The Longest Journey Home
Harper, Oct 2009, $14.99
Before Marley (see Marley & Me), John Grogan grew up in a deeply religious Catholic home near Detroit in the 1960s and '70s. His parents loved him and tried to get him to live a good Catholic ethical lifestyle. However, John was an imp who like many boys used his telescope to stare at the woman next door. He drank holy wine, smoked cigarettes and tried to score with girls while also eluding the necker-checker watcher, his kind but strict mom. To imbue him with their fervor, his parents took John on family miracle trips to visit shrines and camp under the stars so he would learn first hand the miracle of God. However unlike his parents or his brother Michael who turned towards priesthood and was as a devoted believer as their parents, John was devoted to the altar of female breasts; at best an agnostic as pure faith seemed illogical and tedious. When he met Jenny, he fell in love and began the real transition to adulthood, but remained practically faithless. That is until his father’s illness led him to re-look his values including Catholicism.
This is an interesting memoir that reads like many young middle class Americans (religious denomination not matter) growing up in the 1960s as drugs, wine and sex were in and the religions of parents were out. Still amusing and filled with angst, John Grogan’s The Longest Journey Home was not quite finished at this point, but he was definitely getting his act together. Boomer fans and their still alive parents who want to reminiscence about the internal family revolutions will enjoy joining Mr. Grogan as he travels a path many others took; younger fans might ask so what.