John Grogan is a very young man when this book starts out. He'a just gotten married to Jenny Vogt. Both of them are journalists. They're living the sweet life in Florida when Jenny becomes so upset after she kills a houseplant (she worries that this means that she's incapable of being a good mother) that they decide to buy a dog, to give her the nurturing experience she so desperately wants.
They pick out a yellow lab puppy whom they'll name Marley. His mama is about the best dog ever, but soon after they put their money down, they discover that his daddy, on the other hand, is a terror. This scene sets you up for the much of the rest of the book, which will describe what it's like for Grogan's family (which will eventually grow to include three children) to live with what they lovingly call the world's worst dog.
Marley will flunk out of obedience school. He'll come very close to having nervous breakdowns whenever there's thunder and lightning. He terrorizes petsitters, making it hard for John and his bride ever to go on vacation. He plays havoc with their sex life, shreds furniture, and swallows a valuable necklace.
When she has tiny children to take care of, Jenny finally reaches the point where she's had enough. But they end up sticking with Marley, who they come to love deeply and who will, believe it or not, become a movie star.
I laughed and laughed reading most of this book. Reading about Marley reaching the point where he was doddering was hard, though.
I was interested to learn that Grogan apparently has written about Marley in columns for his current paper - the Philadelphia Inquirer -as well on a blog.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines