Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain
A novel by Garth Stein
2008, HarperCollins

This book has been resting on my tbr pile for about a year.  My book club will be discussing it in January so I thought I should pick it up and get it read.  As with many good things I don't know what took me so long.  I really enjoyed Mr Stein's style of writing and look forward to reading his other books. 

The unique twist about this one is its point-of-view-from the dog-entirely from the dog, which makes for a different sort of plot.  This is not Marley and Me by Josh Grogan, which is about a dog and a-laugh-a-minute read.  Enzo is not a bumbling spastic dog-he has his moments-but he is far more introspective than many dogs or humans for that matter.  I believe in the dog world there are dogs similar to Enzo's energy, who have it all figured out.  Our current sweet dog, Tarah is not an Enzo.  Our last dog, Taylor was an Enzo-she was an amazing listening dog and helped me through many trials in my life.  I digress though but this book brings up so much of the idea of a dog's humanity.  I don't know whether Garth Stein even has a dog but if not, he has spent a fair amount of time talking through Enzo. 

Enzo, a lab-terrier mix and his owner, Denny, live together in an apartment in Seattle.  Denny, an auto-parts technician during the day, spends his evening and weekends pursuing his dream of race car driving.  Denny meets Eve and they fall in love, get married and Eve learns to share Denny with Enzo.  Eventually, they have Zoe and life would be complete except generally, with the good there is bad lurking.  Eve has brain cancer and Enzo can smell it.  Through all the ups and downs of life a dog is there as Enzo is, helping his owner brave the storm.  The story of Denny, with tragedies swirled in is the story of life, because like we say in my family "stuff happens!"

My thoughts:  I loved the easy manner of the dog giving us his take on life, his and Denny's.  While not overly didactic there are moments of rare insight from Enzo such as this great paragraph when Enzo is extolling the virtues of how watching television has broadened his doggie horizons:

"They talk a lot about Darwin; pretty much every educational channel has some kind of show about evolution at some point, and it's usually really well though out and researched.  However, I don't understand why people insist on pitting the concepts of evolution and creation against each other.  Why can't they see that spiritualism and science are one?  That bodies evolve and souls evolve and the universe is a fluid place that marries them both in a wonderful package called a human being.  What's wrong with that idea?" p 18, The art of racing in the rain

Enzo's thoughtful ramblings are just one of the many reasons I loved reading this book. 
Garth Stein's website-click here.
Highly Recommended-Adult
4.5/5 peaceful stars

Read more blog posts about this great book-

1 comment:

Jenners said...

I'm so excited to read your review as I plan on reading this book in 2010. I've heard so many people rave about it and now I can add you to the list! I think the concept of writing from a dog's point of view is so interseting, so I'm curious to check it out. Wonderful review ... you got me even more excited to read this book!