John Grogan was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 20, 1957. His family moved from the city to the sleepy village of Orchard Lake, Michigan, the setting for much of his memoir, The Longest Trip Home.
His first full-time writing job came in 1979 when he was hired as a police reporter for the Herald-Palladium in the Michigan harbor town of St. Joseph. In 1985, he won a fellowship into the Kiplinger Mid-Career Program in Public Affairs Reporting at Ohio State University. After earning his master’s degree, he landed a second fellowship at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. He then took a job at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, working his way up from a bureau reporter to metropolitan columnist. Not long after arriving in Florida, he and his wife Jenny brought home a wildly neurotic Labrador retriever that would provide him the inspiration to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing a book. Marley & Me is now an international bestseller with over 5 million copies sold, and has been made into a motion picture.