Sunday, December 5, 2010

Marley & Me by John Grogan

John Grogan and Jenny Vogt are a newlywed couple living in Florida. The two are journalists, however Jenny's career seems to be speeding past John's. The couple aquires a house plant, but under Jenny's care it dies very quickly. This sends Jenny into a panic, because she fears that she has no mothering abilities and she will never be able to raise a family. Therefore, the couple decides that getting a dog would allow her to practice caring for a living being.
As the couple goes to pick out a dog they settle on a yellow lab, whom they name Marley. After they put a down payment on him, they discover that his father is a boisterous beast.
As soon as they bring Marley into their home they discover how much of a challenge it's going to be to train him. They enroll him into obedience classes, but he is quickly dismissed due to poor behavior. The couple soon learns that he is terrified of storms and spend their nights comforting him and missing out on sleep. He constantly tears up the funiture and will not allow Jenney and John a moment of peace.
The addition of three children adds to the tension and it looks as though Jenny has had enough of Marley's antics. However, the family keeps the dog and as the years pass the children bond to the lab. He lives a lengthy life, but eventually passes away from gastric dilation volvulus. The entire family is struck with grief at his passing.
1) This novel is one about the bond between a family and their pet. Do you think that Josh Grogan exaggerated the bond between his family and his dog to make the story more dramatic?
2) Do you think that you would have been able to deal with the stress of a dog like Marley?
3) With the addition of children to the family do you think it was a wise desicion for them to keep such a reckless animal?


Kristen T. 11-12 said...

1) I don't feel that John exaggerated the bond between the family and Marley. Marley somewhat signified the start of John and Jenny's relationship. Marley grew as John and Jenny's relationship grew. Marley became a part of their family, regardless of whether he was a human being or an animal. They grew to love him like a child, even though he was tough to handle at times. They formed a very strong bond with the dog, which was clearly shown with their grief after the dogs passing.

2) For me personally, it would have been difficult to deal with a dog like that. I would not, however, give up and abondon it. I would learn to take care of it and love it in the same way that John and Jenny did.

3) For the children's sake, it was probably not a good idea to keep the dog. I don't feel, however, that they made a poor decision by keeping it. It would have been difficult for them to rid themselves of this dog, who had become a part of their family. They made it work, and everything worked out in the long run.

Kristen T. 11-12 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaitlyn H 11-12 said...

2). I think I would have been able to deal with the stress of a dog like Marley. He seems to be like any typical young child , causing a ruckus and being a pain, but I don't think it would be anything I couldn't handle.

Kaitlyn S. 13-14 said...

1. I feel that it was not exaggerated and if it was, it was only minimal. I like what Kristen said and agree with it. The dog practically symbolized them getting together in the first place. Marley was gotten for them to see how they could handle a child so in a way, the passing of the dog would be almost like losing a child.

2. I think I would be constantly upset by the dog but I would have a hard time giving it up. My family may not be able to handle it and that would be the cause of me loosing the dog as opposed to me giving it up.

3. I think it wasn't a wise decision. Having an animal around that was as crazy and uncontrollable would have been dangerous to have near a fragile baby. I understand why they kept it and if I were in the same position, I'd probably do the same thing. I would take extra precautions to make sure that nothing happened between the dog and baby that I would regret.

McKenzieM 11-12 said...

2. I think that any dog is hard work and you just have to learn to live with it, just like they did with Marley. Sometimes the dog's faults make it more loveable.
3. I also think that it wasn't a bad decision keeping Marley when they had kids. He created a lot of memories for the family, and I think that's important.

Ashley A. 11-12 said...

1. I don't think the bond was exaggerated because most families get very attached to their pets. They feel as though the pets are a part of the family as much as any other human member is.
2. I feel that the stress is the same as having a young curious child in the house. No dog is perfect, just as no human is.
3. I think it was an okay decision. Obviously, no one should leave their dog unattended with their new baby, but getting rid of the dog, to me, would be just as bad as abandoning one child becuase you were afraid of what it may do to the other.

Jacob B 11-12 said...

1. I dont think that it was exaggerated at all. I have 2 dogs and my family is very attatched to them. In fact, we treat them as a part of the famil
2. I feel that i would be able to deal with the stress of marley. I have several animals at my house, all of which are very messy and annoying. So i deal with it on a daily basis

LibbyS5/6 said...

I agree with what you all had to say about number one. My relationship with my dog is much the same way. animals have a way of bonding with us and becoming an equal member of the family.

and I also feel that part of owning a pet is learning to handle that individual animal, not leaving it behind when things get a little bit too challenging.

Nick E. 13-14 said...

2. I think the stress that Marley put upon the owners was created within their own minds. Every dog or pet, for that matter, is a handful when you first get them. Granted some are worse or require more work than other, but all in all, I would learn to deal with the stress. Because along with the stress, comes an unconditional love from man's best friend.

LibbyS5/6 said...

i agree. and as a pet owner it is your responsibility to give the dog enough training to be well mannered when necessary. this will reduce the amount of stress a pet can put on its family.

Eric M. 11-12 said...

2. I think I would be able to handle the stress of a dog like Marley. Marley misbehaved alot but at the same time he was a very loving dog. Coming from someone who has a dog that loves to get into trouble I understand how the stress is really balanced out by the unconditional love a dog like Marley has for you. No amount of stress can cancel that out.

Amanda Z. 11-12 said...

1. Not at all. A pet is such a huge part of any family; he's basically a son, daughter, or sibling. Pets are, for me at least, a very large part of any family dynamic.
2. I think it would have been extremely difficult but once you make a commitment I think you must see it through.
3. I think keeping Marley was a good lesson for the kids in dealing with things that might not immediately go their way. Plus, pets in general are good lessons for kids in responsibility and care-taking.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

1. I do not think he exaggerated at all. Like everyone else has said, a pet is a large part of ones family. Most people treat them like its another child of theirs.
2. I think that I would be able to deal with the stress of a dog like Marley. It may be difficult, but if you get a pet, I feel you should be obligated to them whether they are out of control or not. I feel that giving away a pet, it like giving away a family member.
3. It is a bad desicion on the safety part of the children. However, Marley was able to teach the children how to have responsibilities. It teaches them how to be aware of what is going on and everything else.

Kali D. 13-14 said...

3. With the addition of children to the family, i think it was more difficult with a reckless animal, but it would have been very hard to just get rid of a dog that you have gone through so much with. I think Marley taught the family many lessons and brought them closer together.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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