Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Art of Racing in the Rain

After Christmas, I was visiting with relatives, and Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain came up in discussion. My brother and niece had both read it, and had positive reports. When I mentioned that it was on my Goodreads 'to-read' list, my brother found his copy and gave it to me.

The first chapter introduces us to Enzo, the canine narrator. His immediate problem - "lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own making" - was one I recognized. In the last months of our Homer's life, we often came home and found him in that same situation. I immediately felt a connection and empathy with this dog.

I could only guess at Homer's thoughts, but Enzo! Enzo is a dog who thinks a lot, about many things. He loves auto racing, and watches racing tapes with his Denny. He loves TV, with its movies and documentaries. He is fascinated with opposable thumbs. He has insights and wisdom and opinions and a sense of humor, all of which he shares throughout his story.

I loved Enzo's voice, his designation of Denny's in-laws as the "Evil Twins," and his description of Mike's wife, "who wasn't really a wife but a man who was wife-like." I was amazed to discover that I enjoyed his description of racing, and I was fascinated with all the nuances and subtleties and skill of that sport. And, I loved Enzo's varied ways of getting his message across: "gestures are all that I have."

Most of all, I loved the story he told. Enzo described his life with Denny, and the additions of Eve and Zoe to their family. He went on to share the heartbreaking tragedy they faced, and the struggle that Denny endured. At one point, I thought "I can't finish this book, I can't face any more sadness," but of course I did. Enzo led me through the sadness to the reward.

I hope that if I ever face such challenges, I can endure it with Denny's grace. And, I hope that I will have an Enzo by my side, guiding me through it, and making sure that I never give up.


  1. Thanks Paul! And thanks for the loan of the book. Jim is reading it now.

    BTW, isn't it interesting that your comment was entered at 10:15 am, before I even posted the blog entry at 10:28 am?!?!