Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


While doing chores and running errands this weekend, I had a chance to read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. As a dog owner and lover I was simultaneously excited and wary of another book about a dog where the dog inevitably the dog dies at the end. But I set aside my trepidation and dove in, and was rewarded tremendously for doing so! The book is narrated by a dog, Enzo, as he chronicles the life of his beloved owner Denny. But it is about so much more than the relationship between a man and his dog. It's about the pain of cancer and death, the different ways we grieve, and ultimately focuses on how bad things happen to good people. It's about making the hardest right decisions, about being the bigger person, all told through the lens of racing (yes, car racing) by the canine narrator. And it made me feel so strongly. I had such visceral reactions to the events of the book, and realized that was part of what made it so good. The characters were so compelling, the events so relatable, I found my blood boiling at points, experienced jubilation and depression and grief right alongside the characters. So much malice! So much hope! The role of the dog as narrator doesn't even really stand out in hindsight, as it's completely eclipsed by the richness of the rest of the novel.

Anyway, if you couldn't tell, I loved the book and would highly recommend it. I'll admit it starts out a little slow, but try to power through at least 1/3 of it before giving up entirely (it's a short read). It made my rainy Sunday fly by, and is appropriately the perfect rainy-weekend companion :)