Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Cliches abound in this family drama told from the perspective of the family dog.

"That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me." (151)

"...the race is long --- to finish first, first you must finish." (157)

"There is no dishonour in losing the race... There is only dishonour in not racing because you are afraid to lose." (211)

Cliches aside, the story was a heart-warming one, as any story about a man and his dog should be. From open to close you care about the family, and you care infinitely about Enzo, the dog.

Author Garth Stein and his dog
It's an interesting perspective to witness the trials and tribulations of a family through the eyes of their dog, always watching and learning, and never able to truly step in and share what he knows. It's very much like being the reader, knowing what you know, and unable to intervene.

Although the racing analogies became a bit tiresome, they served their purpose. Enzo used racing as one of his main sources of learning about humans and their lives. Entire brief chapters would be dedicated to a racing anecdote that related in some way to the happenings in the lives of Enzo's family. It was sometimes effective, but often a bit distracting. In the end, it didn't matter. I felt too much for the characters, especially Enzo, and his "master" Denny. As expected, tears were shed. I'm human afterall.

Recommendation: If you traditionally read with your dog at your feet and your NASCAR jacket near-at-hand this is a novel for you. Dog lovers will also likely enjoy it. It's a great take on a traditional type of family drama, so if you're looking to broaden your perspective, pick up this novel.

Up Next: The Next Always by Nora Roberts
You show me a Nora Roberts trilogy or series and I've probably already read it. Dream Trilogy, Chesapeake Bay Saga, Three Sisters Island Trilogy, In the Garden Trilogy, Key Trilogy, Bride Quartet... And now for Ms. Roberts' latest Trilogy, The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy. Book 1, The Next Always was released earlier this month, and begins the story of the Montgomery brothers and their mother who run and are renovating an historic hotel in Maryland. (Cue "Hallelujah" music: I loooove this setting!) The first book centres on Beckett (Roberts always gives her male characters great names), the architect of the family who is equal parts focussed on the renovation of the hotel and on the girl he's had his eye on since he was fifteen. The plot definitely fits the bill of a Roberts trilogy, which means I'm going to love it and will be finished in no time.


Sarah said...

I don't think I have read anything by Nora Roberts... May have to give one of her books a try!

We were driving to Blind River one day and we stopped in a used bookstore (I think in Webbwood?) and the Nora Roberts books were filed under N instead of R.

Amanda said...

Haha! I know the exact bookstore! I think it might be in Massey? That's an interesting cataloguing strategy though... Ha!

Sarah said...

It probably was in Massey! (I get a bunch of those little places mixed up!)