Review of The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Overview from www.bn.com: A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.
This book tells the story of a dog named Enzo. And you may be thinking, as I was, how could a story told from the point of view of a dog be that interesting? But it is.
At the book’s opening, Enzo is an old dog who can no longer control his bladder. He has seen a documentary explaining how Mongolians believe that some dogs that die are reincarnated as human beings but only if they are ready. Enzo is ready and he hopes to convince his owner, a racecar driver/mechanic named Denny, that he should let Enzo go and get on with his own life.
Enzo explains that they have had a good run together and it is time. He wants to go before things get worse. Then he tells us his story from the moment Denny picks him out from among a litter of pups until the present.
It is a beautiful story too. I liked it a lot. I won’t go so far as to say that I loved it but I really liked it.
The positives are many. First off though, I liked the dog’s name, Enzo. It is a great Italian name and I think Denny named him after some great Italian racecar driver though I am not sure which one. I don’t know anything about racing.
Also there are some episodes concerning Italy and the Italian language. The Italian is error-free from what I can tell. I love the way the Italian people welcome Denny and his family to Italy as well.
I also liked the ending but don’t worry I won’t give it away. It is beautiful and fitting. Denny is a likeable character as well and you see the best parts of his character since you’ll see him mostly through Enzo’s eyes. What dog doesn’t love his master? Yes, Enzo knows he has a good friend and companion in Denny.
Enzo is smart too. I know that not all dogs are smart like this but I did have a dog once that I could almost swear had human intelligence combined with dog-like loyalty. He was my favorite and Enzo reminds me of him.
The only downsides to this story for me were the frequent uses of the f-bomb and some sexuality. I almost stopped reading once because of the bad language but the power of the story convinced me to hang in there and I am glad I did.
I recommend this story to anyone who has ever loved a dog and can overlook the above mentioned flaws. It is a beautiful story, just lift up your ears and listen.
Contains: language, some sexual situations