Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The book I read all in one day is The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (also a major motion picture, which I did not see). There seems to be an entire genre of books written from the viewpoint of dogs, these days. In fact, here’s a list of them from Amazon, and you will see it includes a book by a human with “dog” in their name.

As for this book, it’s both about racing and being a very intelligent dog observing a life. Like A Dog’s Purpose, this one posits that dogs are put on earth to protect or care for a family. When they are done, they go away and come back as something else. For our book’s dog, named Enzo, he is convinced he will come back next as a human, and he’ll know so much stuff, especially about racing cars.

I can see how this book became a “major motion picture,” because the people in it are not quite as complex as the inhabitants of the last few books I’ve read. The race-car driver dad is just plain good, with just a hint of temptation to be bad. The lawyers are just plain lawyers.

Big print and lots of white space also make for a book that zips along.

Also the plot features a lot of deus ex machina moments. The way the race-car driver’s issues get solved, both personally and financially, are great examples, so look for them if you read the book. Those kinds of things just beg to become a feel-good movie! (And they make for a quick, pleasant read, too.)

What I liked about the book was when Stein shows us what’s going on in Enzo the dog’s head. His analysis of the world is deep, with some charming flaws, and I had to love how much he lamented not having opposable thumbs. He was convinced dogs could rule the world if only their tongues worked better and they had opposable thumbs.

And Enzo’s love of television is fun to read about, as is his devotion to going fast. I’d say if you’re tired of depressing books with deep social messages, like the last few I’ve read, this is a wonderful antidote. There’s enough drama to make you want to keep reading, but you know it’s the kind of book where everything works out in the end.

Now, if only I could get myself to struggle through The Overstory. Deep lessons. Sadness. Gloom. I’m doing my best.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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