Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

I'm not a dog person, although I don't dislike them, and we had a dog for years, they just don't fit my lifestyle right now.  However..........after reading this one, I can see that I could easily become one again.  This is the book chosen by our local  book discussion group for November's read.  Everyone has already let me know they loved it, can't wait to meet to discuss it, and couldn't put it down once they started.

The premise is quite unusual.  The story is told by a dog, Enzo, who gives us his perspective on life without opposable thumbs, his anticipated reincarnation as a human, his thoughts on human weakness, child-rearing, and most of all car racing.  You see, Enzo belongs to a professional race car driver, so he and his owner spend hours in front of the video screen reviewing races, practicing moves, and devising race strategies.  Let it be said that I am NOT a race car fan at all, but I didn't find the setting off-putting.

Throughout the book, as Enzo watches his mistress dying of a brain tumor, as he observes the power struggle for a child's heart and custody, as he ruminates on various strange human behaviors, he dispenses pearls of wisdom in race car terms.  Denny, Enzo's owner, is one of those hapless individuals who never catches a break, who tries very hard to do right, but whom life seems to want to dump on, no matter what he does or does not do.  Through it all, Enzo remains the one constant in his life.

Set in the lustrous and often rainy area of coastal Washington State (in the Puget sound area), the story follows Enzo as he ages, goes through all the angst of getting older, slower, and having bodily functions less responsive than they were in youth.  It's a marvelous soliloquoy on life, and on life after death. Some of our readers say they found it to be a real tear-jerker.  I simply found it to be a lovely and loving tale of a family, a dog, and how they helped each other cope with everything that life could throw at them.

Author: Garth Stein
Publisher: Harper
Year of  publication: 2008
Subject: life, death, car racing, child custody
Setting: Pacific Northwest - Puget Sound area
Number of pages: 321
Why did I read this book now? My book club chose it.


  1. I am a dog person, even if I don't have one at the moment, but oddly, I hate books about dogs.

  2. Wow! That sounds like a really interesting read!


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