Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" By: Garth Stein Review

Today we are featuring the book, 
"The Art of Racing in the Rain" By: Garth Stein
Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
      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.
My Thoughts:
      I thought this was a great story from a unique point of view. This was the very first book I had ever read that was from the point of view of a dog. Seriously, who thinks to write a book from a dot's POV? It was such a unique concept and when we decided this was a book club pick, I couldn't wait to read it.
      Enzo is living a great life. He loves his human "Denny," Denny's wife Eve, and Denny's daughter Zoe. Denny's wife becomes ill and this is where the meat of the story happens. You are able to see what is happening in Denny's life through Enzo's eyes. You understand what is going on even if Enzo doesn't. Eve eventually passes away leaving a custody problem between Denny and Eve's parents. You can feel Enzo's sadness at losing his family and his frustration with not being able to help the situation.
     This is just a great book. It starts out slow but it builds quickly and by the end you are smiling and crying. The ending is well justified and leaves you feeling fulfilled. 
      During my book group today we talked about the differences in the human experience when compared to Enzo. We could all see one another in the character...and he was a dog. Every chapter there was something to relate to. Perhaps the funniest part of the book (the part we liked best) was Enzo's dislike of Eve's parents whom he called "the twins." He couldn't tell them he didn't like them, so he used sneaky ways to share his views with them. We all laughed...with the reading of this story we all will be looking at our dogs a little differently now.
     Please pick this book up if your interested in a fun fiction book. It's different than anything you'll ever read but its enjoyable. Perhaps the best thing about the book is that it will make you smile. Gorgeously written story - 4 Stars out of Five.

Check out the following blogs that have great reviews of this book:
- Annotation Nation

Product Information:
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0061537969
Date of Publication: June 2009


  1. Sounds like an interesting book, given the fact I have two German shepherds. I am hoping to graduate from obedience school with one of them this week. Not looking too good! Thanks for following and entering my give away. I'm following here too. Donna

    My Life. One Story at a Time.

  2. I want to read this book, but I know it will make me cry.

    Another series that I enjoy written from a dog's point of view is the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn. They are light mysteries, and I recommend listening to the audiobooks. Chet is pretty lovable.

  3. :) Thank you for the comments! I just loved this story, so unique. Definitely going to try to read some others like this :)

  4. I enjoyed this book. It was like the dog was seeing life through a humans eye. The only thing about this book was it was a tear-jerker. I would like for my grand-daughter to read this book, but since it had some sexual content.(A small amount) I can not let her.But other than that it was a great book.Great author.

  5. I do agree that it isn't probably the best for your granddaughter, but once she gets older I bet she'd love it :) Thanks for stopping by!