Urban Dog Book Club
The Art of Racing in the Rain
I did this for you: Urban Dog Book Club members!
I finally finished The Art of Racing in the Rain. The third time was the charm.
Why wasn’t I able to finish it before, you ask?
Because I couldn’t get to the end of chapter one without bawling my eyes out!
But this time I muscled through the first chapter so we could share our thoughts about the book. And I’m so glad I did. I enjoyed this book so much that I was able to read it in a single morning.
If you haven’t read it yet, it’s the tale of Enzo, a dog who loves his owner deeply; who studies human behavior like an anthropologist; and who dreams of being reincarnated as a man.
When I return to this world, I will be a man. I will walk among you. I will lick my lips with my small dexterous tongue. I will shake hands with other men, grasping firmly with my opposable thumbs. And I will teach people all that I know. And if I see a man or a woman or a child in trouble, I will extend my hand, both metaphorically and physically. I will offer my hand. To him. To her. To you. To the world. I will be a good citizen, a good partner in the endeavor of life that we share.
I can’t help but think that Enzo embodies everything we mean when we look at our own dogs and say “good boy.”
It’s also the story of Enzo’s owner, race car driver Denny, and his family. (The title refers to Denny’s expertise in driving race cars on rainy, wet tracks, which in turn becomes a catch phrase that describes both Denny’s and Enzo’s approach to life.) Without going into too much detail about the main plot points, Denny suffers all sorts of travails at the hands of his almost cartoonishly evil in-laws, all of which is observed by and commented upon by Enzo.
Those comments and observations are at times amusing, insightful, and all-too-frequently heart-wrenching.
Argh. I just teared up again! I am SUCH a softie!
I have to be honest and say that the story can be overly melodramatic and the characters are, um, broadly drawn. But ultimately, none of that matters. Author Garth Stein totally nails the character of Enzo and that makes the book an enjoyable read.
But I think that’s enough of an introduction from me, now I’m going to present what you all thought about the book:
Mary Little: Enzo, the narrator, will make you lament all things human and wish you had sensibilities of this wonderful dog. Toward the end of the book, Enzo observes, “People and their rituals. They cling to things so hard sometimes.” Only a dog as wise as Enzo could bring that truism to life as beautifully as he does in The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Clark Beasley: I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. The story of a young family told through the eyes of their loving dog. It sheds some light on what our dogs observe about our lives. And depicts the wonderful relationship individuals of a family have with their dog.
There is the wonderful relationship between Enzo and his owner Denny which depicts the great love and patience dogs show us while enduring our many moods and life changes. There is also the relationship between Denny’s wife Eve and Enzo, which develops over time. And there is also the instant love and protection Enzo feels for their daughter Zoe. Truly a moving story about love and hope.
Mary Deklyn: Unconditional love, certainly from the dog and narrator, Enzo, through so many of life’s circumstances his master experiences. The perception of his master and his master’s abilities and sometimes frailties, but always knowing his master’s dream and striving for it. Ironically, another Enzo comes into play for his master. Enzo the dog completes his duties as a faithful companion. Exciting, tearful, elating, accomplished and an overall great read.
Thanks Mary, Clark, and Mary for participating.
If you want to read what other folks think of the book I am providing some helpful links. Here’s a link to author Garth Stein’s website. Here are some links to reviews at The Bark, the Houston Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, and Powell’s book store.
If you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain yet, give a go. Just make sure you dry your eyes at the end of chapter one and continue reading. You’ll be pleased you did.