So I have just finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and I wanted to write a review on how much I enjoyed it, I finished this book in 5 days which is a current personal best for me and I was able to engage with it straight away.
The book follows the life of the Swift family but it told through the perspective of Enzo the dog, in the book there are many racing metaphors used to describe the harsh twists and turns of life. This book tells the story of how the Swift family falls apart and is put back together again through the help of Enzo who offers his own input in as many ways as he possibly can even though he is very quick to mention that he cannot verbally communicate with Denny his owner.
Now there may be some spoilers up ahead so if you would like to read this book then I would advise that you don’t read this post any further.
Okay so first of all this book just warn you within the first chapter that you will possibly cry and you can guess quite a few things that are going to happen within the story. First of all Enzo’s relationship towards Eve and Zoe is mentioned and we can immediately tell that he cared for them, if not straight away but over time. His relationship with Eve starts bitter-sweet but once he realises that Denny loves her then he is able to let her in to his life, the initial rejection that Enzo puts Eve through makes him seem human and we learn to trust and care for Enzo’s thoughts and feelings. This feeling of sympathy and empathy is further developed when Enzo mentions that he has no other way to communicate with people other than with gestures. We read Enzo’s thoughts and his feeling of helplessness creates a raw and emotional tone to the book.
Because the book is written from Enzo’s perspective we also feel helpless in wanting to help Denny and his family but we can’t change anything for him, this means that when things finally start to resolve we feel an immense sense of relief for Denny and also for Enzo as it is his family that is being affected, especially as he gets in to his old age and descries how he feels helpless and needs more assistance. It is also Enzo’s aging that upsets the reader because he is the sign of innocence and positivity and as he ages and starts to waste away, there is less happiness in Denny’s life; especially when he needs it most.
When Denny’s life begins to break down due to the death of his wife and the court case against him, Enzo starts to form his own opinions on Eve’s parents and he starts to misbehave in order to hopefully move Zoe from the grandparents. In this part we are able to side with Enzo, especially because we had gotten used to him being a human-like and for him to then act like a dog again it was a surprise.
The last chapter of the book allows us to see Denny with Zoe in Italy where Denny is finally racing cars for Luca, a man approaches him with a son who is described just as Enzo, this chapter is not long and does not explicitly state that the boy is Enzo as a human, but it is such a nice thought that our minds can’t help but believe it.
I would completely and utterly recommend this book to people whether they love dogs or not and whether they like racing or not. It was clearly created with love and deep thought and the plot is in no way boring. I also recommend this book because it makes you think, do dogs really have these internal monologues? Is this belief of reincarnation possible? It may seem preposterous but this book has really affected me, I laughed and cried whilst reading it so I recommend it to anyone.