Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I'm shocked...shocked, by how much I loved this book.

The narrator is a dog.

There is much mentioning of racing - Formula One, NASCAR, Indy....

and the narrator is a dog. But I think I mentioned that already.

I liked this book so much that it made me want a dog. No, it made me want this dog. And I don't even like dogs.

Enzo, a terrier/lab mutt, believes in his next life he will be human. As he feels practically human already, just limited to grand gestures due to his loose-muscled tongue and lack of opposable thumbs, he spends his dog years closely watching his ownder, Denny Swift, to learn the art of being human so that when it's his turn, he'll have a head start.

Denny, a race car driver/mechanic/down on his luck dad is a kind owner who loves his dog and uses racing philosophies in his own life. There are many to choose from, but my favorite is, "No race has ever been won in the first corner; many have been lost there." Denny's own story is one of work, patience, courage, endurance, hope, and love. It's not an easy story to read. There are times I felt like throwing the book I was so mad at Denny's in-laws, but (kind of embarrassing to admit here), Enzo kept me sane. I just loved that dog. Just when I'd about had it, he'd make me laugh and I could manage another chapter.

Enzo dies in the end. It's not a secret. From the opening pages, you are reading the words of a dying dog. But that didn't take away my sadness in the end. I bawled when Denny held his beloved friend in his arms and says, "It's okay. You can go." Think Where The Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller only for adults. There is some mentioning of "mounting" (it's a dog's perspective, remember) and language.

Several times throughout the book, Denny or Enzo say, "Your car goes where your eyes go." Enzo knew that applied to life as well. Your life goes where your eyes go. I'm happy my eyes rested on this book.

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