Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

When I first laid on eyes on this book, I thought I would not enjoy it all. Because you know, usually Dog books are sad. And yet… it was only a dollar. So I decided to be adventurous and buy it.

For some reason, after reading A Fault In Our Stars, I decided reading this book would be a good idea. I seem on some kind of crazy depressing streak. I have to say I rather love it. While it seems far fetched that a dog could speak this way, the whole premise of the book explains it away, and if you want to believe any of it, you have to accept the dog’s language. I embraced the art of Garth Stein, fully and completely. For after all, “That which you manifest is all before you.”

As I sat reading this book at work, I was constantly sighing and complaining because trust me, you will want to scream, rant and rave at the grandparents. It is a hard road that Denny must walk, and Enzo follows him, devotedly and lovingly. The insight that Enzo offers not only from watching the humans around him (and the television) but also from his own dog life, is quite interesting and touching.

Enzo makes you feel like you are also imagining yourself as a dog, while reminding yourself of all the dogs you may have ever known/loved. He has some lovely insights, and moments of hilarity (one of my absolute FAVORITE moments involves papers, and that’s all I will say.)

Eve can be hard to understand or relate to. It depends on your own medical history I think and how you feel about certain things. She breaks your heart, angers you, and everything that Enzo feels as well. One of my favorite things about this book is that you feel what Enzo you feels – as he describes the way he sees other people, you can see them as well. It is much more effective, in some ways, that say, a person describing another person.

Zoe pulls at your heart and makes you feel anger towards others. She is also a very bright, cute, little girl.

The Twins are evil whores. That is all I will say.

I think that the writing of this novel is very well done, though there is still language in it I felt was too high, and out of place. The pace is well done, though there is a bit toward the middle I felt could have been condensed a bit. The characters are also well done, and the emotions they convey suck you in and make you care for them. Chloe said that she felt I was getting too involved with the fictional characters (I got very defensive and upset at certain parts). So there’s that.

I am also at this time, over emotional a bit, so you may not have the same reactions I did. But, it is an emotional book, and it starts out that way. I will just say, the book is the dog looking back over his life, so there’s that clue.

So – SPOILERS!

The beginning of the book starts out with Enzo basically telling you that he wishes he will die. And it is heartbreaking. Completely so.

And now my favorite quotes.

“But my thoughts turned to what he had just taught me. Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”

“Did he understand, as those interminable minutes ticked by, that being alone is not the same as being lonely? That being alone is a neutral state; it is like a blind fish at the bottom of the ocean: without eyes, and therefore without judgment. Is it possible? That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me. Is it true? Could Denny have possibly appreciated the subjective nature of loneliness, which is something that exists only in the mind, not in the world, and, like a virus, is unable to survive without a willing host.”

About Zoe: “who continued to face situations that were loaded with subtleties beyond her experience and fraught with the conflicting desires of those around her, fighting for supremacy like vines entangled on a trellis.”

“I have not witnessed,” I would have said. “I am witnessing!”

“Our fears. Our own self-destructive nature. The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times. The demon is us!”

“The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague.”

“Inside each of us resides the truth,” I began, “the absolute truth. But sometimes the truth is hidden in a hall of mirrors. Sometimes we believe we are viewing the real thing, when in fact we are viewing a facsimile, a distortion. […] We too, must shatter the mirrors. We must look into ourselves and root out the distortions until that thing which we know in our hearts is perfect and true, stands before us. Only then will justice be served.”

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