Monday, December 19, 2011

Review - The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
Date: 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins
Reading level: A
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 321
Format: paperback
Source: Indigo

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoƫ at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life... as only a dog could tell it.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm finding that some of the books that have been sitting in my TBR pile the longest are actually some of the best... and I keep kicking myself for not picking them up sooner!

I really enjoyed this one.  Enzo (the dog) is an amazing narrator with an unforgettable voice.  I thought perhaps that all the talk of racing wouldn't appeal to me, but it actually helps move the story along quite well and gives us more insight into the characters.  This book is quite philosophical at heart, looking at some rather metaphysical issues from the point of view of an extremely insightful canine.  Anyone who's had a dog and wondered if there's more behind that quirky gesture or inexplicable doggy behaviour will delight in this exploration of what if?  What if your dog understood everything that was going on (possibly better than you could), but just couldn't express it in a way you could understand?

This book made me laugh, got me a little teary, and made me want to recommend it to lots of people.  What a great book to help end a year of reading on a high note! 

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Editing: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.86 out of 5


  1. Thanks! This is next on my list. I, to have wanted to read it for a long time. I'm going to do it!

  2. I loved this one too! Also wondered if the racing would be "yuck" but it wasn't - same experience when someone told me Water for Elephanes was about the circus! A story told well rises above our prejudices.