A couple of months ago, my mother began telling me about how much she enjoyed a book she had read because it was told from the point of view of a dog. My mother has never been the biggest reader; not many catch and hold her attention enough to begin, let alone to finish. That being said, the fact that she enjoyed the book enough to share it with me piqued my interest. The book was called “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, written by Garth Stein.
I must admit that part of the enchantment of this book came from my mother reading the first thirty or so pages to me while I was in hospital waiting to be taken in for a surgical procedure. No matter how old you get, there’s something ineffable and special about your mother reading a story to you.
The language was delightful and unique. The voice of Enzo as our faithful narrator tells the story of his life with his human, Denny, and their lives together from Enzo’s perspective. Anyone who is an animal, and particularly a dog lover will probably appreciate this special voice.
Denny, a hopeful race car driver looking for the path that would literally put him in the driver’s seat and where he could show his stuff, is painted into a corner by his in-laws and struggles to fight a bitter custody battle for his daughter, Zoe. Frustrating as certain parts of the book inevitably were, such as Denny’s arrest for a crime he did not commit, all for the sake of discrediting him and severing forever from a full relationship with Zoe.
Enzo enlightens the reader on all that he has learned and continues to learn throughout the book, gives his opinions freely, has his own theories and beliefs, and loves race car driving. Some of the more racing heavy parts of the book were lost on me as far as entertainment value, but certain aspects stuck with me. An often repeated phrase and one of the racing points that Enzo shares with the reader is “where the eyes go, the car goes”. Other tokens like “there is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose” add to the message that Enzo tries to relate the reader throughout the novel.
The chapters are pretty short and easy to get through, and it was very easy to be finished with the book before I knew it. The only time I wasn’t eating up the pages was when things were most frustrating in the story.
In the end though, I rather enjoyed the story of Enzo’s life with Denny. The last couple of chapters are tear jerking, especially for a dog lover; saying good bye is never easy. The very end though is what will capture your heart if a “good feeling” book is what you’re looking for.