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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ? Send a noteboard - 13/10/2011 10:44:57 PM
I read this book recently and reviewed it for my high school newspaper...here is the review...enjoy! Or don't. Just read it.


Joyful in its language, creative in its narration, and affecting in its story, this is a terrific book.


-Seattle Times

Garth Stein, a documentary filmmaker and author of three novels and a play, published his novel The Art of Racing in the Rain in 2008 through Harper. It soon became a New York Times bestseller and was widely liked by critics across the country.

The storyline follows Denny Swift, his wife Eve, their daughter Zoë and most importantly their dog Enzo who actually narrates the story. It begins on the eve of Enzo’s death and, during the night, he thinks back on his life and all that had happened. It’s a depressing but, in the end, heart-warming story. Although the stress is a bit on the depressing side until the end.

Enzo describes how Eve came into his life where, before it had just been him and race-car-driver Denny. He also tells about Zoë and his mission to protect her forever. The tale takes a tragic turn when Eve is diagnosed with brain-cancer and ultimately dies in recovery. Denny then has to fight with his parents in law for custody of his own daughter and overcome obstacle then greater obstacle.

I have broken the book into four different categories in order to make this review easier to read. They are writing, plot, characters and originality.

Garth Stein is quite obviously a good writer. He took on a challenge, though, when he decided to tell the story from the point of view of the family dog. I was actually very impressed with how he pulled it off. He managed to tell the story in depth and detail while still retaining the bluntness that you would expect from a dog. Stein tells a story, as I have already said, that is quite depressing throughout the main bulk of the story, but Enzo made it funny in parts enough to keep the book enjoyable without ruining the feel. Therefore I give a 4.3 for writing.

Next is plot. The storyline of this book isn’t exactly the most exciting, or happy of storylines but it is pulled off quite well. It is funny, then sad. Uplifting, then philosophical. Throughout the whole book, Enzo relates how much driving a racecar is like life with little tidbits like, “The car goes where the eyes go,” that keep returning. Car racing has never been interesting to me, so I found these bits a little boring but it didn’t harm the over all story. Also, because it was coming from a dog, there were parts where we were never exactly sure what happened. Dogs aren’t allowed in hospitals or courts so Enzo couldn’t tell us about it. I liked these bits of uncertainty, not only did it keep the book believable, but it helped build suspense. Overall, I think the plot was decent and the writing and originality of it all made everything better. A 3.5 for plot.

Characters. What I liked about character and character development in this book was that everyone was described as a dog would see them. It made for amusing moments. The main characters were also likeable without being perfect. Denny, the kind dog owner who doesn’t deserve anything of what happens to him. Poor Eve and cute Zoë. And Enzo, of course. The dog who is ready to die so he can be reincarnated as a man, but can only die once he has done his job. You find yourself liking them all and disliking Eve’s parents just because Enzo does. I give a 3.5.

The last category is originality. In a summary, the story doesn’t seem that original, a man and his dog, life and love. But it is told in the point of view of a dog. The point of view of a dog. Has that ever been done before? And it isn’t only that. While the basic storyline isn’t exactly the most original, there are side branches that are so original it makes the whole story different. I give a 4.5 for originality and I think it deserves the high score.

The average of those scores is 3.95 assuming I did the math correctly. I think it is a fair rating. Five stars would be amazing, four is great, three is okay, two is between okay and terrible and one star would be terrible. So 3.95, almost a four, is accurate.

I would definitely recommend this book to any dog lovers or any readers for that matter.
Oh and my username is what it is because I couldn't think of a better username...I'm not trying to be obnoxious.

Cancer never fights fair. Rest in peace Mrs. Cohen, you will be missed.
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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - 13/10/2011 10:44:57 PM 5752 Views
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