Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Review: Get ready... get ready to have every single one of your emotions tugged. The Art of Racing in the Rain is now one of my all-time favorite books. It offers so much more than a singular, one-dimensional plot; as with all books of merit, this one is not meant to be dissected, but rather, one upon which to meditate -- leave your armor at the gate before entering and allow yourself to savor the philosophy. If you spend too much time analyzing whether or not relationships such as the ones presented are realistic or if the storyline is too contrived, then you will miss the grand point of it all. Well written books purposefully use characters and scenarios to guide the reader along the author's carefully cultivated path in order to present ideas and conjure up emotion, beckoning you to contemplate "Now, what do you really believe about what I just said now that you're safely tucked away in the cocoon of your own mind where nobody can judge you?" The Art of Racing in the Rain has accomplished this more beautifully than any other book I've read. There are so many things about it that I adore: Enzo, the wonder dog and narrator extraordinaire (gawd, how could you not want to take him home with you?!); the love and friendship shared between Enzo & his best friend & caretaker, Denny; Denny himself, despite his flaws; the ingenious racing car metaphors; the courageous undertaking of controversial themes regarding life, death, and the afterlife that thread the story together; the subtle reflection regarding one of life's biggest questions... how far will you go to chase your dreams before it's no longer worth the price of admission? This book is a roller coaster of sensations that will take you so far down that you get angry at the author, Garth Stein, for making you care as much as you do before he gently lifts you out of the depths with his well-planned rainbow ending... but not before making you shed a bucket of tears before you get there. The Art of Racing in the Rain is no less than a stunningly beautiful book to be embraced.
Thanks go to T H Water for this review.
Publisher: Published 2008 by Harper Collins
Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)
Where I Obtained the Book: From a friend
Synopsis: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.
On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.
A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it.
Author Biography: Garth Stein is the author of three novels: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper, 2008); How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press, 2005), which won a 2006 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, and was a Book Sense Pick in both hardcover and paperback; and Raven Stole the Moon (Pocket, 1998). He has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones, which received its first production in Los Angeles, in February, 2005, and was described as "brimming with intensity," by the L.A. Weekly.
After receiving his B.A. from Columbia College (1987), and his M.F.A. in film from Columbia University, School of the Arts (1990), Garth worked as a documentary film maker for several years, and directed, produced or co-produced several award winning films.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Garth's ancestry is diverse: his mother, a native of Alaska, is of Tlingit Indian and Irish descent; his father, a Brooklyn native, is the child of Jewish emigrants from Austria. After spending his childhood in Seattle and then living in New York City for 18 years, Garth returned to Seattle, where he currently lives with his family and his dog, Comet."