I agree with Sandy. Enzo thought he was "faking" his weakness, with the idea that it was time for him to die, although he'd acknowledged at the beginning of the book he really could have more years left for his life. He thought it was time for him to go, however, and by lying in his own piddle he figured that his owner would come to the same conclusion and take him to the vet. However, when Denny got home that last night, Enzo discovered that, in fact, he really was weak, and that he was not really "faking" at all...which disturbed him somewhat. I was so moved by the ending, for instead of the "one way trip to the vet"...Enzo recieved the wonderful blessing of dying in his beloved Denny's arms, with the smell of pancakes in the air, in his own kitchen. He deserved no less.
I hadn't actually made those connections when I read the book. The Zebra behaving like it did in Zoe's room destroys the "oh how cute" reaction any person might have about an innocuous stuffed toy. It's jarring and totally unexpected, much like the reaction I might have to my dog suddenly deciding to destroy an object in our house she previously loved. As Enzo says (thinks), the zebra is inside all of us. To me, it meant that we can all do things that might be unexpected/out of character in moments of panic, stress, or anxiety. Your point about Eve's fear of doctors is interesting. It was one of the plot points that I questioned in terms of plausibility: to be that sick and still refuse to see a doctor. I agree with you though, what a great book. I've thought of it often after reading it.
Young? There is a scene that describes a 15 yr old girl offering herself, nude, to the main character, a young married man. This latter becomes a possible molestation charge against him.
YOU decide as to the appropriate age that your reader needs to be in order to handle that.
As the father of a 15-year old girl, I would definitely encourage your 14-year old to read this. There is much more inappropriate material available on TV, in movies and in other books. This book is well-written, touching and provides an almost Zen-like view of the world and one's place in it that teenagers can grasp and understand.
(Spoiler?) A 15-year-old tries to seduce the adult main character and then falsely accuses him of rape to help relatives get custody of his child--not a good introduction to healthy sexuality for a young boy.
Hi - The version "Racing in the Rain - My Life as a Dog" (vs. "The Art of Racing in the Rain") I believe is a simplified version for youth. I think on the back cover it mentions that it is an abridged version, and mentions for younger readers. The cover picture is of a puppy. The original I have has a picture of Enzo facing forward - from his nose up. Superb and both heart wrenching and joyous at the same time!! Hope this helps. christine