Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, © 2008, Harper Collins

I am sure plenty of you have already picked this book up. I had seen it promoted on Goodreads, Indigo/Chapters and elsewhere. While that does help to catch my eye, it doesn't always equate to me reading a book. And as I am not much into racing and I don't have a dog, I might not have picked up this book at all. But my book club strikes again and it is on our list for this fall, so off to the library I went.

And I am glad.

We are introduced to Enzo in the opening pages. He is an old dog that is failing. His hips no longer work and his bladder isn't what it used to be, but he is still dedicated to his owner, Denny. As the story unfolds, we get to recollect Enzo's life from the time he is picked out of the puppy patch at the farm. And in a unique twist, the tale is told exclusively from Enzo's perspective.

Enzo is a dog that is closing in on his perfection of doghood. He is convinced that in his next life he will come back as a human. As such, he strives to do his best to be kind and considerate to Denny and as it comes in turns, his wife Eve and their daughter Zoe. Just because Enzo feels he is close to being human doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy a good game of tug of war with Eve or a walk in the park with Denny when he is home from the race track though. But when Eve is struck by a deadly diagnosis of brain cancer, the whole family has to adjust, Enzo included.

Even if you are not a dog lover, you cannot help but be charmed by plucky Enzo. He understands the nuances of life and refuses to let go of his faith that good will prevail. Through the family's trials, he tries to find understanding and offer support to his humans, in a way that can't help but make us wonder at our own failings. If you can keep dry-eyed in this quick 321-page read, you are a stronger person than I. But I am sure you will enjoy it nonetheless even if you do.


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