Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain~

I wanted to love this book. I knew I would love this book, so why didn't I love this book? I had been waiting to read the highly acclaimed The Art of Racing in the Rain for over a year now, and I decided that it was going to be my Winter break read. Choosing my Winter break read is a very serious decision. I only get to read maybe one or two books throughout the year that are not predetermined for me by one of my wonderful English professors, so I choose a book written entirely from the perspective of a dog. How could I choose anything more perfect for the dog loving person that I am? I couldn't. It is true that the story's main character, Enzo the dog, is perfectly enduring if not overwhelmingly so, and the story itself is touching in the way all stories like this are. The story, about a young couple, her battle with cancer, the ensuing custody battle between the husband and the maternal grandparents over custody of the daughter is one we've heard before, many times. But this time it is told by the family dog, who has quirky encounters with demons disguised as stuffed animals and an obsession with the Discovery Channel. Enzo and his owner, Denny, also have a shared passion for auto racing. Enzo is convinced he is on the verge of becoming a human in his next life and that is why he is able to give such a human-like depiction of his family's circumstances. Unfortunately for the reader, we are always aware that real dogs most often do not behave or rationalize the way that Enzo does. The book presents a cliched human situation through the eyes of a dog with acute human-like qualities. The story could have been equally told through the eyes of the young daughter Zoe and there would have been little difference in the voice or point of view. The only character throughout the book that I truly cared about was Enzo, and we are told at the beginning of the book that he is dying so the conclusion of the story comes with little revelation and emotion, but certainly a significant amount of disappointment.

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