Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
# pages: 321
Date published: 2008
Genres: fiction


 (Highly recommended)

First sentence: 
"Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature."
What’s it about? The Art of Racing in the Rain is a story about family, love, and car racing from the family dog, Enzo's, perspective. Enzo has been with his master, Denny, since he was a puppy. He's learned to listen very closely to what the humans around him, and those on TV, say, even if he cannot speak to them in return. And, from his eyes, we watch as an emotionally battered Denny tries desperately to succeed in his chosen career and hold his family together at the same time.

Random thoughts: This is the second book I've read that is told from the dog's point of view. (The first was a mystery by Spencer Quinn called Dog On It.) And I've really enjoyed both of them. The Art of Racing in the Rain starts on the last night of Enzo's life, but don't let that put you off.  Although there are heart-wrenching parts (and I would recommend having tissues at the ready), I didn't find it to be depressing at all.

Favorite quote(s):
"Be it through intention or ignorance, our successs and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves." (p. 43)

"There is no dishonor in losing the rase," Don said. "There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose." (p. 277)

"A winner, a champion, will accept his fate. He will continue with his wheels in the dirt. He will do his best to maintain his line and gradually get himself back on the track when it is safe to do so. Yes, he loses a few places in the race. Yes, he is at a disadvantage. But he is still racing. He is still alive.
The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the others than it is to drive too hard and crash." (p. 291)

About the Author: Garth Stein, a former documentary film maker, was co-producer of the Academy Award-winning short film, The Lunch Date, and director of When Your Head's Not a Head, It's a Nut. He is the author of three novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other SecretsRaven Stole the Moon, and The Art of Racing in the Rain , and a play, Brother Jones. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Fun tidbits:

Recommended for: If you're and animal lover (not just a dog lover, but any animal) check out The Art of Racing in the Rain. It'll make you look at your furry housemates in a whole different light.

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