Marley and Me

by John Grogan
320 pages, Biography/History
Reviewed by terbidoodles

Entertaining, heart-warming read, but with some very questionable areas.


Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog is a touching memoir of the author's loony yellow Labrador Retriever named Marley. As newlyweds, he and his wife decided to get a puppy, thinking that it would be good training for parenthood. The story follows the challenges they face with raising Marley along with three kids, and ends in Marley's twilight years. This is not just the story of a goofy dog with a heart of gold, it's also the story of how the author and his family grew together and learned together throughout Marley's lifetime.


The author mentions having had premarital sex with his wife, without any guilt aside from the fact that they were unprotected. The author tries to teach Marley right from wrong by using rewards and punishments, but this is met with little success since Marley seems to be too flighty (or mentally unstable, as expert opinions point out). However, all of Marley's transgressions are never done out of malice, and his love and loyalty towards his masters is always evident.

Spiritual Content

The author admits that he doesn't believe in the afterlife or dog heaven. Religion is not a factor in the family's life or decision-making process.


Crimes such as stabbing and murder are committed in author's neighborhood, and is described somewhat graphically.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is mentioned in the course of entertaining guests, but there is no drunkenness. The author gives Marley sedatives whenever the dog gets too panicky.

Sexual Content

The couple's sex life is mentioned occasionally because they were trying to have a baby. Once, Marley's heavy breathing is said to sound like a pornographic movie.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

Marley's daily absolution are mentioned frequently (such as throwing up, urinating and defecating) which some readers may find crude. He also likes sniffing things he shouldn't sniff in public.


Canine lovers are sure to love this book, especially those who have less-than-perfect dogs. The book definitely has some questionable parts, as mentioned above, which readers should consider before reading it, and it's not a story for young readers. On a brighter note, the main theme of the story is the importance of acceptance, understanding, and love towards others.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 2.5
Written for Age: adult

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