John Grogan’s international bestseller “Marley: A Dog Like No Other” is suited for children of all ages, and it tells the story of a young puppy, Marley, who quickly develops a big personality, boundless energy, and becomes the troublemaker in the homestead.
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Grogan describes Marley as always causing problems. Sometimes he steals food from the kitchen, gets into the house violently, or disturbs visitors coming to see the family.
Some people may say that he is the worst dog around; however, those who have interacted with him for a long time consider him a dog like no other.
Marley’s astounding affection and trustworthiness are as a source of joy in the family. As he grows under the care of Grogan’s family, he teaches them about the important things in life.
The story, narrated in the first person, starts when John and Jenny, his wife, were looking for a new member of their young family. They had been married for slightly more than a year, and they thought that having a dog could bring joy into the family.
After searching in what had once been Florida swampland, they settled on Marley, a yellow fur-ball of a puppy. The author describes the dog as having a passion for life. As he grew into maturity, his zest for life also equally increased.
As soon as Marley was taken to his new home, he followed John wherever he went and tried to gnaw at almost everything he found around him. And he soon found out the best thing about his new place of residence, that is, sprinting across the house with the toilet-paper roll.
As the family increased in size, they relocated to Pennsylvania. Here, Marley found out the joy of playing in the snow. He also enjoyed tobogganing down the hill on John’s stomach. He exhibited strange eating habits.
His destructive behavior made John and his wife register him at a local dog training club that provided basic obedience classes so that he could become a good dog.
“A stern, no-nonsense dog trainer who believed that there are no bad dogs, only weak-willed and hapless owners,” assumed the duty of training the misbehaving dog (Grogan, 29).
However, the dog instructor soon threw him out of the obedience classes because he was causing problems at the training center and he could not heed to instructions.
This book is not only about Marley, the mischievous dog, but it also concerns the life of the Grogans. It describes the hard times that the family managed to go through and how the dog fitted in and responded in these circumstances.
As much as the author describes the crucial moments that shaped their lives all through their thirteen years of staying with the dog, he does not abandon the book’s main character, Marley the Dog.
The dog, despite his queer habits, helped the family to realize that as much as there can come a day when there is no tomorrow that is not a reason good enough to stop living and take pleasure in today’s life. At one point, the dog featured in a movie in which he quickly drove the cast crazy.
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He got out from the cage he was confined in with the help of his tongue, and he befriended each one, both people and animals.
Some of the actions of the family members in the book depict that they were sometimes not behaving as responsible dog owners.
For example, on one occasion when John and Jenny were taking Marley to the veterinary officer, they allowed him to peep out of the car window for quite some time. To their surprise, the dog managed to get out of the car and stand right in the busy street.
John was convinced that the dog would get into the path of one of the angry drivers who was swerving around them. They staged a show on the street as they were trying to get him back to the car.
In another instance, John and Jenny allowed the dog to drink a lot of salt water so much that he did not comply with the beach rule of not pooping inside the water.
However, these deeds and misdeeds of Marley make him be an entertaining member of the family. The author himself says, “one thing was clear. Jenny and I loved our dog” (Oregon, 42).
“Marley: A Dog Like No Other” should be read by every child, especially when he or she wants to understand the intrigues of pet ownership. The book is simple to read, and young readers would inevitably laugh and cry when reading this hilarious, emotional, and tender story.
The dog’s character will steal the heart of the reader as the author describes the last bits of the dog’s life; the reader aches along with his owner.
In spite of being the worst behaved dog around, he proved to be the best companion for the Grogans, providing them with loyalty, dedication, and total, complete affection.
Grogan, John. Marley A Dog Like No Other. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007. Print.