The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Recommended by Megan Nall-Cook
“I’ve always felt almost human. I’ve always known that there’s something about me that’s different from other dogs. Sure. I’m stuffed into a dog’s body but that’s just the shell. It’s what’s inside that’s important. The soul. And my soul is very human.” Enzo has always felt like a human and is irritated that he doesn’t have thumbs. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein goes through a dog’s life but starts at the end then goes to his childhood. This book was humorous and hard to put down.
Enzo tells the story of his life and uses a lot of racing references. Denny is his owner, he is a racecar driver, is married to Eve and has a daughter named Zoé. Enzo is a terrier-poodle mix and is very old. Denny and Enzo live in an apartment. Denny is tall with long lean muscles and a scruffy wiry beard. Garth Stein wrote this book from Enzo’s point of view which made it more likeable than if it had been written from a different point of view. This book is very funny and is deep as well. Three reasons to read this book are it refers to racing, has lots of humor, and shows the love between dog and owner.
Both Denny and Enzo often refer to racing, they both refer to terms like overcorrecting, freezing, and driving like there are eggshells on your pedals. When Enzo got left alone in the house for about three days he said, “When I was locked in the house suddenly and firmly, I did not overcorrect or freeze.” In the chapter before it was all racing references or terms to describe what to do and how he felt. Racing references are often used in this book; they also make the book what it is.
Humor is common as well. Enzo is jealous of monkeys because they have thumbs, he gives two reasons why he thinks humans are descended from dogs not monkeys. Evidence he uses is the dew claw and werewolf. He also talks about crows eating bags of his poop while he watched and laughed. The humor is subtle or outright in this book, it is laced with it.
Enzo is an old dog who has seen every aspect of life. In the beginning he peed on the floor, is trying to get up and tell Denny to let go, but Denny just picks him up and bathes him instead, throughout the book he tries to warn them or tell them something but he gets frustrated by his tongue that is keeping him from speaking. Overall, this book is love between dog and owner.
“The old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human. I loved this book,” says Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants. I agree, between humor, racing references, and the love between dog and owner I think you should go right now and find this book so you can read it.