Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Publication Date: March 17, 2009
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.
Why This Book
The Art of Racing in the Rain is one I read years before I started blogging again. Actually, I think I read it during the first real run of this blog almost a decade ago, long before I was even doing book reviews. One of my fondest bookish memories is sitting in an apartment my husband and I had just moved into, surrounded by half unpacked boxes while my husband was away, and just sobbing as I finished the book. There’s a reason I don’t like to read books with animal characters (ahem, Old Yeller), but, for whatever reason, I decided I had to read this one. I thought I was braced, but that ending just broke me.
This is a sweet story of a man and his faithful canine companion as he starts a family, as told by the dog. It’s beautiful and soft even if it isn’t without some questionable pieces, but it’s the ending that holds my heart. I’ll forever remember it as one of the most beautifully heartbreaking book endings ever. I had no idea how this one could possibly end, but I loved it since it managed to both break and put my heart back together. It was absolutely perfect.
The Bibliophile gave this 2 stars, saying “Instead of having any type of character growth or depth (they’re all two-dimensional static characters), the book just offers up cliche after cliche in terms of the characters, the plot and any type of insight it has to offer.”
The New Dork Review of Books said “This is a must-read for any dog-lover. But if you’re a crier, keep the tissues nearby. It’s a quick, frenzied read. It’s simple, but intellectually engaging. It’s funny, but often very sad, too”
Booking Mama said “The book is extremely readable (I read it in less than a day), and the story captures your attention as well as your heart in the first few pages”
That Book Lady Blog gave this 4 stars, saying “There are some really heartfelt scenes that gave me a new perspective on the bonds between dogs and humans. And the ending was beautifully moving.”
Reading Lark said “it is Enzo’s observations and philosopher’s soul that steals the show. Told largely as a flashback and entirely from Enzo’s point of view, the book deals with love and death and faith and commitment, along with every other human emotion from every corner of the spectrum. Equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-warming, the story is one that left me feeling completely satisfied and happy to be a part of the human race”
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Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.
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