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

2.76  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  127 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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2.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  625 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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May 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Convoluted and confusing. I finished it but was tired.
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
Mai Laakso
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
Sarah Furey
Aug 28, 2014 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.
Mar 23, 2011 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
Jun 13, 2014 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
J.V. Seem
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-novels
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***!
Apr 16, 2014 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!!!!!!
Bizarre but brilliant

An account of the last part of Marilyn Monroe's life from the point of view of her dog Maf (short for Mafia) - given to her by Frank Sinatra. I loved the humour and darkness rolled into the narrative of this book - the unexpected philosophical conversations with other animals; the opinions on politics and celebrity; the frustrations of Maf, who knows he is so much more intelligent than those around him, but cannot make himself heard! I'm not a big animal person, and genuinel
Sam Romilly
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
So refreshing to read an intelligent witty and fun book. From the perspective of a Maltese white dog we listen in to the conversations of the great such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe - as they really were (perhaps).

It does not attempt to solve any mysteries or come up with new theories of what happened - it is just a pleasant journey from start to finish.
Faiza Sattar
Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, ylto-2017-read
★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

One of the most tedious books I’ve had the misfortune of reading, “The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog” by Andrew O’Hagan is told from the perspective of Marilyn Monroe’s beloved dog. As a socialist and Trotskyist, Maf short for Mafia Honey, is a bichon maltais presented to Marilyn Monroe by Frank Sinatra shortly before her death. The pooch with his insight and absurd humor portrays the life of a troubled Hollywood star in 60’s, commenting on general environment of America in Kennedy
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
The third star is for the clear intelligence of the author and the (too few) flashes of good fiction (the scene in the art gallery, e.g.). But the book is tedious. Tedious enough that it left me without the energy or will to offer my thoughts on what O'Hagan seems (to me) to be up to.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was awful! I abandoned it after one chapter.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I skipped a lot of pages. this was just bad
Jun 09, 2011 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
Keith Astbury
I love Marilyn Monroe but this fictional account of her dog Maf's life just didn't do it for me. Hugely disappointing.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted so much to like this book because it had to do with dogs and Marilyn Monroe but the writing was tedious and self-absorbed most of the time. There were some witty moments but they were rare and did not make up for the overall mundaneness.
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dogs, fiction, abandoned
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 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
Sep 05, 2010 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
Sep 24, 2011 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
Nov 30, 2010 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 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
Jan 19, 2012 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 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
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Andrew O'Hagan, FRSL (born 1968) is a Scottish novelist and non-fiction author.

He is the author of the novels Our Fathers, Personality, and 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 Lo