This hilarious yet moving story has all of the epic elements of life, death, love, betrayal and loss but what makes it unique is that it is narrated by Enzo, the family dog. From his unique canine perspective Enzo describes the idyllic life he leads with his owners, Denny and Eve, until it is devastated by illness. Enzo, wise beyond his doggy years - which of course are seven of ours - describes the events that unfold as the family tries to cope with Eve's cancer diagnosis and the fall-out from it. The title is a reference to Denny's passion for Formula One driving which has many similarities to life itself. If you love dogs, cars or the concept of triumph over adversity this book will tick your boxes. It's a cross between Love Story and Marley and Me with some Kramer v Kramer thrown in along the way. I read it in one long train journey and loved every second.
on 23 May 2008
It is impossible to read "The Art of Racing in the Rain" without feeling emotion. Beautifully written, this is a heart-warming and gut-wrenching story of incredible strength of character against all odds.
Written from the point of view of the intelligent and empathic family dog, Enzo ("a good looking dog...a smart dog"), this is a story like no other. Genuinely impossible to put down, I actually resented being distracted from reading it from cover to cover in one sitting, and desperately looked forward to the blissful hours I managed to steal in order to have this delicious tale wash over me once more.
I am glad, however, that I did not take this book everywhere I went, instead choosing to complete it in the comfort of my own home. The strong - and sometimes surprisingly raw - emotion that this book often evokes in the reader, certainly caused me to shed tears on more that several occassions, as well as gasps of frustration and sadness at the characters' plights.
Completely believable, this is one of those books that gets under your skin. You will find it impossible to keep it to yourself. If you are reading this review and shaking your head, saying to yourself, "ah, but I'm not really a dog lover", then don't be put off. The fact that the narrator of the story is a dog only occassionally comes into the conversation - and a conversation it is between us and this highly intelligent and emotive animal, who wishes he were human and is eternally frustrated that he is not.
It is not a story about a dog, it is a story of human lives struck with joy, tragedy, failure, success, setbacks and ultimate triumph over incredible adversity. It is a story of life and death, and how the two are inextricably linked together in all our lives. It is an incredible love story, an action, a thriller - sometimes even a horror. It will reach out to you and demand you feel some emotion and gut human reaction. This book will change you.
Please read this book - and please, do not put it down.
on 26 May 2008
This is simply the most amazing book and is within my top ten of 2008 so far. I'm very grateful that I've had the opportunity to read this through Amazon Vine and I don't think I've gushed about a Vine product in this manner before! It's absolutely amazing and when I say get the tissues ready I'm not even talking about a specific event, I just found it all so heart-warming and a fantastic reflection on life itself that every now and then I had big fat tears rolling down my cheeks at Enzo's observations.
There's not much product information available on Amazon and the question from the inside jacket is enough to get you thinking, "Have you ever looked at a dog and wondered whether there might be more to him than meets the eye?" well in the case of Enzo there definitely is. Through Enzo we explore morality, philosophy, sociology, psychology and what it is to be human. You don't forget at all that you are reading the book from the perspective of Enzo and Garth Stein has written this into it so well - particularly all the bits about monkeys, they did have me laughing.
Enzo is adorable - that's coming from a cat person rather than a dog person as well! It shows how much we are a nation of animal lovers and I could hear how I talk to my cat in the way that other characters talked to Enzo. I now wonder what's going through her mind when I'm chatting away to her!! The plot takes you through some difficult times for Denny - a semi-professional racing car driver - and his family (to which I include Enzo!). Enzo's thoughts and opinions take what is somewhere between an outsider's perspective, mixed with a child-like attitude in order to formulate a very sensible solution.
It's a highly readable novel. I fully intended this morning reading a few chapters before getting on a doing some other work, however I couldn't put it down. I just wanted to read 'one more page', then 'a few more chapters' and before I knew it I was over half way through. It seemed pointless then putting it down ;-) Well worth the read, get it through any means you can.
on 11 May 2009
This is one of the first times I can remember writing a book review within minutes of finishing the book. I feel the need to do this because I fear if I wait until tomorrow, I won't be able to express to you just how wonderful this book truly is. With tears streaming down my face, I'm urging you to read it.....something I've never done before.
You don't have to be a dog lover.....you don't have to be a race car lover. All you have to be is a reader looking for something worthwhile to read; something you'll never forget; something you will be missing out on if you don't take the opportunity to do something for yourself and begin a journey with a dog and a man.....a journey you won't soon forget. One warning though....do not read the end right before you're ready to go to sleep because sleep will not come. You will be too full of your thoughts and your feelings and a sadness overshadowed by happiness.
As soon as I finished the book, I instant messaged a reading friend of mine to encourage her to read the book right away. This discourse was so funny that I feel the need to post it right here within my review since perhaps some of you might feel the same way she did.
Myself: OMG..I just this minute finished The Art of Racing In the Rain and I can't stop crying
Friend: oh no
Myself: I was going to beg you to read it but I feel now I must order you to do so
Friend: it's a dog book, right?
Myself: It is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read
Myself: Yes it's narrated by a dog but it's so much more
Myself: I just wrote the first two paragraphs of my review if that will get you to read it
Friend: okay okay
Myself: Promise me you'll read it and get Laura to do so as well
Friend: I hate car racing...despise it!
Myself: That is so insignificant
Friend: that turned me off more than the dog narrator
Myself: It's not the racing because there's hardly any of that in it
Myself: It's what makes someone a winner and not a loser
Myself: And they use the car racing as the backdrop for that
Friend: are there more than two paragraphs about car racing?
Myself: I swear to God.....do not ask me one more question about car racing.....Get the darn book because I'm asking you to. lol
Myself: You want great reading experiences.....this is one of them
Friend: the only thing worse would be if it was about car racing in INDIA!
Friend: ok. so I just read the first 5 pages at Amazon and it has some promise
Myself: thank you
Myself: okay enough already......just read the book and let me know the minute you finish it when you're crying your eyes out and writing about it for that stupid Sunday Salon of yours lol
I posted this chat so you can see just what I have to go through simply to get a friend to read a book I like. Obviously I get no respect in this regard.
Well the bottom line is that she read it and now I see her recommending it to everyone she knows. Needless to say, I'm not going to tell you anything else about the premise or about a dog named Enzo and a man named Denny who has a wife named Eve and a little girl named Zoe. That's all you need to know.
You will laugh and you will cry but, in the end, you will feel fulfilled with a promise of hope....a promise as seen through the eyes of a dog. It doesn't get much better than that.
on 16 September 2008
I have lived in households that have included dogs my whole life. I have loved and bonded with a few through the years, including my present companion, a robust Chocolate Lab. I was glad to discover this small masterpiece.
First of all, I love the title. The Art of Racing in the Rain, told from the perspective of a dog named Enzo (after Ferrari) is a moving tale of love, loss and betrayal -- of overcoming impossible barriers and ultimate triumph. Enzo's master, Denny Swift, is a talented race car driver. He is also husband to Eve, father to Zoe, and this core family is Enzo's Universe. Enzo has gained great wisdom and insight from his master and from watching TV, including among other things racing videos and the Weather Channel. Enzo tells the story of Denny's life with honesty and insight. Through Enzo's eyes we find a hero in Denny, a good man who doesn't look at the wall as his car (and his life) spins out of control, but at the track. This is perhaps my favorite racing metaphor on life: that Denny does not meet the wall, but regains the track, even when he is racing blind. For Eve, Denny's dying wife, I feel incredible compassion. Eve, so afraid to be alone she asks Enzo to stay with her through the night and protect her, then whispers "thank you" to her protector on surviving the darkness. Young Zoe is her father's spirit, a tender, resilient child who completes the family. This novel keeps is eye on the next turn and remains on the track.
What struck me in particular in The Art of Racing in the Rain was the great character development that emerged through Enzo's straightforward reporting. I discovered Denny Swift navigating his difficult life with constraint, faith, courage and passion; Eve as a tender soul who endures even knowing she is doomed; Zoe, a bright, innocent child whose understanding far outpaces her years; "the Twins," Maxwell and Trish, flat, shallow and despicably impotent. I felt that I already knew Mark Fein, the bright, bombastic attorney. This all seems so seamless, so simple and I am sure it was the hardest part. Mr. Stein, congratulations and thank you.
on 16 March 2009
A rare book indeed to 1) successfully narrate a story from the point of view of a dog, 2) to do this well, 3) to keep the story believable and 4) evoke such extremes of emotion from the reader. My boyfriend found it most puzzling that one minute I'd be laughing, the next minute crying and the one after gasping in outrage! As a dog owner, I was perhaps more 'pre-disposed' to geting invloved in the story and believing in Enzo than other people who dismiss dogs as brainless animals. Overall, extremely good book, read from cover to cover in one evening.
I bought this book for my husband for his birthday, I didn't give it much more thought other than the fact it had good reviews and it involved a dog, and he likes dogs.
However, I found myself short of a book to read and picked it up... and then couldn't put it down! I was in tears by page 8, back smiling for the middle of the book and then sobbing on a hotel sun lounger by the end!
This book is brilliant. It would be brilliant even without the unusual choice of narrator, but Enzo's narrative voice lifts in from good to exceptional.
Some books make you want to talk to strangers about how great they are, some books are so addictive you think about getting back to reading them while you are in the office, and some books stay with you long after you have finished reading them.... this is all of these.
I would rank this in my top 5 with The Life Of Pi, The Time Traveller's Wife and The Lovely Bones. - I have just passed it on to my mum, but I think I will be reading it a second time when I get it back!
on 9 August 2009
Wow, this book was written for me !! Had to have been. I have two dogs and adore them and my second love is Formula 1 motorsport. My biggest ever hero in the world was Ayrton Senna. One of my dogs (now 14) is named in his honour (Rio).....
If you too love dogs and motorsport you'll love this book with no hesitation. I can't give an impartial review as I've no idea what it would mean to someone that's not a doglover though I'd like to believe they'd adore it too.
But please read it and take it all in.....I've learnt lots about my own little dogs in the course of reading too and it makes you THINK.....
Definitely a tremendous book for me.
on 9 April 2009
I loved this book. Who wouldn't when the narrator is a wise and loyal dog. I laughed, cried and then laughed and cried some more when I finished the book. We all face trials and tribulations in life, our family members hurt us, they become ill, then they redeem themselves. Our one true friend and family member remains loyal throughout their life, our pet.
on 14 July 2012
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN was THE dog book to read a few years back and held the spotlight on the best seller list for months and months electrifying fans from around the world. I realize that I am probably the last guest to arrive at this particular party but now that I am here I must admit that this tale related by a dog nearing the end of his days was better than I expected and is filled with humor, wisdom and tales of "doggie devotion" that falls into the "two hankie" category.
Enzo, the dog, has endeavored for years to develop his human side so that, in accordance with Mongolian legend, he will be prepared for his reincarnation as a human in his next life where he is certain he will return as a man complete with opposable thumbs. In the very first chapter Enzo says, "I'm stuffed into a dog's body, but that's just the shell. It's what's inside that's important. The Soul. And my soul is very human".
As an attentive observer of human nature Enzo gleans most of his information on "humanness" from watching television and witnessing the devotion, sacrifice, patience, love, and loyalty practiced by his owner Denny Swift, an aspiring race car driver with a talent for driving in the rain.
As Enzo witnesses the lives of the humans around him he determines that living life is metaphorically akin to navigating a wet race track and surmises that each of us has a "fear of the rain" that manifests itself in various ways throughout our lives. You will be charmed and captivated by the quiet insights of this loving creature and wish that humans were just half as committed and understanding.
P.S. If you are a dog lover who read and enjoyed the story of Enzo and Denny, then may I strongly suggest that the next book on your reading list should be A DOG'S PURPOSE by W. Bruce Cameron.