writer, speaker, tinkerer, seeker

marley & me: Life and love with the world's worst dog


John and Jenny were just beginning their life together,  newlyweds with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever. He crashed through screen doors, flung drool on guests, stole women's undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, "Don't hesitate to use these."

And yet Marley's heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple's joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit's end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.


“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” 


"It would take a heart of stone to resist Marley & Me."

-- The New York Times

"A funny, touching tribute to [a] ninety-seven-pound Lab who was as loyal and loving as he was disobedient."

-- People

"The reason Marley & Me has proved to be a bestseller is that it is not just a funny dog story . . . It's a universal story of family life and a publishing sensation."

-- The Times (of London)

"Marley & Me tenderly follows its subject from sunrise to sunset, from the ball-of-fluff stage to the heartbreaking farewell. ... Mr. Grogan's description has a riotously authentic ring."

-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"There's a reason that tissue packets are sometimes handed out at author John Grogan's book signings. His Marley & Me may very well be the feel-good book of the year."

-- USA Today

"If you know someone who claims there’s not a book in the world that can make him cry, give him this one. It won’t even matter if he’s not a dog lover. He’ll cry anyway. Trust me."

-- Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

"Joyfully infectious, Marley & Me is a loving valentine to one dog and his unquenchable spirit. "

-- Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection

the longest trip home: a memoir


 Before there was Marley, there was a gleefully mischievous boy navigating his way through the seismic social upheaval of the 1960s. On the one side were his loving but comically traditional and devout Roman Catholic parents, whose expectations were clear. On the other were his neighborhood pals and all the misdeeds that followed. The more young John tried to straddle these two worlds, the more spectacularly, and hilariously, he failed. Told with Grogan's trademark humor and affection, The Longest Trip Home is the story of one son's journey into adulthood to claim his place in the world. It is a story of faith and reconciliation, breaking away and finding the way home again, and learning in the end that a family's love will triumph over its differences.


"Standing there, I thought about spring's glide into summer, and summer's march to autumn, and the reliable promise of dawn in every setting sun. I thought about the old maple tree that fell in the yard and the young garden that flourished in its footprint. Mostly I thought about Dad and the exemplary life he had led -- and, for all our differences, the indelible mark he had left on me."


"As he did in Marley & Me, Grogan makes readers feel they have a seat at the family dinner table."

-- People (Four stars)

"Genuinely heartrending...with deeply felt humanity and pathos."

-- Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Every now and then a memoir is so well written that readers are able to find elements of their own life story in the chronicle of the writer's life. So it is with this eloquent, tender, witty memoir. Shifting artfully between the voice of a child and the perspective of an adult, John Grogan captures our hearts from start to finish."

--Doris Kearns Goodwin

"A hilarious and touching memoir of his childhood in suburban Detroit... In this tenderly told story, Grogan considers ... the family he's made and the family that made him -- and how to bridge the two."

-- Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

"Entertaining, funny, and best of all, always honest at its core."

-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Wry and witty...full-hearted and worthy."

-- Washington Post

"Grogan is a gifted and engaging writer. His disciplined prose, winning way with anecdote, and knack for comedy serve him well."

-- Orlando Sentinel

"All energy and love, passion and compassion--all leavened with a grand sense of humor."

-- Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes

"Bittersweet magic...Recounted with Grogan's trademark mix of warmth, mischief, and honesty."

-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"This story is milk-and-cookies simple: pure and terrific."

-- Rocky Mountain News

marley: a dog like no other (a middle-grade adaptation)


 Meet Marley, a yellow furball of a puppy who quickly grows into a large, rowdy  bad boy of a Labrador retriever. Marley is always getting into trouble, whether he is stealing underwear or crashing through doors. But those who know and love Marley accept him as a dog like no other. He brings joy to his family and teaches them what really matters in life.


"Marley and I fell asleep together there,  side by side on the floor. My arm was draped across his back. He woke me once in the night, his shoulders flinching, his paws twitching, little baby barks coming from deep in his throat. He was dreaming. Dreaming, I imagined, that he was young and strong again. And running like there was no tomorrow."


"...personable and filled with the antics of a rambunctious, energetic and irresistible Labrador retriever. People of all ages will laugh and cry while reading this humorous, heartwarming and tender tale. 

-- Kidsreads.com

"It will surely hold youngsters' attention...thanks to the pooch's kid-pleasing shenanigans."

-- Publisher's Weekly

"For any child who loves dogs this will be a gem of a book. This jaded old reviewer cried buckets ..."


"If you love dogs, you’ll love the book. And somehow if you don’t love dogs you will learn to love them. A must tip for all readers – get your tissues handy for in the end, Marley: A Dog Like No Other is sure to make you cry. "

-- Bookgeeks.in

picture books

Bad Dog, Marley!



In John Grogan's memoir, Marley & Me, the world learned how one bad dog became the heart of the family that loved him. Now, in this original picture book, Mommy, Daddy, Cassie, and Baby Louie welcome the puppy Marley to the family. Marley grows and grows...and grows.

A Very Marley Christmas



With all the excitement of Christmas approaching, it's no surprise that Marley, the lovable pup with a nose for trouble, wants to get in on the action. 

Marley Goes To School



It's the first day of school, and Cassie is all set to go. So is her dog, Marley. Trouble is sure to follow.

Trick or Treat, Marley!


 The decorations and candy bowl don’t stand a chance with Marley in  the mix. Will he ruin the Halloween  festivities for everyone?

Marley and the Kittens



It's the first day of school, and Cassie is all set to go. So is her dog, Marley. Trouble is sure to follow!