reflection, I might have been more kind. Instead, he simply chugs forward, completely oblivious of any lapse of judgement on his part.

He then shares these mistakes with the world, but never points out they are mistakes - thus perputuating irreponsible behavior. I understand some people adopt pets without doing any research into the breed. I think this is not ideal. Grogan might have have done the world a service by explaining how his lack of research was not responsible. He does no such thing.

The positive is that Marley was loved and part of a family despite their inadequacies.

I see potential positive. If Grogan had used his experience to help himself or others be better pet owners, that would have been a good thing. He didn't do that.


message 11: by Rose (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rose Good points. Maybe the book can used by those who have read it and use it as guide to why we should always research breeds or even making a huge commitment such as obtaining a dog at all. Or else they may find themselves in the same situation. :) Be well, thanks for the different perspective.


message 12: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Dave, I don't understand why you said the author didn't portray his mistakes as such. I thought he was pretty honest in admitting the times he and his wife screwed up with Marley. But like Rose said, they loved him and overall he did have a good life. And the book may have been humorous and may have had a happy ending, but it did show how difficult raising a dog can be, and it may have served as a cautionary tale for some people. I think this book could very easily make people think twice about whether they are prepared to get a dog.


message 13: by Dave (new) - rated it 1 star

Dave Dave, I don't understand why you said the author didn't portray his mistakes as such.

Perhaps we got something different from the book. It's been a couple of years, but I never recall reading anything as explicit as "Whoops", "My bad", "We made a mistake when...", etc.

I thought he was pretty honest in admitting the times he and his wife screwed up with Marley.

And this is where I read it differently. Yes, he was honest in what happened. But I never once got the impression that he acknowledged that his judgment could have been better. For example, the first chapter discusses how they researched the breed *after* bringing Marley home. He then goes on to conclude that all the literature essentially deems the breed to be a wonderful choice, and pays only passing attention to the fact that they had completely put the cart before the horse.

Most people seem to have reached different conclusions as me regarding this book, so maybe I'm not being completely fair. Still, I'm comfortable remaining in the minority view.


Carrie To whom it may concern: just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you should share it especially if it is unfounded and foolish.

If you are angered by this post, you are most likely who this post concerns.

Have a good day!


message 15: by Stacy (new)

Stacy OMG! I just finished with the book this morning. One chapter they talk about leaving the dog at a dog bording house, the dog has deadly health issues, and they are told this happens when the dog is stressed. The author KNOWS it's the stress from the bording house. Then what does he do in the next chapter? He takes his family on vacation just to leave the dog at the vets. Good God, I was just sick at how stupid this guy was. I couldn't even believe what I was reading. The wife beating the dog with her fists made me sick. I agree 100% with your review. The only reason I even read it is because my mom thought it was so cute. I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw the cruelty to this.


Jackie I, too, did not like the treatment Marley received from the author. I was mortified at many actions, especially the Disney World/dropping Marley off at the kennel part of the book. I agree with you Dave. I always try to find something redeeming about every book...I haven't found anything yet about this one, except that maybe the treatment of animals should not be taken lightly or capriously. It could be a manual for how not to treat your pet. This book is a shameful portrait of selfishness.


message 17: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M I agree with some points here. However, I think that overall the author's errors with Marley were out of ignorance and also out of having a hectic and busy life. Yes, there were a lot of things that could have been handled better, and the Grogan's are probably lucky that worse things didn't happen (like Marley getting run over by a car), but I think that it was clear that Marley was loved and he seems as though he had a pretty happy life. The author didn't do anything with cruel intent. And, I'm sure everyone is very aware that dogs are out there who have way worse lives than Marley did. He was loved, fed properly, frequently taken to the vet and received proper medical care. Nobody is perfect, and I hope that everyone who reads this book can learn something from it about how to care for a pet. (Obedience class immediately jumps to mind.)


Rachel I wish I had read your review before I posted my own. I could have just said "seconded" and called it a day.


message 19: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I don't think Marley was abused, but he certainly didn't have great pack leaders which is why he was so disobedient and fearful.

The passage where they talk about Jenny hitting the dog... sounded to me like it was more emotional thumping on the chest type hitting than true hitting. She wouldn't have done it if she didn't think he could take it. Ever had a large dog? Sometimes you need to give them a good thump to even get their attention. (I don't mean a "hit" persay, more of a strong pat on the side. It's clear that it doesn't hurt them anymore than punching your friend in the shoulder might.) So people need to avoid the kneejerk "omg they hit a dog" reaction, it's clear they never physically abused this dog. Dogs communicate through touch, so it's totally normal for them to wrestle and use strong touching with each other... so it's ok for us too, as long as our intentions are clearly playful and loving (as opposed to malicious or abusive).

Fear of thunder is common in dogs and difficult to overcome. But I hate when people automatically turn to sedatives instead of trying a behavioral/psychological approach instead. Desensitization (playing thunder noises softly while trying to engage Marley and keep him from beng fearful, and then gradually increasing the noises) would've been a better bet for poor Marl.

I'm sad that he was never truly fulfilled as a dog by not having a true pack leader to tell him what to do and show him when to not have fear.

Watch the episode of the Dog Whisperer when he trains the Grogan's new Lab, Gracie! He totally disses the way they handled Marley, lol! :)


message 20: by Rachel (new)

Rachel I agree that Marley probably needed a strong pack leader. And I think Jenny's hitting Marley sounded really immature - especially when she said, "He ruins everything!" She was the adult and she had made the choice to take on the responsibility of a dog and children. I don't think it was full-blown physical abuse when she hit him, but it was wrong and it was immature.


message 21: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen Rachel wrote: "I agree that Marley probably needed a strong pack leader. And I think Jenny's hitting Marley sounded really immature - especially when she said, "He ruins everything!" She was the adult and she..."

Agreed! It certainly wasn't the wisest choice of action, nor good pack leadership. She had no one to blame for his disobedience but themselves! ;)




message 22: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara Busbee Wow, Dave. Do you know this Grogan guy and have it out for him or something? You must really, really hate this book.


message 23: by Tristan (new)

Tristan Stewart You know this is as true story right? You really are just bagging on someone's life. You know that right?

PS Do not take this in a wrong way.


message 24: by Jenn (last edited Apr 15, 2009 01:50AM) (new)

Jenn Carrie wrote: "To whom it may concern: just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you should share it especially if it is unfounded and foolish.

If you are angered by this post, you are most likely who this p..."


well, in my opinion, you sound rather childish saying that. but...there's freedom of speech for you, both ways. in terms of your statement of it being "foolish and unfounded" - it's backed up, makes sense, and it's totally legit. if this review isn't, i don't know what is. just because dave doesn't write what you wanted to see, doesn't mean he shouldn't share it. it was your choice to read it after all, fully knowing he gave it 1 star.

that being said: when i read marley and me i was touched by the sentimentality of the story. not just because it was about a guy and his dog, but the story basically took you through every stage of his life, with marley by his side. the ultimate loving companion. one that really showed you animals were smarter than you thought they could be (i.e. in some cases, like when the wife miscarried or conor was sick). maybe it's just me, but i did find some parts funny. as for how marley was really treated, lets just say my eyes didn't really open until i read this review. honestly, grogan was a pretty bad owner. yeah, not all owners are perfect and all that... and sure, he probably wrote the book the way he did for specific reasons (honesty included)... but truth be told: the movie makes it look a lot better than what's down on print.

however, any sensible person would know that grogan's way of raising marley is NOT to be repeated - i would assume that the reader should take that away after reading the book. i would also assume, that without needing to rebuke himself in text, he fully knows his wrongs and is probably treating his current pet a lot better, because he's learned. and isn't there some sort of message from grogan about raising dogs in there? i could swear there was something in there about that. correct me if i'm wrong - i read it about a year ago and i'm just drawing from my bad memory.


Joanie I don't get why your so hard on the way Grogan takes care of his dog. Obviously he made mistakes on raising the dog and he knows that it doesn't mean he can't right a story on the trivals of owning a misbahaved dog. It was a great story and heartwarming. Its not like he didn't care about the dogs well being. No ones a perfect go by the book dog owner. My parents have made mistakes on taking care of our pets. My dog misbehaves and does some of the same stupid things Marley did. That doesn't mean the dog was un happy and not well tooken care of. Grogan obviously cared about his dog and you make it seem like he was a horible owner. Its not like he beat the dog to death. Geeze.


message 26: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth The Grogan Family was on an episode of The Dog Whisperer a while ago because they were having problems with their new dog Gracie. Cesar made sure to let the family know that Marley's problems were because of their lack of leadership and not because Marley was "the world's worst dog." In that episode John Grogan expressed regret that they didn't have that information when Marley was still alive.


Carolyn Just finished this book and I have to say I agree with Dave's review. The wife hitting the dog and the family leaving the very old and ailing dog in a kennel,(knowing that a previous kennel visit appeared to have contributed to the stomach problem) ,so they could have a Disney vacation..both of these episodes sickened me.Yes, I agree that Grogan appeared to love the dog (not so sure about the wife), but, nevertheless...yikes! I think the movie has done quite well...maybe they left these parts out.


message 28: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Wow. I was really excited to read this (I'm a big dog lover who volunteers at an animal shelter), but PASS! I'm absolutely stunned that so many people loved this book. It's been a long time since I've come across a novel that makes me hate humanity in general, but--Bingo.



message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

To contradict this review, I just want to let you know that those dog owners stood by their dog in spite of EVERYTHING he put them through. The book had humor and emotion and gave you a very vivid perspective of John Grogan. I think he portrayed his feelings BRILLIANTLY and I felt connected with him. I do agree with the first few points that you mentioned. Along with the thunderstorm one. But I really CAN relate to him as I once had a dog. Some of them [such as 'Saint Shaun':] and Gracie (portrayed in the book) seemed like the world's most angelic creatures but most of the time, a dog WILL be naughty and it WILL be bad sometimes and the best way to train a dog is to GIVE it harsh treatment. Then it will learn from it's mistakes and behave better. I think this book was fabulous but I sincerely appreciate your intelligent analysis, Dave.


Chris Oh my gosh! I've had dogs my entire life. Some dogs are easier to train than others. Just like people they all have their own personalities. I've never done "research" to get a dog. Sheesh. I've had dogs that were trained almost overnight. I've had dogs that just didn't like the crate or the leash or whatever. They just are who they are. I read this book and LOVED it. I laughed, I cried and I laughed through my tears (no book has EVER made me do that). For the most part, Marley reminded my of my beloved Maxie - may she rest in peace - I had her for 14 years. I recommend this book constantly to people who've owned dogs.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Lolz. I had a dog named Maximillian [we called him MAX:]


Veena I own a dog and NEVER did any research before getting a dog. Just the dog, loved it and brought it home! I don't think the author is inhumane or whatever... i think you cannot get a super obedient dog OR teach every dog to be a good one.. NO WAY! Our first dog Tuffy was sent to the obedience class training for 3 months and he passed. Once he was back, he was the same, as naughty as ever...LOL! and I LOVED him :) :)!

AND not everyone has the money and the means to get the amount of help this author got for Marley and all the money he spent on getting things fixed.

I don't think beating the dog or scolding him because he ripped open your sofa is inhumane... Using choker chain as the LAST resort is also not wrong. For my small Dachshund dog, we have bought 10 belts in the course of 3 years ... she loves to tear them apart.. and then for trips we had to get a steel one..so that at least that stays.

One thing is John was a new dog owner... someone who had no clue...AND you get dogs for different reasons.. and MOST of the times they are selfish!
I think the book is awesome...it made me laugh, cry ..everything.

But you are right, dog antics are best "seen" and that too when they are done by your own.. but for some reason I loved Marley and his owners.


Rhiannon This book got an average rating of over 4 stars for a reason...it's obvious what the majority of readers think.

And there isn't ONE right way to raise a dog. Every dog and every breed have their own personalities so what may work on some, may not work with others.

Nobody has the right to criticize someone else for raising their pets a certain way, ESPECIALLY those that do not own pets themselves!

And how do you NOT get a dog for selfish reasons? I've never heard anyone say "I really don't want a dog, but I'm going to get one anyways because it's what's best for it." No, they get one because they want one.


Farheen I just started reading this, and can't agree/disagree with you yet, but I have to say your first line made me laugh out loud. :)


Megan I personally must agree with Rhiannon, every dog is a diffrent case and obviouly Marley was extremly special.

But what about the breeder? I think that may have been the main cause of Marley's problems. I say this because I had two papllion pups (my family and I both did major research before getting the dogs) but it didn't help, it turns out as we found later that the puppys were interbred, the mother had been bred with one of her earlier litters son. one of the worse interbreeding a person can do, it effected their them mentally. Their health was failing and they themselves were quite handicapped. yes marley was healthy and lived a full life, but remember there are less damaging interbreedings. (ex. sister and brother)that could have resulted in different outcomes.

So when Grogan explained the father sighting (pages 9-10)it seems to me Marley MIGHT have been interbred, at this point who knows. It is just a possiblity. Plus the way they handle Marley, he's a big dog. It takes nothing short of a horsewhip (sarcasticly speaking) to hurt a dog of that size. and marley didn't seem to be effected by it too badly. As for Jennifer's behavior: she was under a lot of stress, and lets face it when people are stressed they tend to do things that isn't normal for their personality.no it isn't an excuse. but look at it form her perspection for a moment. two babies, no sleep, running on caffine and the fact that you can't get any sleep because of the crying and barking,marley destroying the house per-normal. Personally, I would have a hard time.

now this is a possibilty, i have no proof and am just laying out some explaination for Marley's abnormal behavior. but to me it sounds like marley had a full life a happy life. that is all a dog could hope and wish for. and besides they live in the present, they don't care about what happened to them before.

(PS just in case anyone wanted to know what happend to the Papllions. We had to give them to SCARS, they had major health problems and my mother couldn't afford it at the time. from what we found out afterward they were separated. and both had to have some serious dental surgery to fix the teeth that were falling out.)


message 36: by Krystal (new)

Krystal I disagree. I think they loved that dog. At least they didn't neglect him or beat him. He was a happy dog.


message 37: by Georgi (new) - added it

Georgi I completely disagree with you, Dave.
I am eleven years old and my dog died last year. I filled up my whole diary about him. I understand dogs as much as you or John Grogan.
Marley was well fed with children who loved him and the two adults definitely did not neglect him. they hugged him, tried but failed to train him and religiously took him to the vet.
I completely and utterly loved this book. my friend whose dog also died gave it to me as a very thoughtful present for my birthday after my dog died.


message 38: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz Hull It appears that most of the things you (Dave) wrote about were all of the things that the couple did wrong in raising Marley.

Well, it's a shame you couldn't be more forgiving, when the author clearly admits halfway through chapter 18 (in my book it's on the bottom of page 179):

"Besides, I told myself, there are no bad dogs, only inept, clueless owners like Jenny and me. It was our fault Marley turned out the way he had."

They obviously knew Marley had problems, and stated it in the most humble way possible: by taking the blame.
(not that they were bad parents to Marley)

All I can say is, you might want to read the ENTIRE book before you criticize it.
Though you seem to remember all of the couple's mistakes, one overlooked quote is a pre-destined bad review.


message 39: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa OK,m so which of us haven't made some mistakes when it comes to dog ownership. I think they did the best they could with the information they had!


message 40: by Jen (last edited Oct 06, 2011 10:59AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen Veens wrote: "I own a dog and NEVER did any research before getting a dog. Just the dog, loved it and brought it home! I don't think the author is inhumane or whatever... i think you cannot get a super obedient ..."


I disagree. It's exactly this attitude of "Oh that's just the way my dog is! It's his personality! Every dog's different!" that leads to negligent ownership and bad dog behavior.

Yes some dogs are more challenging than others, but a responsible owner who provides strong leadership should always be able to overcome these personality variables.

But giving up and saying "That's just the way he/she is!" is totally irresponsible and negligent, and placing the blame on the pet when in fact the blame is squarely on the OWNER. Always has been and always will be.

Sending your dog to obedience school btw doesn't guarantee good behavior because it's always the owners who end up influencing behavior, and the owners who need to follow-up that obedience training with consistent reinforcement and leadership.

People really need to take responsibility for their pets' behavior, and understand they can ALWAYS correct or influence it.


message 41: by Thu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Thu Ta you're sad. I don't think people like you should read. At all.


Angela I actually liked this book, but I do agree with Dave, the Grogan's tread very close to line that defines animal abuse, and definitely step over it on more than one occasion. However, I think this is not unusual for first-time pet owners. Sure, they had dogs when they were kids, but that hardly qualifies someone to own a dog. I'm just glad that they kept the dog, and didn't put him down, or foist him off to someone else.


message 43: by Amy (last edited Apr 21, 2012 08:47PM) (new)

Amy Dave wrote: "Most people would have just given up on this dog or perhaps had it destroyed.

Perhaps. But pointing out potentially worse offenders is hardly a compliment to the Grogan's, is it?

I think they di..."


What about just plain love for your dog? Grogan just wanted to share the story of his dog. And nobody is perfect, they all make mistakes, and people learn from them. Have you not made any mistakes on your dog? There are way worse dog owners out there. And I'm not saying that everything Grogan did was fine, there are a few things that I agree with you. But I think Grogan wanted to share the fact that a dog can teach you a lot, and all the things he that learned and expierienced/enjoyed because of Marley. Maybe he just wanted to share that miracle of his to the rest of us. I mean, sure, there are TONS of stories out there on great miracles of human and dog and yadda yadda, and you can always find something meaningful in them, even if it's the absolute most cliché story of loyalty, bravery, love etc. So maybe this story is just one among those millions.


Kristin I work with animals for a living and I think you have no idea what you're talking about. I think they did the best they could with their dog. My conclusion...you A) have no imagination and B) are a complete jackass


Lawrence Thomas It's unfortunate that there is no dislike button on comments. Very judgmental. It's either for you or it's not and feel free to explain why but your comments offer no helpful criticism and it's unfortunate that your comment sits atop the commenting list.

I have seen too many people give up on their dogs after a few weeks so good on the Grogan's for sticking it out.

Bottom line John is a great writer and millions of people enjoyed the way he told the tale of this crazy dog.


Andres Rosa fernandez They do get him tranquilliser pills for storms aha. So you're wrong on that one


Connie Dogs don't "flunk out" of obedience class. Owners do. I completely agree with your review. I work in a dog-friendly salon. We have some great dogs with great owners visit us. We also have great dogs with morons for owners. This book made it "cute" to have an ill mannered dog. It's not cute. It's an obvious failure on the part of their owners.


Traci One thing I haven't seen mentioned (though I might've just missed it) is at the end when John enters the house and there's no Marley and he feels relief. I know people grieve in their own way but when I read this (five years ago) I had just lost a cat I had for almost twenty years and every spot in the house reminded me of her. She was very sick at the end. And she had her moments. But I was never once happy that she wasn't there. Don't even remind me of Marley crawling up the stairs up and down without aid. Or care. Hated this book. Loved the dog though.


message 49: by Caffeinated Book (new)

Caffeinated Book Puppy I really hope you read through all the negative comments you received, they have all raised very good points.


message 50: by Tabby (new) - added it

Tabby a lot of people get there dogs from the humane society where there are mostly mixed breeds. i have to dogs that i got there. they are just as nice as any other pure breed. all dogs get into trouble. but not every one has money for a trainer. this is fiction and i feel that you (original reviewer) have judged the book by the actions of the characters portrayed rather then then the skill of the writer.


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