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Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

May 16, 2009

the art of racing in the rain

When Denny Swift, an aspiring race car driver,  decided to adopt a dog, he came home with a mixed breed he named Enzo. Denny and Enzo loved being together – going for walks and watching races on TV.   When Eve first came into Denny’s life, Enzo resented the attention Denny paid her.  Once Eve and Denny were married, Enzo came to love her, even though his first allegiance was to Denny.  Eve and Denny had a baby girl, Zöe who Enzo adored too.

Eve started having some health problems, but refused to go to the doctor.  One day, the family was on an outing and Eve fell and hit her head.  Denny insisted on taking her to the hospital and the doctors discovered that Eve had brain cancer.

Eve spent weeks in the hospital and when it was time for her to be released, her parents convinced Denny that she would be better off recovering in their home, since they would be available to care for her full time.  They also convinced him that Zöe should stay with them so that she would be able to spend time with her mother.

Upon Eve’s death, her parents tried to induce Denny into giving them custody of Zöe, saying she would be better off in a financially secure home with two parents.  They told him that Eve had told them that’s what she wanted.  When Denny refused, they got a young relative to charge him with sexual assault.  In the midst of his grief, Denny has to decide if he should cave into their demands or if he should fight for his rights.

I adored The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, even though it made me cry at the end.  The Swift family’s story is told through the eyes of Enzo, their dog.  This really appealed to me since we know that our dog can think and we often wonder what she thinks of some of the things that we do.  I found myself rooting for Denny and despising Eve’s parents.  I felt so bad for poor little Zöe since she was caught in the middle so shortly after the death of her mother.  Part of the reason I loved this book so much was that Enzo reminded me of our dog.  (As far as we know, our dog doesn’t enjoy watching races, though – she prefers shows with animals in them.)  I also enjoyed the way the author compared life’s struggles to race car driving.  I do think The Art of Racing in the Rain would appeal to non-animal lovers as well because it has such a great plot.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.

46 Comments leave one →
  1. Kaye permalink
    May 16, 2009 6:27 am

    I just loved Enzo! This is such a great book. It really does run the gamut of emotions, that’s for sure. A great read! Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

  2. May 16, 2009 6:47 am

    You made me go and check my stack to see if I had this, but I have The Dogs of Babel. I love stories about animals so the sound of this one really appeals to me. Sounds like I will need a box of tissue if I do read it.

  3. May 16, 2009 6:49 am

    Another one added to my wish list! Great review.

  4. May 16, 2009 7:10 am

    I often wondered what this book was about. Your review was great – looks like one to throw on the TBR pile.

  5. May 16, 2009 7:13 am

    I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while. Thanks for the review!

  6. May 16, 2009 7:15 am

    I’m not even a dog fan and I just loved Enzo. Your review is terrific!

  7. May 16, 2009 8:46 am

    Thanks for the review. It does seem like a good book. I gonna check it out. That means add to my TBR pile!


  8. May 16, 2009 9:21 am

    I keep looking at this one to read. But you can tell it’s a kleenex-box book so I’ve been trying to steel myself for it!

  9. stacybuckeye permalink
    May 16, 2009 9:39 am

    Enzo sounds like my kind of dog! Since you mentioned the tissues I’ll have to think about it. Just from your review I’m already mad a Eve’s parents.

  10. Melanie permalink
    May 16, 2009 9:48 am

    I have this book but haven’t read it yet. It is on my neverending list of books to read:)

  11. May 16, 2009 10:50 am

    This book sounds wonderful from your review! I think I’ll have to add it to my wishlist.

  12. May 16, 2009 11:29 am

    I’ve been thinking of reading this book for a while. I understand the audio is fantastic. Great review — you’ve convinced me to watch for it at the library.

  13. May 16, 2009 11:31 am

    Great review! This book has been on my wishlist since the ARCs were being handed out. Your review makes me want to read it even more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

  14. May 16, 2009 11:33 am

    Glad to hear that you liked this book!

  15. May 16, 2009 11:37 am

    I really enjoyed this one too. I shared some of the book with my husband – the parts where Enzo is philosophic. My husband and I had to laugh because our dog is totally the opposite of Enzo – more of a Marley.

  16. May 16, 2009 11:45 am

    I just know I couldn’t get through this without being super depressed so I’ve avoided picking it up. I’m glad you liked it so much though!

  17. May 16, 2009 12:26 pm

    I have had this book on my TBR pile from the time it just got published but I have yet to read it. My eyes landed on it several times and I have no idea why I felt any reservation about actually reading it. I will have to get to it soon. Hopefully it will be among my ‘read books’ of 2009.

  18. May 16, 2009 12:32 pm

    I thought this book was great as well. The author has a Twitter account that is pretty interesting as well.

  19. May 16, 2009 12:55 pm

    I loved this book, too! I read quite a few parts out to my husband (who is a car guy) and I rarely do that with any of the books I read.

  20. May 16, 2009 1:13 pm

    I can’t wait to read this one. I had the audio checked out from the library but had to turn it back in. I see this book is coming out in paper back soon… or recently. Thanks for the review.

  21. May 16, 2009 1:38 pm

    I really liked this book! I read it last year and considered it one of my top reads. 🙂

  22. May 16, 2009 2:22 pm

    Thrilled to read your review, I am so glad you enjoyed it. It was a tearjerker but so worth reading!

  23. May 16, 2009 3:17 pm

    I have this picture of my dog in my car that looks just like the cover. Check it out on my review. It cracks me up!

  24. May 16, 2009 3:25 pm

    I keep waffling on whether I want to read this one (too sad, and the idea of the dog telling the story puts me off), but everyone seems to love it and I love the cover. So, maybe…

  25. May 16, 2009 5:05 pm

    Why are dog stories always tear-jerkers? I think I’ll avoid this one for now, although I’m glad you liked it and maybe I’ll get to it, some day!

  26. May 16, 2009 8:12 pm

    I can’t wait to read this book now!! It’s on my list for a must-read during the summer!

  27. May 16, 2009 10:33 pm

    Ever since I saw this in Starbucks a couple of months ago I’ve wanted to read it. Thanks for the great review!!

  28. May 17, 2009 11:03 am

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of picking this book up. I may see about getting the audio at the library.

  29. May 17, 2009 12:21 pm

    Dog stories always get me. I’ve seen this book around, but really didn’t know what it was all about. On my list now!

  30. May 17, 2009 12:39 pm

    I still haven’t read this yet. I have to soon.

  31. May 17, 2009 1:37 pm

    This does sound like such a wonderful book. One of my book club members recently won this so I just may have to mo0ch it from her soon.

  32. May 17, 2009 5:21 pm

    I loved this book and I loved Enzo and you did a great job with this review.

  33. May 17, 2009 11:27 pm

    I thought I responded to this post already but I guess not. My mind is going!

    This book has been on my list ever since it came out. It needs to be moved to the top of my pile so that I do not forget about it this time.

  34. May 18, 2009 9:54 am

    This is my favorite book so far this year. Even though I cried a lot, I loved the ending! and I think Denny deserved such a wonderful dog as Enzo, don’t you?

  35. Carol permalink
    May 18, 2009 10:35 am

    Sounds like a tough book, a little too emotional for me right now.

  36. May 18, 2009 11:54 am

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book. It sounds like a very emotional read.


  37. May 18, 2009 4:26 pm

    This is one of my favorite animal type books. I really enjoyed how it was narrated by Enzo, it really helped look at a family and their problems from a whole new perspective. It did make me sob, but it was totally worth the tears.

  38. May 18, 2009 10:53 pm

    You’re not alone…I bawled at the end, and I don’t even consider myself a dog person.

  39. May 19, 2009 12:11 am

    Wow, what an interesting plot. And told through the eyes of the dog? Awesome. I just lost my dad to cancer and I can’t imagine having had to lose a parent as a child. It breaks my heart and it is only fiction! And to put all of that stress on Denny is just awful. I despise her parents and I haven’t even read it yet!

  40. May 19, 2009 10:15 am

    this sounds like a heart-wrenching read for a dog lover like me…but I think I’ll have to give it a try some day.

  41. May 19, 2009 11:33 am

    I love love love love this book! And Enzo is the best. I got a puppy shortly after reading this book, and now I catch myself wondering if I should leave the TV on for her while I’m gone. Just so she can learn about reincarnation.

  42. May 19, 2009 8:11 pm

    This was one of my favorite books last year. It made me cry too.

  43. May 19, 2009 11:48 pm

    I really want to read this one. Thanks for the review!

  44. June 5, 2009 5:25 pm

    I knew you’d love this book! I devoured it when it first came out. It made me cry, too, but it was soooo good. I’m glad you finally got a chance to read it.

  45. hamid permalink
    December 6, 2009 6:32 pm

    i really do loved the book ! it’s really amazing i ended up looking at my dog and wondering about what he’s thinking of !! LOL

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