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The Art of Racing in the Rain review

January 2, 2009

From the publisher: 27091957

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. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, 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 preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

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.

Review and Grade: A

I want to be friends with Enzo. Marley & Me made me want to get another dog, and I definitely paid more attention to my middle-aged golden retriever while reading it. This book made me look at her a little more carefully, but she is not the old soul that Enzo is.

Narrating from a dog’s point of view is not entirely new, but it is rarely done well and I have never seen it done this well. As I read, I would periodically forget that Enzo is a dog and then sometimes I would forget that he is practically human. His species was a characteristic, like blonde hair. Enzo is simply a part of the family.

Nothing I say will do this book justice because I can’t pinpoint what made it so wonderful. It was thoroughly enjoyable to read, with genuine and memorable characters, complex and moving relationships and an incredible plot that is not far fetched. When people ask me what the book is about, I usually say family, but it’s also about love, passion and determination. It’s mostly about never giving up. Throughout this book, we root for Denny so wholeheartedly, who we only know through his relationship with Enzo. I trust Denny even more this way than if he had been the narrator. If you really want to know someone, see how he treats his dog, right?

Recommendation:

I recommend this book to anyone. It’s the type that appeals to our humanity, so really anyone will enjoy it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2009 6:50 pm

    I so want this book…

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