The art of racing in the rain is definitely one of the most unconventional love stories that I’ve read in a long time. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, because this is absolutely the love story between a man and his dog.
Never in all my 26 years has a book made me choke back tears on the train as many times as this one. I have to start this review with the disclaimer that everyone who saw that I was reading it (because I, obviously, shared that information on the Internet) gave it a raving review. “That book is amazing!” “OMG, you’re going to love it!” Those were just some of the comments, so I did open the book with some high hopes already instilled in me. Though I do think that Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain is a pleasurable read, I don’t know that I’ll add it to my list of favorite books of all time. Let me explain.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is what I would call “beach fiction.” It’s a great, quick summer read that makes you feel things and hug your dog a little tighter. Or cat, if you’re more into the feline persuasion. Although, I very much enjoyed reading the novel, I couldn’t help but feel rushed along towards what I thought would be a climax. The characters never really developed either, which I suppose is to be expected when reading from the point of view of a dog.
The unique main character voice is definitely what saves The Art of Racing in the Rain. Enzo brings to life the characters and we only know the world through his eyes. Therefore it makes sense that the wife, Eve, is a little underdeveloped as she keeps her distance from him, and that Denny is seen as an undefeatable, unwavering example of what is good because he’s Enzo’s owner, best friend, and whole world. But Enzo’s own development is stagnant throughout, which can be expected when your taking about a dog, but I was hoping for a little more growth as I read along. There is definitely a building of love and attachment, but Enzo fails to learn from his human counterparts.
For its rushed plot and flat characters, The Art of Racing in the Rain is still an incredibly charming and original story. It forces you to consider the problems we live with and how we deal with them. Denny’s strength and determination, and Enzo’s belief in that strength, are what keep the novel moving. It’s hard to tell whether Denny’s determination are inherent or whether he gets nudged along by Enzo’s loyalty, but the point is clear When it comes to discussing which species in the animal kingdom is the most loyal: humans 0; dogs 1.
Even though I probably wouldn’t pick up the book again myself, I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light read with tear jerking qualities. The Art of Racing in the Rain has all that, a cute plot, and the most heartwarming dog. Give it a shot!