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on August 3, 2015
This is quite possibly one of the most well-written beautiful novels I have ever read and I am a book critic by trade. I reviewed nearly 100 books as a paid newspaper reviewer, full length reviews, and there were over 70 writers on my staff as books editor and this book -- THIS BOOK -- affected me in more ways than any book in over 10 years of reading. It is not a dog lover's book but having a dog will elevate the reading experience for you. This is a book about life after death, about hope, about the importance of paying attention to life's details. It is incredible. I have given copies of the book to at least a dozen people. I should have recommended it earlier but frankly, I rarely do Amazon reviews, sometimes on a boring Sunday morning while I watch the news, I'll do random bits of reviewing.

The storyline of this novel is intricate and carefully woven like the threads of a fine silk tapestry. For a person who writes book reviews for a living, this book left me speechless... it's a wonderful book. It's the "To Kill a Mockingbird" of this era and should be read by everyone. I love Garth Stein for writing and hope to someday tell him in person how much reading this book after my mother died (at 93) meant to me. She was ready to go and I somehow knew I'd see her again ... read the book and you'll know what I mean.
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on November 22, 2016
Our book club chose this as a selection early last summer and from the reviews on Amazon, I was looking forward to it.

Discussing the book with the club was filled with no end of confusion as my wife continued quoting passages from the book that only she and I remembered, until a brave soul declared ... 'that isn't in this book!'

It turns out I'd ordered for my wife and myself 'A Special Adaptation for Young Readers.' We laughed as we compared cover images, on everyone else's book the profile of 'Enzo' as an adult dog and on our cover a lovable puppy with dancing eyes. Good idea to check the book twice before purchase and download to my iPad!

Regardless, ours was a fun read and I'm keeping the book around for my grandson who should be able to tackle it soon.
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on February 19, 2016
Oh this book, this book is amazing. You should read it. Now. Seriously. I rarely say this about a book and a five star from me is rare.

This story is told from the point of view of a dog on the last day of his life. He tells you the story of his life and his people in such an amazing and insightful way. He sees the world as only a dog can, and the author is amazing at conveying this. The book is brilliant for that alone, there is no doubt that you are truly reading something conveyed by a dog.

This book felt so incredibly real, and all the characters were so well fleshed out and formed that I had to stop several times and go read something else because the story felt so real to me and I was overcome. (This may just be a "me" thing, YMMV)

The ending is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, it's like emotional whiplash but if I could have kissed the author for the ending I would have.
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on May 3, 2016
I thought this book would be silly and juvenile seeing as how it was told from the viewpoint of a racecar driver's dog. I actually read this to make sure it was appropriate for my 4th grade daughter (who actually reads on a much higher reading level). I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining, funny, and also heart-wrenching the book was. I laughed out loud at several parts, especially the part where Enzo, the dog, expresses his bitterness toward monkeys and their opposable thumbs. I love a page-turner and while this wouldn't rank as one of the top 10 best I've ever read, it is among my top recent reads. I won't, however, be passing along to my daughter just because I don't know that I want to subject her to the heartbreak of cancer and loss anymore than necessary at her early age. Let them be young and worry-free as long as possible. :)
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on December 14, 2014
This is the young kids version of "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I bought this book thinking that it was the one for young adults. My daughter is 10 years old but reads at a 12th grade level so I have been culling high school reading lists to push her to read things that are more challenging yet appropriate for her maturity level. I bought this book, perused it, and then realized that it was the version for younger children. Well, gave it to her anyway after reading about half of it myself. She loved the book. What I read I was happy with. It is obviously well written and I was certainly not concerned about the content's appropriateness for my young daughter.
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on February 14, 2015
This book grabbed me from the first couple of pages. I hardly put it down except to sleep--finished it in two days. The writing is beautiful--not flowery but then a dog's language would not be flowery. And it isn't cutesy either as it could have been if the author had put too much emphasis on trying to get into a dog's mind. Instead the book steers clear of mawkishness--much as a race car driver steers clear of a wall. The race car analogy worked so well. Although I am not familiar with the world of race car driving, I found it very appropriate to the story, comparing how one steers through life's tragedies and challenges to driving a race car.
The story centers around a dog called Enzo and his love and devotion to his family--Denny, Eve and Zoe. It is way, way above the typical "dog loves man" story though. I can't describe any more about the plot except to say that, if you love dogs, this is a must read. And even if you don't consider yourself a dog lover, this book will captivate you.
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on November 2, 2015
This book is a Stroke of Genius on the part of this writer to have put together the story that he has! My daughter gave this to me as Christmas present, maybe it was a Birthday present, over a year ago. I cried through the entire book. I loved it...and gave it away as a gift to a friend! Again, It is a Stroke of Genius on the part of this writer! If you love animals (dogs) and you love racing...STOP what you are doing, and go find and buy and read this book. Your life, and outlook on it, will definitely change. I have since bought over 10-copies as gifts for my Alfa Romeo Club friends! Now that I have written this write-up, I'm going to buy another copy and re-read it and keep it to look at, and re-read parts of it from time to time, as to what really is important in life!
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on May 23, 2014
This book told from the dog's perspective is a wonderful tale of his life with a race car driver and his family. I found myself crying in the sad parts whenever there is a dog involved and cry I did in at least two parts. The story flows easily and I found myself reading it quickly and wanting more when the story was over. The story covers his master's life as a race car driver through meeting his wife and the child that they have. He comments on the other people (race car drivers, in-laws) and how they affects the people he loves.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good animal story but as I said get the tissues because you will need them and if your husband is like mine do not read it when he is around or prepare for the comments..
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on May 31, 2017
Overall I liked the story from the dog's view. It kind of went on a little long with Denny being miserable though, so I had to skip probably half of the last 100 pages to get through it. Ending was worth it.
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on March 30, 2014
Two things make this book great: point of view and theme. Though it sounds odd to explain it, the point of view is a dog's. Yet the voice of this narrator, Enzo, is not affected but rather endearing, funny, and at times even profound. Enzo is determined that in the next life he will be a human and in the present life he is trying to be a good, loyal friend to his owners. The main theme is that of the importance of perseverance as Enzo's owner Denny, struggles to endure and overcome extreme hardships while on the journey to achieve his dream of being a race car driver. As Enzo observes these struggles, he also reveals the hope that inspires us to fight for our dreams and to never give up. The narrative voice is refreshing and funny and the book's themes are hopeful and encouraging, so I recommend this book not only for dog lovers and race car enthusiasts, but also for those who will enjoy the gems of insight and inspiration throughout.
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