Marley and Me

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marley and Me, by John Grogan

I had no desire to read this book originally. It seemed to be romanticizing a crazy dog with irresponsible owners, and I had a strong hunch that the dog died in the end. I hate it when dogs die. Why would I want to read about that? Plus, this book was an easy reading top-seller, and I enjoy being contrary and ignoring popular trends. That's just me.

However, the universe conspired to change my mind. My mom recommended it, and she's not a sentimental person. The movie got good reviews. I had a free ebook copy. I was having a really bad day and needed cheering up. And now after reading it, I can see why so many other people enjoyed it too.

This one hit pretty close to home, actually. A young idealistic couple gets a really cute dog that ends up being a handful... check. Begin to outgrow their beloved home in a sketchy neighborhood... check. Start a family and focus on the all-consuming kids while the dog loves them unresevedly anyway... check. I'm at a different stage of life than where this couple ended up at the end of the book, and it was reassuring to hear from someone who made it through on the other side. Plus, it made me feel better about my own hyper dog!

This was a funny and authentic book about loving family, dogs, and life. Save it for when you're having a bad day, and I promise you'll feel better.

In progress

Monday, June 15, 2009

Has anyone else read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving?

If so, has anyone else found it fantastically boring?

I kept coming across it in lists of great literature, and when I saw a free ebook version of it, I downloaded it right away. I'm still slogging through the novel (right now I'm on page 216) but I checked reviews on to see what others thought. At last count there are 816 five-star reviews. Just typing that made me sigh again. It's supposed to be an amazing, funny, brilliant novel about faith, which inspired the movie Simon Birch. I found that movie okay, although a bit emotionally manipulative. I've forgotten how it ended but some of the reviews on Amazon gave away enough plot points that if I stop reading A Prayer for Owen Meany I won't wonder what happened to the characters. I also learned that it contains 512 pages of narrative, which begin in the 1950s and keeps trudging on through all the way to Vietnam and Iran Contra. To top it all off, the book is also considered an excellent critique of the faults of American foreign policy. Haven't we been here before? Can we move on to something else now, please?

This reminds me of the preface of Fanny Herself, by Edna Ferber. Click here to read it. I might give up on this one. Life is too short to read boring books.