Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Art of Racing in the Rain Book Review

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a heartwarming story written from a pet dog's viewpoint. Enzo's master Dennis, whom he adores, is a race car driver who demonstrates his mastery of the sport in his life off the track, too.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

"Your car goes where your eyes go," says Dennis in a conversation, with Enzo listening in. "No race has ever been won in the first corner," he adds, "but many have been lost there." Enzo observes that Dennis is emotionally intelligent and in control of himself despite the pressures of making decisions at high-speeds. When Dennis has victory within his grasp in an important race but loses because another driver has rammed into his wheels, he only blames himself.

"Getting angry at another driver for a driving incident is pointless," Dennis says. "You need to watch the drivers around you, understand their skill, confidence, and aggression levels, and drive with them accordingly." Dennis believes that any problems he encounters on the track are ultimately caused by himself because he is responsible for where he is and for what he is doing. Thus Dennis takes responsibility for his devastating loss because of his vulnerable position to a lesser experienced driver, and then he emotionally moves on.

Dennis faces obstacles of many kinds beyond the dangers of his career, like his wife's cancer, resentful in-laws and the custody battle over his daughter. He maintains his wits to survive and conquer based on the skills he's acquired from high-speed racing. Enzo is his faithful companion, frustrated because he can't speak human words to communicate his loyalty, love and friendship, but Dennis seems to know it anyway.

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Anyone who has observed their beloved pets uncannily communicate feelings through body language and facial expressions will relate to this novel. Enzo is a loyal and beloved companion many can identify with, and the lessons he's gleaned from Dennis are artfully passed on to the reader. The Art of Racing in the Rain would be an excellent choice of a book for teenage boys to read.

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