Author: Garth Stein
Read: January 5, 2014
Summary: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it. goodreads
Review: Dog people. I'm one of them. If you're not, I don't recommend this book. You won't understand the ultimate hope every dog person has that their dog has a personality of his own, that they understand every word you say, and that they know whats going on around them. I know my dog has a personality because I see it every day. He's stubborn but lovable and just wants someone to throw his rope and rub his belly. He's simple but loyal and very entertaining at times. I know this makes me a dog person. Some people may think I'm crazy (I'll admit I have my moments) but my life is better because my dog is in it. If you are one of those people who thinks this is crazy, stop reading now. Come back for the next non-dog related review though!
Welcome, dog people! Now I will warn you, this is a tear jerker. I was crying within the first chapter and you can assume the reason why. I knew this outcome was likely in this book and while it broke my heart, I love hearing about other people's relationships with their dogs and I thought this book would be interesting anyway. I was right!
This story is told through the eyes of Enzo rather than his "owner" which makes it unique from other dog stories. Enzo's main goal is to be a human in his next life and he believes that he is as close to one as a dog can get. He sees things that most people would overlook and he is aware of subtle cues that can affect everything. He is very loyal to Denny and this story follows Enzo and Denny's life through a series of car racing metaphors. This aspect of the book was very well done and prefaced a lot of the big moments in their lives. Enzo would refer to a technique used in racing that would be helpful for a person to use in real life when crises arise. If you're anything like me, you couldn't care less about racing, but this aspect of the book is not overwhelming and doesn't distract from the relationships and overall plot. This is a story that looks at human nature through a dog's eyes and it is very well done. I would recommend it to even the sanest of the "dog people."
And just for fun, here is a picture of my dog, Bowman
Who wouldn't love this guy? Wonder what he's thinking...