cover image The Longest Trip Home

The Longest Trip Home

John Grogan, . . Morrow, $25.95 (334pp) ISBN 978-0-06-171324-8

Grogan follows up Marley & Me with a hilarious and touching memoir of his childhood in suburban Detroit. “To say my parents were devout Catholics is like saying the sun runs a little hot,” he writes. “It defined who they were.” Grogan and his three siblings grew up in a house full of saints' effigies, attended a school run by ruler-wielding nuns and even spent family vacations at religious shrines, chapels and monasteries. Grogan defied his upbringing through each coming-of-age milestone: his first impure thoughts, which he couldn't bare to divulge at his First Confession (the priest was a family friend); his first buzz from the communion wine he chugged with his fellow altar boys; and his coming to know women in the biblical sense. As Grogan matured, his unease with Church doctrine grew, and he realized he'd never share his parents' religious zeal. Telling them he's joined the ranks of the nonpracticing Catholics, however, is much easier said than done, even in adulthood. At 30, he fell in love with a Protestant, moved in with her and then married her—a sequence of events that crushed his parents. In this tenderly told story, Grogan considers the rift between the family he's made and the family that made him—and how to bridge the two. (Oct.)