John Grogan (Marley and Me) spent his life distancing himself from a devout Catholic upbringing, only to return as his father battled leukemia. Grogan reads his own book with a voice that conveys both the defiance and cynicism of his youth and the concern of his older self for his ailing father. He also reflects on both times in his life from the wiser perspective of adulthood. This isn't a sentimental memoir. Grogan has rollicking tales of his youthful marijuana use and "making out," and discusses how he fell away from religion. Grogan often shows admiration for his parents, relating how they took in kids fleeing the Detroit riots. This one's for those disaffected kids, now adults, not their parents.
In the highly anticipated follow-up to Marley & Me, John Grogan again works his magic, bringing us the story of what came first. Before there was Marley, there was a gleefully mischievous boy growing up in a devout Catholic home outside Detroit in the 1960s and '70s. Despite his loving parents' best efforts, John's attempts to meet their expectations failed spectacularly.
Whether it was his disastrous first confession, the purloined swigs of sacramental wine, or the fumbled attempts to sneak contraband past his father, John was figuring out that the faith and fervor that came so effortlessly to his parents somehow had eluded him.
And then one day, a strong-willed young woman named Jenny walked into his life. As their love grew, John began the painful, funny, and poignant journey into adulthood, away from his parents' orbit and into a life of his own. It would take a fateful call and the onset of illness to lead him on the final leg of his journey, the trip home again.
With his trademark blend of humor and pathos that made Marley & Me beloved by millions, John Grogan traces the universal journey each of us must take to find our unique place in the world. Filled with revelation and laugh-out-loud humor, The Longest Trip Home will capture your heart, but mostly it will make you want to reach out to those you love most.
©2008 John Grogan; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
I chose this book because I wanted a memoir; not a gruesome story about a horrendous childhood. I wanted something that was closer to real life, normal, somewhat typical, like mine.
What I loved about this book is the clarity of the writing. It amazes me when writers (good ones) can relate an otherwise boring story and make you want to finish reading or hearing it.
This is not an exciting story, or one that makes you cringe. It is a story that many people, like myself and many others, have lived.
This story was real. It sheds a great deal of insight into what it feels like to grow up in a religious home (Catholic or otherwise). It dealt honestly with the bland realities of just growing up, a typical, American middle class childhood. It makes you feel as if you can see him growing up, feel his emotional struggles and growing pains, and it leaves you feeling as if your own story isn't so boring after all.
This is a book I will listen to again, as I do many of my favorites. It reminds me of the powerful influence we have as people, as spouses, as children and as parents. A powerful, honest book, well worth reading.
John Grogan has struck gold a second time. His writing and reading style are warm, inviting and inspirational. I was particularly pleased with the "wonder years" type of stories from his childhood, and I laughed and cried at the end as he shares intimate moments between he and his father. There was a bit more energy put into the religious aspect of his parents' lives, but he holds true to the necessary facts about his life to tell the whole story. I bought this book after reading Marley and Me in the hopes that it would deliver the same emotion and character. It did not dissapoint.
I really like John Grogen he is a great story teller. So much humor. Marley and Me was one of the best books I have listen to and this one was next in line. I wish he had more.
I've rarely read a memoir where I disliked the writer as much as I did with this one. He was not a "gleefully mischievous boy." He was an obnoxious little punk. Despite being raised by parents who were (by his own admission) loving, caring, nurturing and trusting, John turned out to be a chronic liar who thought nothing of stealing, vandalizing or terrorizing an elderly neighbor. He was drinking and smoking by 10; at 12 or 13, he was growing marijuana in his bedroom and in the family garden. He repeatedly betrayed his parents' trust and thought nothing of it. When he had his own children and wrote that he intended to raise them as decent moral human being, I wondered how he'd do that, since he'd shown little sign of it himself when he was a kid. As an adult, he resented is parents' difficulty in acceting his atheism; but he constantly mocked their faith. His snarky wife wouldn't even allow his parents to say grace before meals in their own home! It was considered a generous concession on her part when she finally conceded to allow them to pray at their own table. Thie whiny self-indulgent tone of the narration did nothing to improve the presentation. The best thing I can wish for him is to have kids just like himeself.
Loved this book - John Grogan is honest, real and an outstanding story-teller and journalist. After watching the "Marley and Me" movie, I searched out for other works by this author and found this story about Grogan's life. It does not disappoint!
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