If you ever wondered what your dog is really thinking.. if you ever wanted to get inside the head of the family pet.. this may be the book for you. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a tragic and touching family drama told through the eyes of the family dog.
Enzo is an elderly lab nearing the end of his days looking back on his life with his master Denny, a semi-pro racecar driver. He has been a faithful and loving companion to his people: Denny, his wife Eve and daughter Zoe.
Enzo, stuffed into a doggie shell but practically human, occasionally gets annoyed by his frustrating lack of speech. Instead he relies on big gestures to communicate- barking, peeing on the floor, etc. Denny usually knows what point he’s trying to get across. He almost always guesses correctly.
And Enzo’s voice isn’t very dog-like, but I guess that’s because he watches TV all day. This makes him a pretty well educated pooch. From watching a documentary about evolution he is convinced he will come back to this world as a human after he dies. A human with speech! And thumbs!! He is ready. Bring it on!
The story is really more about Enzo’s people than it is about dogs. Denny falls in love, marries, has a daughter. The little family suffers through a huge medical drama and loss, and Enzo, the faithful companion, is there for all of it.
The only issue I had with The Art of Racing in the Rain is a small one- dogs are smart, but they can’t go everywhere, so how can a dog narrator know what goes on in a courtroom? Or a hospital? But I forgave that small problem, suspended reality, and enjoyed the story.
This is a sweet book; at times comic but also sad. Wonderful and very readable. Unputdownable (I read the bulk of it in one sitting). I enjoyed getting a dog’s perspective on human life, love and family. I shed a couple of tears, and laughed out loud. It’s like that- happy/sad, funny/serious. It’s the most human dog book I’ve ever read, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Highly recommended.
I reviewed this book as part of Jennifer’s Dog Days of Summer.
Now I think I’ll go hug my puppy.
Filed under: Book Reviews, books, Dogs, pets, reading, reading challenges, Uncategorized Tagged: | Book Reviews, dog days of summer, Dogs, fiction, garth stein, reading, the art of racing in the rain, the literate housewife review