Am I crying–over a dog book?

Carol Luers EymanFirst, I should tell you that I’m not a dog person.

Also, auto racing is not my thing.

Which explains why I had avoided The Art of Racing in the Rain, a best-selling novel about Enzo, a lab/terrier mix, and Denny, his endurance-auto-racing owner, since it came out in 2008.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is available from the library in hardcover, CD audiobook, and downloadable audiobook.

Which does not explain why, in 2015, I found myself racing through this story, narrated by Enzo with the diction of a British butler, and holding back tears toward the end.

That reaction I must credit to the clever writing of Garth Stein.

Enzo chronicles his master Denny’s life, from his time as a single guy working as an auto mechanic through courtship, marriage, and parenthood, intertwined with attempts to achieve his dreams of success in endurance auto racing.

Stein manages to insert humor into what is overall a sad story: Enzo rants to us about his inability to control his large, floppy tongue enough to speak. He dreams of what he’d do if he only had an opposable thumb.

Enzo believes he will come back in another life as a human. Yet being a canine gives him a prescience that his human family lacks. Around Eve, Denny’s wife, Enzo is able to sense a tragedy in the wings:

“I had detected a bad odor, like rotting wood, mushrooms, decay….It came from her ears and her sinuses. There was something inside Eve’s head that didn’t belong.

“Given a facile tongue, I could have warned them. I could have alerted them to her condition long before they discovered it with their machines…”

How could I not shed my indifference to canines?

As for the auto racing scenes, while they never had me packing my bags for Daytona, they illustrated Denny’s philosophies of life, which carried him through a struggle with Eve’s parents over the welfare of his daughter.

The family conflict in this book reminded me of the plot of A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard. If in spite of my words of praise for The Art of Racing in the Rain you still can’t get yourself to pick up a dog book, try that one instead.

 

 

 

 

 

About Carol Luers Eyman

Carol Luers Eyman is the outreach and community services coordinator at the Nashua Public Library. After graduating from Kirkland College, she earned a master’s of education and a certificate in technical communication from the University of Massachusetts.

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