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Just as I was saying that I preferred non-fiction to fiction, The Art of Racing the Rain (“ARR”) is making me eat my words!  ARR is narrated by Enzo, a wise dog with, on the circle of reincarnation, a soul that is almost human.  By the way, that is Enzo’s opinion of himself, based on a documentary on Mongolia that he watched – it said that when a dog finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man.  ARR begins with Enzo at the end of his life confident that he will be a human soon – we know right away what Enzo’s fate is.  But what is it about Enzo that makes him so certain about his rebirth?

The plot, which largely revolves around events in his owner’s (Denny) life, is not nuanced and, at times, can feel slightly contrived.  But the book succeeds because the plot is merely a vehicle; along side the plot are Enzo’s delightfully perceptive, compassionate and funny insights and thoughts about life and the human condition. By the end of the book, I was convinced Enzo would be reincarnated as human too. Why? Because Enzo embodies the person that I want to be – loyal, compassionate, wise, forgiving, loving.  Enzo warmed my heart, made me laugh and cry and renewed my faith in karma and the Golden Rule.  ARR is a delightful novel – highly recommended!

(I’m no expert on reincarnation, so I am in no way implying that humans are “higher” or “lower” than dogs, what the mechanics of reincarnation are, etc…  If you know, please feel free to comment and let me know.)

A few weeks ago, K and I went to dinner at the home of R and V, K’s fellow board members at TakingItGlobal.  I totally fell in love with their giant and loving poodle, Enzo, whom R and V said was named after a dog in a book.  Less than I week later, I picked up ARR, without realizing this was the book they were referring to.  I put two and two together within the first few lines of the book.  Must have been fate!

Enzo the dog

Me with Enzo

7 thoughts on “Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

  1. Hi “Wabibito” – great review of “The Art of Racing in the Rain”. As the “R and V” referred to in your blog post, I can confirm what you had already deduced… that we were inspired by “ARR Enzo” as much as you were. And when we decided to name our young poodle pup “Enzo”, it was becuase we hoped he’d become as important to our family as ARR Enzo was to Denny and his family in the book. Now that “our” Enzo has spent more than 2 years in our home, we can happily confirm, that is very much the case!
    — “R and V”

  2. Pingback: Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain | Author Brenda Sedore

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