04 December 2008

44. The Longest Trip Home

First, thank you to HarperCollins Publishers for the opportunity to read the Advance Reader’s Edition of John Grogan’s autobiography The Longest Trip Home. And while I wish I had read the book earlier, when it arrived and before the release, as John’s parents would have said, things happen for a reason.

John shares his memories of growing up in a devoutly Catholic family with three siblings and Mass every weekend. While I was raised Episcopal, I converted to Catholicism twenty years ago and tried to raise my own four children in the Church. Some are still there and some are not – with many of the same issues Grogan describes in his book coming into play as our family deals with the everyday struggles of living and loving one another. Through Grogan’s experiences, I have hope that my own children will forgive me my dogmatic adherence to some Catholic tenets that only a convert can extol as absolute truth. But faith is faith and can only help us through this life; can hopefully make us kinder and more rather than less accepting. At this point, I wonder if Mr. Grogan and I are not the same type of Catholics.

I don’t think I will give anything away to discuss another moment of wonder this book brought to my life. Grogan’s trip home took decades, but the final chapters dealing with the illness of his parents touched me. My own mother went through a very similar experience, and we thought – as did the doctor’s – that she was not going to live. We know that the time is coming soon when she will not continue here with us and I will be strengthened by the author’s words and insights. I would not have fully understood these chapters had I read this book any earlier.

Finally, I am so excited about the upcoming movie based on Grogan’s bestselling book Marley and Me. After reading The Longest Trip Home, I know that the script for the movie has certainly been pulled from the best of writing. And much to my surprise, my favorite actor (secretly known to my family as my boyfriend) plays Mr. Grogan. And while I cannot wait to read the book, I think I will wait and see the movie first - it opens nationally on Christmas Day. Delightfully I will know each family member in the movie because I feel like they are friends of the family from reading this newest book.

So, thank you Mr. Grogan – and once again your parents were right – things happen in their own time. I am very glad this was my time to read your wonderful family story. Your dad and mom are very proud.

TITLE: The Longest Trip Home
AUTHOR: John Grogan
PAGES: 331
TYPE: non-fiction, autobiography
RECOMMEND: As a Catholic, a daughter, and a mother, I am so thankful to have read this book. And to be honest, I think you will appreciate the struggles of the Grogan family even if you are none of those things.


Anonymous said...

This book sounds interesting as it seems that life come full circle, and it is enjoyable to hear that these experiences will be translated to the technicolor big screeen with Owen Wilson. However, Grogan's work sounds like it would be a wonderful read!

Joy said...

My sister read this and highly recommended it so I have it on reserve at the library.