Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Date Finished: Nov 9, 2008 #65
Published: 2008 Pages: 354
From the back cover (because I'm feeling particularly tired and lazy after a family get-together weekend):
"On the eve of his death, Enzo, a philospher dog with a nearly human soul and an obsession with opposable thumbs, takes stock on his life. He recalls all that he and the Swift family have been through: the sacrifices his master Denny has made to succeed as an up-and-coming race car driver; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; and the subsequent custody battle over their daughter, Zoe, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to perserve the Swift family, holding in his own heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoe at his side."
This was our November bookclub pick and at first I was a little reluctant to read it because there are so many other books on the shelf that I need to read first (December 31st is coming quicker than I originally thought!). But, I borrowed a copy from a friend and took it with me over the weekend and read it in a matter of hours (spread out over the weekend).
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I loved the first half of the book, especially the musings of Enzo who is a completely charming narrator. I can't remember the last book I read that was narrated by an animal, but Enzo really got me thinking about our own pets and how they might see the world--something I don't think about often, especially with our dog, Lexi. Lexi is a great dog and is always at my side (much to my husband's chagrin since she is technically his), but since she can't cuddle with me while I'm reading or purr in my ear or comfort me when I'm sad, I don't have the same connection with her that I do with Maggie. Rambling--sorry. :P
So, I really enjoyed the first half of the book. But then things started piling onto poor Denny, especially after his wife passes and her parents are suing Denny for custody of his daughter. I was really angry at how the events were unfolding and felt that they were coming too quickly and too heavy. And then they all just unraveled just as quickly (or maybe it was because I read the last third of the book in a single sitting). I was still really engrossed in the book, but I didn't like the heaviness of it. All of that aside, I would recommend the book. It is a great weekend read that doesn't require a whole lot of thought but at the same time contains interesting metaphors about racing cars and handling life. And can I say again how endearing and wonderful Enzo is as the narrator? Seriously--loved him. I really think animal lovers will appreciate and enjoy this book!
Well, since this is probably the worst book "review" I've written, I'll leave you with a picture of Lexi and hope that you forgive me. This was taken over the summer when we could not get her to stay out of the water at my dad's lakehouse. She LOVES water--had the same problem this weekend when we vacationed with Scott's parents at the lake.