Paperback, 321 pages.
Read from May 07 to 08, 2013.
Another throwback review! Yeah! Read this gem a few years back and it really stuck with me.
This novel caught me off guard emotionally. It pulled at all of my heart-strings, in a good way and I couldn’t put it down. I had heard about the book before but it wasn’t until an acquaintance lent me the book that I had a desire to read it. Stein manages to create a successful novel that is race car themed AND narrated by a dog. I mean what are the chances of that? Well, he absolutely nailed it.
The Art of Racing In the Rain is a story about human resilience, love and what people will do for the people and things that truly matter to them. Enzo is a dog and he is your narrator throughout the entire book. He dreams of being human while his owner, Denny dreams of being a race car driver. Enzo watches Denny succeed, meet the love of his life Eve and the birth of their daughter Zoe. Even though Enzo isn’t all that impressed with Eve in the beginning, he plays an essential role in an event surrounding Eve. Enzo is also there for the most heart wrenching time in Denny’s life.
Enzo is the perfect narrator for this story. He is extremely likable, kind and supportive, just like a dog should be. I also really appreciated the quirks of dog behavior explained by Enzo, like when he destroys on of Zoe’s stuffed animals as he thought there was something evil about it. The reasons behind his actions make perfect sense to him and it’s pretty humorous, especially for those that have dogs and are familiar with some of their strange behaviors. Enzo also offers some amazing pieces of advice because, as Enzo puts it, he listens.
“Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own.”
Enzo summed up the essence of the novel with these next few quotes:
“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”
Enzo never gave up on Denny, and Denny never gave up on his family.
“The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles – preferably of his own making – in order to triumph.”
The ending is remarkable. It left me smiling from ear to ear and ear. Stein is a remarkable story-teller and he knows how to satisfy his readers. His style is easy to read and humorous with added philosophical bits. Let me also just say, that I have no interest in any form of race car driving, yet in reading this book I found the topic intriguing as Stein was able to make the content accessible to any reader. Overall I would say that this is a definite read for any dog lover or those looking for a feel-good novel.