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The Art of Racing in the Rain Hardcover – May 13, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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“One of those stories that may earn its place next to Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.” (Portland Oregonian)
“Splendid.” (People (3 ½ out of 4 stars))
“Fans of Marley & Me, rejoice.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“The perfect book for anyone who knows that some of our best friends walk beside us on four legs; that compassion isn’t only for humans; and that the relationship between two souls...meant for each other never really comes to an end.” (Jodi Picoult)
“The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and--most especially--the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human.” (Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants)
“I savored Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain for many reasons: a dog who speaks, the thrill of competitive racing, a heart-tugging storyline, and--best of all--the fact that it is a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair.” (Wally Lamb, Author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True)
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Top Customer Reviews
To my great astonishment, it's told by a dog. (I'm not a pet-lover).
It contains many insights about car racing. (I have no interest in car racing, and I look askance at sports analogies.)
And the author has described it as "Jonathan Livingston Seagull' for dogs." (That book is tied with 'The Giving Tree' as my Least Favorite Ever.)
So what do I find to praise?
The concept: "When a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man." Not all dogs. Only those who are ready. Enzo, a shepherd-poodle-terrier mix, is ready.
Enzo has spent years watching daytime TV, mostly documentaries and the Weather Channel (It's "not about weather, it is about the world"). And because Denny Swift, his owner, is a mechanic who's training to race cars, he and Enzo watch countless hours of race footage. So Enzo knows about the world beyond the Swift home near Seattle.
The situation is equally appealing: Enzo is old, facing death. While he has learned from racing movies to forget the past and live in the moment, this is his time to remember. And he can remember objectively --- as a dog, his senses are sharper, his emotions less complicated. With the clarity of a Buddha, Enzo can see. And he can listen: "I never interrupt, I never deflect the conversation with a comment of my own." So he's quite the knowing narrator.
And then the story: a happy family, brimming with good feeling and ambitious dreams. Denny loves Enzo like a son. Denny loves his wife Eve, who works for a big retail company that "provided us with money and health insurance." And Denny lives for Zoe, their daughter.Read more ›
Because I'm 12, I did have to discuss the book with my parents. I needed to ask questions about the custody battle and Eve's sickness. I recommend this book to anyone who is open to the ideas of creating your own life and not being a victim. Anyone who thinks this book has anything to do with bad luck (I've seen some of the reviews) is really missing the message. There is nothing random. As Enzo says, we are all extensions of everything. Where you focus your energy is what happens in your life. What happens in the end is what has to happen. It is the only true ending that fits the whole buildup of where Denny and Enzo placed their energy.
On the eve of his death, Enzo (a dog) tells what amounts to his master's life story. Stein's attention to detail was amazing - the book read like it was written by somebody who took the time to stop and think "what would a dog feel/do in this situation?" As a result, Enzo is memorable and lovable. He's at once a crotchety old man, and an innocent youth. He's wise, he's naive, and he is devoted.
I'm not going to lie to you, this book is very sad. But it is also laugh out loud funny at times, and filled with love, devotion, philosophy and hopefulness.
It's a beautiful book and definitely one of my favorites of the year.
The actual plot of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, however, revolves around Enzo's master Denny, who suffers a series of family tragedies. I personally found Denny's story a bit on the melodramatic side (nothing about this book is particularly subtle), but Enzo's presence makes this novel more original and fresh than it otherwise would be. The ending of this book struck me as a bit too Hollywood, but parts of this book are emotionally touching.
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is easy to read, and you can finish it in one sitting. There's quite a bit of crude humor in this novel, but I think most people will enjoy it. If you think Mitch Albom and Nicholas Sparks are pure schmaltz, you will no doubt think the same thing about this novel. But if you like short, sentimental stories, I think this book is definitely worth your time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
LOVE this book!
Dog on cover is wrong kind of dog----Enzo is a terrier mix not a Lab!
In any event, the story is touching, heart wrenching and humorous,
Enzo... Read more
Told in first person by DOG! Come on now! And a VERY intelligent dog at that. Knew Shakespeare, the Bible, things that happened in court where he was not present. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by Jeannie
Wonderful story!!! Great concept of having story from a dog's point of view.Published 6 hours ago by Trisha Duffy
The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of the best books I have read. You will fall in love with Enzo, both for his unique sense of humor and insightful comments on the world. Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Daniel
Our church's bookclub just read and discussed it. It's sad and happy at the same time. A very easy book to read and "get into".Published 1 day ago by mary blackstock
Beautiful words. I really loved the way this book was written from the perspective of the family dog. So clever and so emotional.Published 1 day ago by M T Baddeley
I loved it! There were so many life lessons to be learned from a dog.Published 1 day ago by Helen Fitzgerald