I recently finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This was a book that it seemed like everyone had read except me. Even my mom read it and she reads about 3 books a year. I picked this book based on her recommendation. I don’t read much modern literature, so I honestly wasn’t expecting much coming into this novel. I was pleasantly surprised, though.
At first the narration style got on my nerves a bit. The wording was often simple, but repetitive. I had to keep telling myself that the style was like that because the narrator is a dog. This dog is no ordinary dog though, and he soon won me over completely. Enzo has a child-like spirit and marvels at small things that we often take for granted, like opposable thumbs. At times he is brutally honest, but his wisdom shines through.
The novel focuses a lot on racing and cars, so I thought I wouldn’t enjoy that emphasis much, since I don’t really have a strong interest in cars, but the metaphors were well written throughout the novel, helping, rather than hindering the narrative. Enzo’s master is Denny Swift, a racing enthusiast, so it makes sense that Enzo loves racing just as much as he loves Denny. I loved seeing their relationship develop, because like human relationships, there are ups and downs.
Maybe I enjoyed this novel so much because I have a puppy of my own. In some ways, Enzo is every dog, loyal, loving, and pure-hearted. But because I have a puppy, the emotional parts of the novel were likely even more emotional than they would be if I had never had a pet of my own. Overall, I think this is a must-read novel for any dog-lover, or animal-lover, for that matter.
I will say that the story progression is a bit predictable. If the narrator were anyone but a dog, I would have put the book down after the first chapter or so. The story is more remarkable because of the canine narrator. Even with the mostly predictable story line, it’s still a cute novel. I can’t really give much of a summary without spoilers, but it’s a quick read.