I began my attempt to keep my New Year’s resolution to read one book per month with Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. The book was a recommendation from a friend of mine whom I trust greatly to give me good reads…and once again she upheld my expectations.
What’s so great about The Art of Racing in the Rain is that it is told from the perspective of Enzo, a dog. Yes, you read that correctly…a dog. As the book begins, Enzo introduces himself and then lets the reader know that he is dying. The entire story develops as Enzo spends his final night of life remembering the experiences he had with his master Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. As Denny teaches Enzo the art of racing through the use of videotapes and expressions, Enzo uses these lessons as a way to navigate a regular life. It is through these lessons Enzo learns that, much like race car driving, life is not always about going fast.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is unlike any book that I have ever read. I laughed…I cried…I spent time considering alternate ways of thinking. I’ve always believed that each of my dogs has had the ability to form human thoughts and that they are simply unable to communicate with our species. This book puts that theory into something tangible. Garth Stein gives Enzo human intellectual and analytical capabilities without forgetting the fact that Enzo is a dog. Throughout much of the book, Stein even turns Enzo’s handicap (being a dog) into something comical.
The twists and turns in this book are so addicting and the main character’s perspective can’t help but draw you in. The Art of Racing in the Rain is a fairly easy read – I found myself so captivated that I was turning the last few pages of the book only three days in. Although I am not overly critical, there is nothing bad that I can say about Garth Stein’s novel. Any book that can make me think differently about my dog has my vote.
With 11 months left in 2012, I have 11 books left to read. I’m very open to suggestions, so if you have read a book that made you smile, made you think, made you sad and then made you happy or made you venture into another world/reality/time, please let me know. I want to read it.