John Grogan is the author of the #1 international bestseller Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog, the bestselling middle-grade memoir Marley: A Dog Like No Other, and three #1 best-selling picture books: Bad Dog, Marley!, A Very Marley Christmas, and Marley Goes to School. John lives with his wife and their three children in the Pennsylvania countryside.
John Grogan ha sido un premiado reportero gráfico y columnista por más de veinticinco años. Vive en Pensilvania con su esposa Jenny y sus tres hijos.
Richard Cowdrey has illustrated numerous books for children, including Bad Dog, Marley! by John Grogan, Animal Lullabies by Pam Conrad, and Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. He is the owner of a yellow Labrador, Murray, whose behavior is remarkably similar to Marley's. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.
Classifying a writer as an "overnight success years in the making" is something of a cliché, but in John Grogan's case, that designation is undeniably accurate. In fact, his claim that it took him twenty-five years to get to the point where his debut novel hit #10 on the coveted New York Times Bestseller List in its first week and amazingly was already in its twelfth printing after a mere seven weeks on the shelves, doesn't even provide the complete picture. If one takes into account the fact that Grogan has been a devoted and disciplined writer since he began keeping a journal as a young boy, his tale reads more like an overnight success story a lifetime in the making.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the book that became a whirlwind sensation as soon as it was released. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog is a simple, lovingly rendered memoir about a man and his dog -- not exactly the stuff of lurid controversy. However, it is a testament to the universal power of a personal, witty, honest remembrance that Marley & Me has become such a smash success. It's not just any book that manages to get a "thumbs up" from Janet Maslin, famed literary critic of the New York Times. "Mr. Grogan knew the workings of Marley's mind," she observed in her career-making write up. "He makes that abundantly clear in Marley & Me, a very funny valentine to all those four-legged ‘big, dopey, playful galumphs that seemed to love life with a passion not often seen in this world.'"
Throughout the memoir, Marley manages to get into all manners of mischief -- from smashing and trashing the Grogan home in a variety of ways, to ruining friendly get togethers with his excessive drooling, to embarking on canine panty raids. Throughout it all, the 97-pound Labrador retriever is never anything less than lovable, and Grogan and his wife Jenny display nearly saint-like patience for Marley's rowdy tendencies -- well, they do at least most of the time.
Although humor plays a tremendous role in Grogan's immensely entertaining shaggy dog story (sorry about that, folks), he also uses Marley's misadventures as a means for relating his own story, which isn't always a delightful romp. The reader is carried through tough times in the Grogan household, such as the miscarriage of their first child. However, Marley's presence makes such moments of heartache a bit more bearable for both the young couple and the reader.
Grogan credits his ability to vividly recount such key moments in his life to his decades of devoted journal keeping. "I've been a faithful journal keeper since grade school," Grogan confided, "and many of my published pieces got their start as rough journal entries... Many readers have asked how I remembered detailed moments and dialogue in Marley & Me. I didn't. Many of those scenes came directly out of lengthy journal entries I had written within hours of the event, and that's what I credit for giving those scenes their immediacy."
Marley & Me has undeniably struck a massive chord with dog lovers and critics alike. The accolades this modest memoir has received are truly impressive; Booklist deemed it "A warm, friendly -memoir-with-dog" and Publishers Weekly concurred that "Dog lovers will love this account of Grogan's much loved canine." And let us not forget about that crucial blessing from the New York Times. Not bad for a first-effort that is essentially the story of a "boy" and his dog.
"It took me 25 years to find my way here, but the last few months have been like a rollercoaster ride," says Grogan. "I'm holding on for dear life and watching, with equal parts exhilaration and terror, where it will take me."
Good To Know
A few fun and fascinating outtakes from our interview with Grogan:
"Before moving to Pennsylvania in 1999, I played bass in a newsroom rock band in South Florida for several years. The band was comprised of reporters and writers from my paper, the Sun-Sentinel, and the Miami Herald. Fortunately for me, everyone else was considerably better than I was, which allowed us to get paying gigs in clubs and bars. On many nights we sounded pretty bad, but occasionally, when all the pistons were firing in unison, when the gods of rhythm and harmony were smiling down, we actually rocked. It was enough to make me believe in magic. Those moments remain some of the best and most fun of my life."
"Along with my technology-suspicious friend, Dave, I'm a Luddite in Training. Even though I'm totally dependent on modern electronic gizmos, from my laptop to my iPod to my cell phone, I love to embrace old technology or no technology at all. I collect old rusty hand tools and sharpen and polish them, then use them to build things out of walnut and cherry that I harvest from fallen trees in the woods. I keep chickens in the backyard for their fresh eggs and would have a goat instead of a lawnmower if I thought I could get away with it. I garden without synthetic inputs and take great joy in turning old potato peelings and coffee grinds into compost. I'm the crazy man in the neighborhood who favors a scythe (you know, like the grim reaper carries) over a gasoline-powered weed whacker. Besides being an efficient cutting tool, the scythe is great for scaring away nettlesome youngsters on Devil's Night."
"I'm pathologically incapable of making decisions. Just ask my wife how long it took me to propose -- on second thought, best not to bring it up. You don't want to be with me while I'm trying to order at a Chinese restaurant. Sometimes, a guy just can't choose between the cashew chicken and the sweet and sour."
"In my first week in my first newspaper job out of college, I was a green-as-could-be 21-year-old, I was sent out to write about a murder victim whose body was found several days after it had been dumped in the woods. It was a hot June and the smell was horrendous. Flies were buzzing everywhere. I grew up in a quiet little suburban town on a lake outside Detroit; I'd never seen anything more horrific than a flattened chipmunk, and now here in front of me was this poor, decomposing man. I stood around with the cops, waiting for the coroner to show up and trying to look nonchalant. A veteran state trooper looked down at my brand-new suede shoes I had bought for the new job, and said, ‘You can kiss those goodbye. They'll never lose this smell.' And he was right. I don't know how or when or where, but with all of you as my witnesses, I vow that scene will someday end up in a book."