(Warning: I read the Brazilian Portuguese translated edition, so some of my points my be valid only on that.)
“Marley & Me.” A lot of people read it an liked it. I did. And, when I saw that my parents send me another book by John Grogan about dogs, I thought “Yay! Another dog book!” Too bad I was wrong.
The book is a collection of some stories posted by Grogan in his column in the newspapers. All them about dogs? No, just about three, one being the last chapter of “Marley & Me”, which brings the question of “Why such title, then?” Well, one of the stories is named “Bad Dogs Have More Fun.” And that’s it. It’s not even a good story and not the first story in the book. So, the answer of that question is: “To make this book sell, as people will think is another funny book about dogs.”
Let’s skip this issue and move forward. Are the columns good, anyway? The answer is: they are just a little bit below average. I read better columns every day on the “Sydney Morning Herald”, to be completely honest with you. There is this small infomercial about a place which sells wigs and other stuff to women with cancer (with full address and all), there is a nicely written column were the author post a nice “farewell” to his dog (which you already read in “Marley & Me”); a questioning about stereotypes when the author gives a poor woman a ride to the city… And then we have the mediocre pride to the flag column which almost made me puke. Honestly. I read half of it and skipped for the next one, ’cause I couldn’t stand so much brain-dead-mentality on it.
There is a nice picture that Grogan inadvertently writes about the American society. First, we have this sickly “OH MY GOD! I JUST LOVE MY FLAG! I WANT TO MAKE LOVE WITH IT IN FRONT OF MY KIDS TO PROVE MY LOVE FOR IT!” column and than another one saying “Yeah, I was in the airport and the officers used an anal probe on me, but that’s good, ’cause we are fighting terrorism” followed by, some columns later (which means some weeks later in real life), another one say “They anally probe me again. I wonder if that’s really necessary.” I mean, you can see, clearly, this man, which absolutely, blindly loves his country, start questioning the government politics about the whole fight against terrorism.
Also, Grogan shows his point of view of his best-seller book (no, I won’t type the title for a third time, you guys are probably going sick with it already.) To him, he is the main character in that book, not his dog. Now, if you read the book (yes, you do. If you don’t, go read it when you finish reading this), you’ll see that Marley is the main character. It’s not a book about Grogan and his dog, it’s a book about a Dog and its family. You know when the first Batman movie show up and people said that the real main character in the movie was The Joker, not Batman? So yeah, Gorgan is Batman.
Let me finish this saying some words about the translated version: it sucks. Donkey balls. One thing is when the written word is translated and you lose some information; another thing is when you lose information because the translator decides to use some liberties. I hate when that happens. The most common ones if when the author tries to describe some distance using two cities in their country; usually bad translators will translate not just the words, but also replace cities for some local ones (and it doesn’t even matter if they are big ones; sometimes they are known only by the translator). Same goes with food: instead of keeping the authors national dish, the translator decides to replace it with some local (to him/her) food. Both happen. Worst, the translator decided to translate even cities names. And, at some points, reading it made me feel like I was reading some 13-year-old girl book, with some cutesy-cutesy words.