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  • Writer's pictureAnanya Ak

Marley and Me: A Hilarious Memoir and a Must-Read for Every Dog-Owner

A dog, lying down...and a book in front of him

I’m sharing some nostalgic memories about the book, so bear with me. The review is below my wistful ramblings if you want to skip them. Also, I'm randomly attaching dog pics here and there because...why not?

I remember, when this book released and became famous, we had just gotten our own little Labrador puppy. So obviously we bought this book. The puppy on the cover was a copy of ours. I remember my mom laughing uproariously while reading the book. And then, when I picked it up, I remember not being so enamoured with it.

A dog and a puppy, sitting side by side
Fluffy the pup and Duke the big boi

I also remember watching the movie on a plane journey. We were going to visit my dad back when he used to work abroad, and the movie kept us company. I remember loving the movie…and crying at the end of it.

All these are vague memories, though…the only things I really know for sure are that I DNFed the book and cried during the movie. The book, along with all my memories of it, went into a suitcase…and I didn’t open it again.

A month or so back, though…bookstagram made me nostalgic and I opened the suitcase. This book was right there at the top! My mom took it immediately to read, and I thought I’d pick it up again…give it another chance, you know?

Then the perfect opportunity presented itself – the #nameinthetitlereadathon! The book was right there in the recommendations, for prompt 2: A memoir/biography. Perfect opportunity. It was like fate!


Two dogs playing with identical vicious expressions on their faces

The subhead below the title says, “Life and love with the world’s worst dog,” and I don’t think there’s a more apt description of the book. John and Jenny, just married, are both dog lovers. They’ve each had the saintliest of dogs while growing up, and getting a dog when they’ve settled in their new home is a no-brainer. Neither of them expected the tiny, innocent-looking furball of a puppy to be so much trouble, though! A barrelling, ninety-seven-pound Labrador, too big for his breed, he’s the embodiment of every pet dog horror story ever. He’s broken walls, eaten couches, stolen women’s undergarments, and even…wait for it…swallowed a gold chain! But. But. But. “World’s worst dog” he might be, but John, Jenny, and their eventual kids love them to bits. He’s lovable, loyal, and a joy to be around. And the book is about him. Marley, the lovable goof.

My thoughts

Here’s the thing: I didn’t go into the book with any real expectations. I hadn’t liked the book as a kid, after all. How much could I have possibly changed?

But I was wrong! I am so glad I picked this book up again.

I guess my sense of humour wasn’t evolved back then, because I couldn’t stop laughing throughout the book!

I could totally relate to the author’s frustration at Marley’s shenanigans…my Duke (and Fluffy!) are much more docile, but I could still relate! But I think I would have laughed even if the descriptions hadn’t been relatable. The author has a gift. His metaphors and outlandish (but on-point!) comparisons will make you laugh at every turn.

And the small instances when Marley is loyal to the core or really kind are even more heartfelt, considering what a disaster he usually is.

(SPOILER ALERT) Of course, I would have preferred it if the author hadn’t subjected me to all the range of feelings he and his family felt when Marley dies, but that couldn’t have been avoided. Overall, a brilliantly written book. I’d pick it up again, just to read the hilarious bits, when I’m feeling low.

Read if:

  • You own a big dog – bonus if it’s a Labrador (you’ll relate to some parts at least)

  • You own a small dog (you’ll heave a sigh of relief because man; big dogs are a handful!)

  • You like dogs

  • You want a laugh

Chuck that. the book. It’s hilarious and fun, even if you can’t relate.

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