Just finished The Art of Racing in the Rain last night, and considering all I have on my plate at the moment, the fact that I couldn't put it down all week (I actually sacrificed sleep in order to read it) ought to say something! Loved, loved, loved this book! Order a copy -- seriously. Whoever you are, this book will appeal to you. I'm not a huge race car driving fan and although I adore my two pups, dogs aren't exactly a major preoccupation for me... and yet, this book captured me from the first page.
It's a tale told by a dog, signifying everything! Loveable Enzo (the dog) has observed life from his lowly station and has a remarkable number of insights into how and why we behave as we do. Using race car driving as an extended metaphor, Enzo points out how the vagaries of speed, conditions and foresight help or hinder us and how patience and focus help us through even the hardest twists and turns of fate. I really enjoyed this book and hated to see it come to an end... It's been awhile since I've experienced that.
The premise is simple, Enzo believes that dogs who are "ready," those who have the ability to understand and appreciate nuance and philosophy, can be reincarnated into humans. He strives to learn and grow through first hand observations of the humans that surround him and a cable TV addiction that expands his horizons beyond hearth and home. I don't want to give too much away, but early on we find out that "Enzo the dog" knows things his master, Denny, does not. It frustrates him that, without the ability to speak, he can't warn Denny and give him the information and advice that might prevent catastrophe. I won't go far into the plot because I really don't want to make this into a spoiler, but know that the story itself will break your heart. Framing things through Enzo's eyes provides a marvelously unique perspective. The situations and details were very well-drawn and I found myself feeling very connected to the main character. His determination to fight for his rights in the face of extremely tragic circumstances was inspiring and I'm not usually big on "inspiring."
When I fed my own dogs (Curly & Spicy) this morning, I couldn't help wondering what they were thinking J. I can pretty much guarantee that after reading this novel, you'll never look at your own pups in quite the same way either.
This would make a fantastic book club pick -- sheesh, I miss my old book club! Below is a clip of the author describing how he got the idea for the novel: definitely worth a look!