The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein, 2008, 321 pgs.

Oh no, another book in which the dog dies. But what a life the dog has! Enzo, our narrator, has a great dad who is a race car driver, and who initiates Enzo into the thrilling world of competitive racing. Enzo is perceptive, and has a fine eye and ear for the nuances of human interaction, both verbal and physical. He is loyal to his dad, dad’s wife, and dad’s little daughter. He always tries to do right, but is stymied by his inability to communicate in human language and annoyed that he does not have opposable thumbs with which to open doors. His efforts at communicating are misunderstood at times, but the silent comfort he gives his human companions is very real and touching. Enzo sees his family through tough times, and dies having had a very happy life.

A heartwarming story with plenty of heartbreak. Cancer, bitter custody battles, betrayal, and death plague Enzo’s family. I liked the race car scenes, but didn’t care for all the family drama. The dog-as-narrator trick was refreshing at first, but got old fast as it tried to be too clever. I can see why this has been a bestseller, but I didn’t love it.

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