Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bookshelf: Garth Stein



*****

A few months ago my coworker handed me her library copy of "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and told me I had one week to read it before it was due back at the library. She said it was about a dog and a family and racecars and that I would love it. My immediate reaction? Not interested. But she insisted and so I opened it up and began reading, with a little apprehension. Two days later I was done and so glad that I hadn't been closed-minded.
I'm just going to put it out there - I thought the book was absolutely fantastic. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" is unique from the perspective of the dog, Enzo. I can't recall ever having read a book from an animal's perspective but it was a welcome change from the usual books I read. There's something so organic and simple about Enzo and the way he views the world. Human drama of course finds its way into Enzo's world but from a dog's perspective everything is different and often difficult to comprehend. Stein did a fantastic job of conveying the human story while at the same time showing it only from the four-legged viewpoint. Nothing is lost in the translation though and you end up just as enthralled in the human world as the canine one. And, oddly enough, the racecar threads didn't turn me off. I've never been one to follow Nascar, although I will say that Carl Edwards is quite easy on the eyes, but I loved how racecars were something that both human and canine bonded over. Without giving too much away, my favorite scene is one in which Enzo gets to finally experience what his best friend was always lucky enough to take part in - the rush of rubber on pavement at incredible speeds.
I'm not going to lie and say I didn't cry because I did. But that's really no surprise coming from me. It wasn't that it was a sad ending though, it was more about the experience as a whole and what the family goes through during the life of a dog. It's about love and tribulations and endurance for the sake of family. This isn't a book strictly for animal lovers. Far from it, in fact. There are elements that touch upon anyone's life, whether it's falling in love, starting a family, dealing with loss or struggling with all life can throw at you.
I can't say enough good things about Garth Stein because I'm just in awe of him. If you're looking for a different kind of read, something out of your norm then I highly recommend you pick up "The Art of Racing in the Rain". It's a super quick read and you won't regret it. I promise.

xoxo
~Stephanie
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