Plot Summary: 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. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.
I don’t usually review adult fiction, unless it’s also a crossover to YA. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is adult fiction, and it’s not a YA crossover, which means I wouldn’t ordinarily review it. But, in this case, I have to make an exception.
I checked this out from the library, but now I need to pick up my own copy from the bookstore. It is amazing, heart-wrenching, joyful, funny, and will leaving you sobbing with a pile of tissue, yet feeling elated at the same time.
A story told from an animal’s perspective is usually pegged as a children’s book – one that no one will want to read. But this is definitely not one of those stories. Enzo’s personality and wit come across clearly, as well as his doggie ways. I found myself cheering him on many times, even though I knew some of the things he was doing would never come from a real dog. But that didn’t matter. And, through him, we feel an immense amount of sympathy for his owner, Denny, and all the things this poor man goes through.
There is car racing sprinkled throughout the story, but you don’t need to be a racing fan to enjoy this book. Nor do you need to be a dog lover. It’s just a story about the parallels between human life and racing, told from the perspective of someone who isn’t human.
I rarely cry when I read books, and this book made me cry. In a very good way. I enjoyed it on multiple levels – as a daughter, spouse, parent, and explorer of life. If you are any of these things, you’ll enjoy it too.