Not long ago my daughter and I saw the movie Marley & Me. I thought it was great, at least from the viewpoint of one who hadn’t read the book first. I like dogs, but mostly I like how they go home with other people, so I remained horrified by the destructive, misbehaving Marley. I do, however, have an aged and ill Labrador mix who is as mild-mannered and sweet as they come so the movie’s ending was a painful reminder of a sad day approaching. Mostly, though, I enjoyed watching the maturing of the husband-wife relationship.
So now there’s another Grogan memoir out. How many memoirs should one person write? The Longest Trip Home has disappointed some Marley fans in that there is no dog there. It has also disappointed others because it is about common life experiences…we’ve all heard about ruler-whacking nuns, voyeuristic teen boys, and young adults who abandon the religion they were brought up in. Chauncey Mabe, Sun Sentinel book reviewer, complains that the book lacks the misery of best-selling memoirs (mis-mems) such as Angela’s Ashes or Running With Scissors and suggests Grogan could have written a fictitious version – a novel – with added angst that could have better sustained interest and got the same points across about relationships. On the other hand, The Book Lady loved The Longest Trip Home, calling it “refreshing and wonderful” compared to the usual trauma-filled memoirs. She states the book is “a testament to the idea that all of our life stories are important and have something to offer.” Hear, hear. I would argue that Marley is about common life experiences, too, and the dog is what sells it so well.
So what do YOU think about Grogan’s Trip?
To read a great interview with John Grogan on BookReads, click here.