book review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of one family, as told through their dog.  I wonder if Garth Stein read Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones, which is a book also told by a dog.  In the Art of Racing in the Rain, the dog, Enzo, is first adopted by his owner, Denny.  Denny then meets and marries Eve and they have a daughter, Zoe.

The best part of the book is, of course, that it is told from Enzo’s perspective.  Enzo is a unique dog who believes in an Australian legend that says that dogs will become human in their next life.  Enzo would love to become human so that he could freely communicate with his family.  While his family is away during the day, he watches television shows and old car races.

He learned to love racing through his owner, Denny.  From Denny, Enzo learns tips about race car driving.  Many people can drive when the weather is nice, but rain makes the roads slicker, which makes driving more difficult.  Being able to handle your car in the rain well is a crucial trait for great race car drivers.

The metaphor, of course, ties into navigating through life.  When the roads are dry, it’s pretty easy because life is going your way and you’re just coasting along.  The true test is when the roads are slippery and you could spin out at any moment.  How do you handle yourself?  Enzo helps his family through their rainy driving with his patient, loyal love.

I don’t want to give too much more away, but I would definitely recommend the book … and it reminded me that I need to write up a review for Dogsbody, too.


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