Goodreads Synopsis: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man. A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.
I cut down the Goodreads synopsis because it was really long, but you can click on the book image to be taken to the Goodreads page and read the whole synopsis.
First: I love the dog’s name! This was an enjoyable read. My manager told me about it a while back and I added it to my to-read list, but never got around to it. When I was visiting my cousin about a month ago, I saw she had a copy and she said it was really good, so I borrowed it. I was not disappointed in it. However, I was surprised at the subject matter the “tough stuff” that was at the center of the novel. I was expecting a lighter read similar to A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron (which is one of my favorite books).
At times, I felt Enzo was too philosophical and not very dog-like, but some of his observations were pretty funny. And some observations were funny because they were true (his description when owners have to pick up their dog’s poop, for example).
Admission time: After reading the first chapter and knowing Enzo was on his way out, I went to the end of the book to read the last chapter (before I was emotionally invested in the characters), thinking that one of two things would happen when I really got to the end: 1. I could skip it ’cause I already read it, or 2. I wouldn’t be emotional because I already read it. Of course I did read it when I got to the end and of course I did tear up over it! So that was a big fail for me. Ha! (by the way, I’ve never done that before!)
It took me a little while to get into it, I must admit, but once I got settled with it, it was good. I think I was comparing it to A Dog’s Purpose too much and once I let that go, I could enjoy it more. There were lots of comparisons between life and racing (obviously!), which didn’t really mean anything for me since I’m not interested in racing but I understood the comparisons/parallels so it worked.