Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein

I've been writing lately--or trying to (all I have are lots and lots of notes), so I haven't made any posts in a long time. I have, however, done a lot of reading.

I was recommended this book by the other members of my writer's group. It is a very astute commentary on the human experience. The story is told in first person, from the point of view of a dog named Enzo. The title of the book comes from one of the other main characters, Denny, who is Enzo's owner and is a race car driver.

Did I finish the book? It was a pretty fast read. There were times when I was so mad at Denny's in-laws (I won't spoil it for you) I literally refused to put the book down.

Would I read a sequel? Half-star. Books like this don't tend to do well in sequel form. I would only be marginally interested. Also I'm not really a dog person.

Was the writing good? What I liked most was the author's insights, although I could have done with a few less F-bombs, or the frank manner in which sex was described? BTW, who can stand to have their pet in the same room when they're--er, never mind. TMI! One star. I would love to be able to write like this. Very nicely done.

I also love the references to the Seattle area. I lived there for six years and loved it (wife hated it though, and so eventually we had to move).

Was the story idea interesting? You know, a concept like this (i.e., a story told from a dog's point of view) can either be very, very good, or very, very bad. One star.

Was the ending satisfying? Absolutely. You know, I gotta point out that Denny was a real hero in the story. He had faults and bouts of temper and lapses of judgement, but when faced with some of the overwhelming adversity he displayed an inner strength of character that was stunning and noble. Full star for that.

Final verdict: 4.5

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