Stein, Garth, (c. 2008). The Art of Racing in the Rain. Harper Audio. 6 CD’s (7 hours) , $34.95. Read by Christopher Evan Welch.
Narrated by the family dog, Enzo looks back on his life with Denny, the aspiring race car driver and the lengths to which Enzo goes to protect their family.
Enzo has the soul of a human but is stuck with the paws of a dog. He would much rather have the ever-so-useful opposable thumbs so that he could be more helpful to his family. On the eve of his death, Enzo reflects back on the life that he has led with Denny; from the day Denny chose him from the large litter and brought him back to the apartment in Seattle to the the past few days leading up to this moment. It has been an exciting life with Denny’s race car driving career, his beautiful wife and their wonderful child. But when tragedy hits, Enzo knows that it is up to him to keep the family together and ultimately protect Denny from those that want to do him wrong.
Stein skillfully brings to life each character with insights that only a dog could have. It is a beautifully written story about family, devotion and the willpower needed to do the right thing. And although the subject can be difficult and frustrating, Welch’s voice is perfect for personifying Enzo who is restricted by doing more because of his inability to speak and grab things. Humorous, insightful, tragic and restorative, this book is a wonderful read/listen showing the magical relationship between a man and his dog while life races along as ever-increasing speeds.
Booklist Editor’s Choice – Adult Fiction for Young Adults – 2008
Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Book Discussion Questions:
What is “the art of racing in the rain”?
Using a dog as the narrator puts a unique spin on the story? What would have been some of the major changes if the narrator had been a human? And which human would have had the most unique perspective?
“No race has ever been won on the first corner; many races have been lost there.” How does this observation carry through the story?
Did you learn more about race car driving from this book? Do you agree with the parallels set forth between racing and living?
Do you look at your dog (or other dogs) differently after reading the book?
What exactly does the Zebra represent?
Reasons for selection:
At Sacramento Public Library, most librarians have “What I’m reading now” as part of their email signature. This book came up on a message from one of the Branch Supervisors and as a dog lover, I was immediately intrigued. She explained that they had just read it for their monthly Book Club and all members unanimously loved it. With that, I picked it up.