Friday, October 17, 2008

(95) The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan On Sale October 21st, 2008


One of my favorite books of all time was this little book about a dog named Marley. You may have heard of it? Marley & Me by John Grogan. I read the book long before I had my own "Marley". It is one of those books that had me laughing hysterically & crying uncontrollably. I even went so far as to read excerpts from the book to co-workers. And on Christmas Day, you will get to see it on the Silver Screen.

When I saw the ad in a Shelf Awareness bulletin for Grogan's upcoming book, I couldn't request a copy fast enough.

Grogan does not disappoint with his second book. The Longest Trip Home is everything you would expect from the man who captivated America. It is funny, poignant, reminiscent, & heart wrenching all at the same time.

The Longest Trip Home tells about Grogan's life growing up with very devout Catholic parents. The Grogan's didn't take vacations to amusement parks or national landmarks. They visited Holy Shrines & locations where The Blessed Virgin was sighted.

Grogan tells tale after tale of his upbringing. From his first confession :


"There was only one thing I could do. "Forgive me Father, for I have
sinned. This is my first confession."


Then I lied my ass off."

To skipping out on Mass & attending the Church of John & Tim. John shares with us his life growing up. And his slow separation from the Church that defined his childhood. He shares with us the strife that his defection caused between he & his parents. And how the Church even caused friction between his wife & his parents.

But make no mistake, there is not a single bit of maliciousness about his feelings. The Longest Trip Home is not a "I Hate Catholicism" book. It is a book about his relationship with his parents. And how Catholicism played an integral part in that relationship.

There are millions of "lapsed Catholics" out there. I guess you could say that I am included in that statistic. Our parents raised us to be "Good Catholics". To attend Mass every Sunday, to never miss a Holy Day. To pray the Rosary when times get tough. And we can relate to Grogan when he skips Mass, yet tells his parents that he goes weekly. Been there, done that.

And like all children have to do, there comes a time when the roles become reversed & John & his siblings must care for their parents. Make arrangement & take care of them in ways that they were once taken care of.

The Longest Trip Home is an amazing story. John Grogan knows how to tell the tales with the best of the Irish Men. He does not disappoint he readers with his efforts. If you grew up in a large Catholic family, The Longest Trip Home needs to go on your Christmas list. You will thank me later.

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Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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