The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein – Review
Denny’s dream has always been to be a champion racer. His dog Enzo has been by his side since he was a puppy. They have built a strong, unbreakable bond. A bond that is desperately needed as Denny’s life begins to unravel around him. Life is complicated but seems a bit more understandable and bearable when seen through the unique eyes of man’s best friend.
What I loved:
A book told from a dog’s POV; that had me hooked from the very start. This is actually a book I have been meaning to read for ages now. My aunt got it for Christmas from my cousin and I borrowed it from her.
I lovd Enzo. His insight into human behavior is interesting. He sees things we can’t see. He sense things we can’t sense and he understands the world around him much better than I initially imagined he would. I thought he would have a goofy sense of the world.
I always imagine a dog having a childish perspective of the world. Enzo had a much more mature voice. Enzo learned from his environment and he made observations based off what he learned. Enzo was smart.
I loved how we see the connection between man and dog from the dog. If you have had a pet you know the deep connection that can exist between a person and their furry friend. We have numerous stories about how a dog has helped someone make it through the toughest time in their lives. In this story we got to see how a dog manages to be that support system.
The look at the universe and life was refreshing. Even with all the things that Denny had to go through, Enzo still held hope. He had Denny’s best interest at heart and he was not going to let anyone do anything to take that away from him. I loved some of the ways he had to help Denny see reason or make a decision. Seeing how he got his “voice” heard was great.
The end made me cry. I don’t cry easily and those last few pages hit home in a major way for me. It was uplifting and satisfying. It felt perfect. As someone who has a deep connection with a pet, I appreciated the sentiment at the end.
What I was just okay with:
While I loved Enzo and his voice I had a serious issue with the way the plot played out. It was just very aggravating to me. Everything that happened to Denny wasn’t his fault. He had no control, he was a victim of circumstance and crappy people.
Particularly the “Evil Twins,” made me want to hit someone. It wasn’t bad writing or anything it was just those circumstances and type of people infuriate me. I wanted the book to end because I just couldn’t read about their horrible way of behaving anymore. It was a sign of great writing that I emphasized with Denny so much and hated some of the other characters. I just get annoyed quick with that kind of storyline though.
What I wish was different:
There was one minor scene that really bugged me. When Enzo is taken to stay with Denny’s friend Mike, he introduced to Tony as well. When Enzo meets him he refers to Tony as Mike’s “wife.” From this description I understood as them being a couple.
This may just me being sensitive but I didn’t like Tony being referred to as a “wife.” Enzo is a smart dog. He understands racing in all its terms, he understands the legal system and can sense sickness. So I don’t understand why he would think of Tony as a “wife.” He could have easily observed him being close to Mike, think they are together, and say something like “He is acting like Eve does to Denny, as if he was his wife. But he is a man, so I guess that would make him his husband? Can a man be another man’s husband? I don’t know, I haven’t seen that before. But nevertheless this is where I find myself right now.”
Sometime simple like that. Observe that it is different than what he knows, apply language he already understands in a new sense and move on. It is only one scene but it still prickled me a bit. I have a brother who is gay and that may be why it annoyed me. I wouldn’t want him or his boyfriend be stereotyped that way. It wasn’t enough to make me stop reading but it did throw me off during that chapter.
All in all this was a sweet, heartwarming book. I enjoyed it. I liked seeing life from Enzo’s point of view. I had an issue with the harsh nature of the plot line but that did solidify the significance of Enzo and his role in Denny’s life. I gave it four stars on Goodreads and would definitely recommend it.
“Because memory is time folding back on itself. To remember is to disengage from the present.” (pg. 11)
“Be it through intention or ignorance, our success and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.” (pg. 43)
“Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.” (pg. 102)
“The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles – preferable of his own makings – in order to triumph. (pg. 135)