Friday, February 03, 2006


I think I've figured out why I bought Marley And Me - I mean, besides the fact that I'm a sucker for all things dog-related and books labeled "New York Times Bestseller".

When I was about a year old, I had a picture book called I Am A Puppy. Its plastic pages chronicled the daily adventures of a Beagle - eating, sleeping, bathing, walking. I was riveted. While Marley is slightly smaller and much thicker, the cover photograph of Marley bears an uncanny resemblance to the Beagle in my beloved First Easy Reader.

What I'm really doing here, in case you haven't noticed, is making excuses for having bought this book. Because I certainly didn't buy it for the writing.

The last time I blogged about this book, I believe I was somewhere in Chapter 1. Now, a few days later (and 2.6 pages later), I'm on the second page of Chapter 2. And just about ready to send this book to the big library in the sky (or I could not take it outside and shoot it, and bring it to a used bookstore instead).

I mentioned Jen-Jen. This is one talented woman. It took less than 10 sentences from her, paraphrased, to turn me off this book permanently. Such is the diabolical power of Jen-Jen.

The Four Sins Of Jen-Jen:

1. Her name. (I'm big on names. In fact, while in London, I went off on one of my name diatribes with a guy I'd just met. I was going on and on, ad nauseam, about how much I hated the name Amber. He waited 3 weeks to tell me that was his baby sister's name.)

2. Her first choice of names for her male Golden Retriever puppy? Chelsea. (I'm not opposed to this name, in theory; there is, however, something about women who want to name their offspring/pets Chelsea. Doubly so if she wants to do it so badly that she'll name her male Golden Retriever puppy Chelsea.)

3. She calls her husband "dingo" when she is being cutesy-cross. While John is driving: "Slow down, dingo, or you'll miss it!" I'll bet she was mock-pouting, lips pursed and arms crossed, as she said this. (This was originally The Three Sins Of Jen-Jen. I need to stop looking at this book. Otherwise I will never finish this post.)

4. She literally said - and I quote, Marley & Me, 2005, Harper Collins, p.13 - "You're a cutie-wootie-woo, Marley!" This is last on the list, because it was the last thing I will ever read from this book. (Why do people baby-talk? When I'm feeling especially gooey, I might call you Buddy or Booger. If you catch me calling you Pookie, I'm being ironic. That is as far as it goes.)

There is some guilt involved in badmouthing some woman who actually exists. After all, she didn't do anything wrong. She's just being her irritating self somewhere far far away. It is her husband, John Grogan, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and former editor of Organic Gardening, who spreads the Gospel Of Jen-Jen. So:

The Three Sins Of John (not to be confused with John-John, who was hot.):

1. He calls his wife Jen-Jen. (What, did you think she calls herself that?)

2. Marley & Me, 2005, Harper Collins, p.12: "We had only discovered the late Jamaican singer [he's referring to Bob Marley here, because, you know, some of us wouldn't have heard of him] when we moved to South in the pulsing ethnic stew..." South Florida? A pulsing ethnic stew??? (To prove his point, he refers to having cafes cubanos, jerk chicken, and conch fritters there. Oh yeah, and they shopped for Haitian art in Key West. We had a wider international representation in my gym class growing up. P.S. Prior to the culture shock caused by the Americanized cuisine of local islands, they lived in Michigan.)

3. Marley & Me, 2005, Harper Collins, p.12: "The more we explored, the more we fell in love...we awoke at dawn to the screech of wild parrots and made love in the first light filtering through the Brazilian pepper tree outside our window... We fell in love with his music [this is Bob Marley, the late Jamaican singer who none of us ever heard of until we read this book] for what it was, but also for what it defined, which was that moment in our lives when we ceased being two and became one." (Oh. My. EW. And on the subject of turning into a siamese spouse, I know couples like that. After being with each other too long, they dwindle into half a person each and they can't so much as go to the bathroom without the other. All this soft-focus romance crap sounds like a script for a European pantyliner ad. Not American, because it would probably be too sexy.)

Having said all that, I have such respect for anyone who succeeds in writing a book and getting it published. I sincerely hope Marley & Me continues to do well. Best of luck, Mr. Grogan, and I hope I've convinced you successfully as to my reasons for not reading past page 13.


Blogger teahouse said...

Ok, so I read an interview with Jackie Kennedy O. who said that the whole "John John" thing was made up by the media, and his family never called him that. It came from an incident in the 60s where she was chasing him in front of the White House lawn, and kept yelling, "John! John!" and the press picked up on that and thought she was saying the two words together...

Random trivia...

11:10 PM  
Blogger e! said...

You know, I always thought it bizarre that someone so smart and so hot would have such a dumb nickname. Generally, nicknames are supposed to make your name shorter, not double the length. This explains it.

Love the trivia. Keep it coming!

12:45 AM  

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