John Grogan was the Pennsylvania columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the former editor in chief of Rodales Organic Gardening magazine. Previously he worked as a reporter, bureau chief, and columnist at newspapers in Michigan and Florida. His work has won numerous awards, including the National Press Clubs Consumer Journalism Award. He lives on a wooded hillside in Pennsylvania with his wife, Jenny, and their three children.
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When did you realize that Marley's escapades might
make for fun reading?
Pretty early on, actually. Within weeks we were recounting his antics at dinner parties, and I began trotting him out in my newspaper columns shortly thereafter.
Why was Marley so lovable despite being such a pain in the neck?
I think it had something to do with his guileless heart and over-the-top zest for life. Just as he was incapable of putting the brakes on his behavior, he had no bounds on his affection and loyalty, either. Not necessarily a bad thing.
Were there any Marley "stories" that didn't make the book?
Oh yes, lots. What can I say? The dog was a wealth of material. Here's one: One day I was installing a new window in the house, and I had a bowl full of sheet-metal screws sitting on the ground. Marley charged over, snuffled his nose into the bowl as though they were candies, and trotted off. A second earlier I had 24 screws; now there were 23. Sure enough, within minutes Marley was retching and heaving. We rushed him to the animal hospital, imagining the sharp screw shredding his insides. Two hundred dollars worth...
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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