Tuesday, July 31, 2012

289 (2012 #34). The Art of Racing in the Rain

by Garth Stein, 
read by Christopher Evan Welch

When my local book club made this selection, at first I thought - meh.  I'm not an animal lover (don't hate 'em, just don't love 'em), and I'm not a fan of racing.  The narrator of this book is a dog, and the story is about the dog's owner, a struggling race car driver.

However, this book really grew on me as I listened to it.  It helped that the audiobook narrator, actor Christopher Evan Welch, as well as author Garth Stein, must have been dogs in previous lives,* because I began to believe the narrator, Enzo the dog, was speaking to me!

(* This is a riff on Enzo's belief in reincarnation, and that he will be a human in his next life.)

I suppose another reason I really liked the book was because part of the storyline really hit close to home.  Like Denny, Enzo's owner, I also faced a custody battle full of false accusations (luckily, in my case, criminal behavior was not involved, and my battle ran 18 months rather than three years).  I had a lot of empathy for Denny's situation, especially the way the custody battle was dragged out to put Denny in economic hardship.

It also helped that the book was set in Seattle, where I lived for 21 years, with scenes (Stein is also a filmmaker) in various locales that were familiar to me.  Finally, I really enjoyed some of the interesting life philosophy that came out of racing observations and the musings and wisdom of a canine - "Enzoisms" like "The car goes where the eyes go" and "That which you manifest is before you."

I think this book would be enjoyed by all-male and mixed book discussion groups, as well as an all-women group like mine.

© Amanda Pape - 2012

[This audiobook was borrowed from and returned to my university library.  A print copy for reference was borrowed and returned through interlibrary loan.]

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