Monday, February 7

the art of racing in the rain

Well here I am with another 4am book review for you! My 3rd read for 2011 --- feeling good about my track record so far!

I don't think I've ever read a book that is once as beautiful yet heart-wrenching as is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. 
This novel is told from the perspective of Enzo, an unnaturally intelligent dog who has human-like emotions. Enzo's master is Denny, a race-car driver who has incredible skill when it comes to racing his car in the rain. Enzo tells his life story, and the lessons he learns, beginning at his days of puppyhood and ending at his death. He tells what it is like to be a dog, to be a witness to the things people don't think about dogs witnessing.  He explains how he can take race car driving skills and apply them to life situations. The love he has for his family, Denny, Eve, and little Zoe, is unlike any love I have ever read about. It's not the love of a great romance, but the relentless and pure love that a dog feels for his family. 

I basically wept during the entirety of the book. I cried because of the simple beauty in how this dog perceived things and how he wanted so badly to protect his family from all harm. I cried because of the inability he, or people for that matter, have in controlling life's torrential elements {like when Eve gets sick}. I cried at the end, at the maturity and wisdom this dog had garnered during his lifespan on Earth. 

The book lends us some serious words of wisdom, and here are a few I want to share with you:
"People and their rituals. They cling to things so hard sometimes." --- Enzo reflecting on people's tendencies to grasp for what we know during times of stress.
"But a racer should not be afraid of the rain; a racer should embrace the rain. I, alone, could manifest a change in that which was around me."    &
"Is it possible? That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me." --- Enzo realizing that by changing his mood and energy, people, in turn, regarded him differently.
I think you all know how much I love my dogs, and I know I have some dog lovers as readers of my blog, too. As much as I already care for my dogs, I now view them a little differently, perhaps more reverently, than before. I wonder what they are thinking and how they would judge my actions. I think about how human interactions would be different if we had the listening and supportive skills a dog has. The ability to set aside ones personal interests and truly be there for each other. That is perhaps the reason why dog-owner relationships have the potential to be so special. Because we can't get the same thing from anyone but our dogs, who love us for being us, and who see us at our worst --- and yet, they love us still. I promise you will not be disappointed if you read this book. You should get up and go to the bookstore or library first thing in the morning and get this book. 

Cheers to great literature that forces us to think beyond our usual perspectives!

PS --- A friend lent this book to me about 24 hours ago. It's a quick, lovely read :)


  1. Oh my gosh, I don't know if I should read this. Any book that has to do with dogs makes me a crying baby when I read it.
    This one sounds AMAZING!

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  3. I LOVE this book! I, too, cried throughout the entire thing. Such a good read!

  4. This story is one of the best i have read ever. It gets in your head and stays there for a very long time. Much more than a dog story, it is smart and relevant.


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