You know that guy who comes up to you when you re having a bad day and says something like, just think positive thoughts and good things will happen as if it were really that simple As if the spirit of Karma or whatever is patiently waiting around for you to will happiness upon yourself so that it can be befittingly bestowed Yeah, well fuck that guy Bad things happen all the time to people who don t deserve it, regardless of whether or not they are in touch with their positive energies Similarly, people who are jerks are at no greater risk of having a safe fall on their heads while they walk down the sidewalk than anybody else is Not in the real world, anyway.Apparently this book does not take place in the real world.By now, I think it is pretty much known that this book is written from the perspective of a dog While this may be a turnoff for a lot of people, it is not what ruined it for me I can be very open to unconventional styles of storytelling No, what ruined it for me is the fact that the entire thing is horribly botched.First of all, when you are a writer and you choose to narrate your tale through the eyes and ears of man s best friend, you need to adhere to your own limitations If your story involves any kind of tromping through courthouses, police stations, or hospitals, YOU CANNOT GO THERE Nor can you give your canine narrator ESP or amazing powers of deductive reasoning, either, as compensation That is cheating.Second, please don t be smarmy You are already asking your reader to suspend his convictions enough to buy into this whole concept of a dog harnessing a human soul please do not expect him to swallow that your dog is also an earthy crunchy environmentalist with a belief in the law of attraction and a distrust of the medical community to boot, because that is just asking too much When you do that, you expose yourself as a fraud trying to push your own agenda onto the reader through your characters Again, cheating And as an aside, I can assure you that doctors and drug companies are not sitting around boardroom tables scheming over how to swindle sick people out of all their money How ridiculous Putting all this aside, the book still fails on so many other levels Its characters are hollow shells, driven by motivations I could in no way relate to This, in turn, translates to an exceedingly weak plot in which events occur unnaturally, giving the entire novel a contrived quality It also tries constantly to draw analogies to race car driving, which comes off sounding rather pathetic And its ending actually nauseated me Truly, I am at a loss to explain the popularity of The Art of Racing in the Rain, because really This book is for the dogs. I m shockedshocked, by how much I loved this book.The narrator is a dog.There is much mentioning of racing Formula One, NASCAR, Indy.and the narrator is a dog But I think I mentioned that already.I liked this book so much that it made me want a dog No, it made me want this dog And I don t even like dogs.Enzo, a terrier lab mutt, believes in his next life he will be human As he feels practically human already, just limited to grand gestures due to his loose muscled tongue and lack of opposable thumbs, he spends his dog years closely watching his ownder, Denny Swift, to learn the art of being human so that when it s his turn, he ll have a head start.Denny, a race car driver mechanic down on his luck dad is a kind owner who loves his dog and uses racing philosophies in his own life There are many to choose from, but my favorite is, No race has ever been won in the first corner many have been lost there Denny s own story is one of work, patience, courage, endurance, hope, and love It s not an easy story to read There are times I felt like throwing the book I was so mad at Denny s in laws, but kind of embarrassing to admit here , Enzo kept me sane I just loved that dog Just when I d about had it, he d make me laugh and I could manage another chapter.Enzo dies in the end It s not a secret From the opening pages, you are reading the words of a dying dog But that didn t take away my sadness in the end I bawled when Denny held his beloved friend in his arms and says, It s okay You can go Think Where The Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller only for adults There is some mentioning of mounting it s a dog s perspective, remember and language.Several times throughout the book, Denny or Enzo say, Your car goes where your eyes go Enzo knew that applied to life as well Your life goes where your eyes go I m happy my eyes rested on this book. If you have yet to read this wonderful novel, do yourself a favor and do so It s original and captivating, and I simply adored Enzo the narrator who also happens to be a dog It tells the story of a particular family, with twists and turns that keep the pages turning It s a perfect read for a rainy afternoon or while laying in bed, the kind of novel that you ll remember long after you ve finished. That beginning whew nearly shorted out my kindle with the tears If you re like me avoiding sad books like the plague , you ll feel the urge to abandon this book after Chapter 1 Don t do that There is an absolutely beautiful story that has to be told and don t worry, the ending is not as sad as the beginning implies I ve always felt almost human I ve always known that there s something about me that s different than other dogs Enzo belongs to Denny and Eve and Zoe, but mostly Denny He loves car rides, treats and his stuffed dog BUT Enzo is a peculiar sort of dog He understands English, the finer points of racing and the emotional needs of his humans But he s trapped in a dog s body no thumbs and no talking and he is in anguish when his humans are hurting But this has led to one supremely useful skill As he says, Learn to listen I beg of you Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories This book is all about listening what can be learned and gleaned if only people spent their lives as dogs do When Eve gets sick, when Zoe is snatched by her grandparents and when his beloved Denny about to truly give up, only Enzo is able to listen But how can Enzo help them when he s trapped in a dog s body I know this much about racing in the rain I know it is about balance It is about anticipation and patienceIt is about believing that you are not you you are everything And everything is you This was a truly excellent book the writing, the plot, the characters all just stunning This is one of those books that everyone should read once it has such a solid story and that ending oh that ending was just what I needed The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge A book with a weather element in the titleBlog Instagram Twitter A fantastic and well told story At times, I was near tears Other times I wanted to reach into the book and punch one of the characters I was so emotionally invested, I was talking out loud to the book In the end, I set down my Kindle and gave a standing ovation.I was skeptical going in this is the part where I fear pet lovers will start unfriending me and or sending me hate mail I am not a big pet person so I have been putting this off because I heard it is told from the point of view of a dog My worry was that it may not appeal if I couldn t connect to the love an owner might have for their dog I know, I am a terrible person But, I will say that I really enjoyed it The dog in question is Enzo, and he comes across as very wise and human The cutesy dog owner story I feared it is not.Because Enzo is very wise, this book is very quotable I began to picture Enzo sitting on a mountaintop in robes waiting to impart knowledge on those coming to seek his guidance Because of this, I feel that this is a good book to recommend to those seeking inspiration.Another aspect that sold me on this book is how much the book is about auto racing I love watching auto racing and talking about cars, drivers, great moves someone made in a race, or their mistakes made, etc This is just like Denny and Enzo in the book I thought it was awesome how auto racing philosophy was connected to life in general.I mentioned in the beginning that at times this book made me rage It has been a long time since a book has made me this mad the last was probably The Giver which I actually flung across the room That was a physical copy, though This was my Kindle, I didn t want to fling it I cannot really say what made me so mad without spoilers, but be sure to prepare yourself because I bet there are few people who can make it through this book without a similar reaction.Because I was so moved to happiness, to sadness, and to anger I give this book A , 16 thumbs up, all the book awards, etc I can easily recommend this book to anyone VIDEO REVIEW were some things, plot wise, that felt a bit unnecessary those damn grandparents but other that that, I loved this It never felt weird to be reading from the perspective of a dog, which was a huge surprise to me Enzo sort of reminded me of Garfield in some ways, like how he had snarky little comments and criticisms that we, as readers, are privy to It was super entertaining This was an incredibly emotional story, but it never felt too heavy, which I appreciated I look forward to checking out of Garth Stein s books in the future Yet another book I was reading as a preview to see if I should purchase it as a gift Sadly, no.Equally disappointing is disliking the work of a local author I always want to like local authors and artists of all stripes , but it isn t always possible.First, I don t think automobile racing is a good metaphor for life Maybe it is, but I have a bias I hate the automobile I think the personal automobile is the single most destructive concept we ve conceived To then race them in circles, no less seems pointless at the very best, and perhaps even criminal when one considers the environmental costs As I said, I m biased.The reason I read this in the first place was the dog as narrator I m really trying to find a good dog as narrator book This isn t it The dog as narrator in Stein s book is gimmicky It doesn t add to the story, it doesn t clarify the plot, and it doesn t enhance the narrative I kept asking, Why is the dog telling this story I still have no satisfactory answer.The narrator was particularly unlikable to me due to his obsession with being reincarnated as a man It rubbed me the wrong way for several reasons, and seemed to detract from the story whenever it came up It also underscored my question about why we were listening to the dog in the first place.My final disappointment with this book involved a little deus ex machina action that tied a little bow around the story and robbed it of any emotional truth it had held for me up to that point.Ultimately a discouraging read, but I finished it in the unrealized hope that it would redeem itself I should probably read this review after getting some sleep and edit it for clarity and accuracy, but I doubt I will. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by GARTH STEIN is an inspirational, wonderful, and sad story that had me feeling so many different emotions while listening to this book Laughterhappinesssadness.angerand even a few tears I had chills and goosebumps That is good writing to make me feel so many different emotions while reading listening to a book.It was such a touching and uplifting story about the life of Enzo the dog, which was told from his own perspective I found this story to be quite endearing, enjoyable, sad, and even funny with a few good twists and turns to keep me interested to the very end Would recommend Audiobook The book is performed by Christopher Evan Welch.All of Brenda my reviews can be found on our Sister Blog 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.Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn t simply about going fast On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.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. Note on May 18 Oh man My book club s selection this month Just started reading it last night A dog narrator And car racing I dozed off in self defense.May 20 Not my kind of book Don t read any farther if you loved it Elsewhere on this site my friend Judy compared Garth Stein to Robert James Waller I think that s insulting to Waller It felt like Stein had a list dog hero, check Wonderful woman with fatal brain tumor check Adorable child check In laws from hell check False accusation of rape check Wait, what was that last Are you kidding me Daughter taken away check.And then of course fairy godFerrarifather check Rape victim recants check Gets his daughter back check Reconciliation with estranged parents check Who also give him check check No good deed goes unrewarded The top of his profession oh of course check, how could it be otherwise But wait, there s Dog reincarnated as human boy and race car driver wannabe I didn t buy the dog as narrator for a moment I m not saying an animal s point of view can t be done, and done well The Incredible Journey, The Silent Meow, Watership Down, The Wind in the Willows , but not here And the whole plot was just so implausibly over the top I put it down at page 3, page 26, and page 29, and then I remembered that I, too, have picked books for book club that people hated Readers, I finished it I consider it to be a triumph over my gag reflex.I see now that I ve been completely wasting my time for the last twenty years My next book will be about the mother of a little girl with leukemia as told by their cat Husband deserts them check Mother loses her job because of bad economy check Has to work three jobs to replace it check She sells their house to pay medical bills check Arrested and child removed by family welfare due to child neglect check Husband s mother sues for custody check Through it all the only comfort is the cat check.Child dies Cat runs away The abyss.No, wait, this is a cynical feelgood Stephen Spielberg book, what am I saying Of course the child doesn t die, the child is cured by a all new and improved treatment Check Mother discovers an ability to make yarn from cat s hair check Fairy godartgallerymother discovers cat hair sweaters on mother s do it yourself website online and gives her her own show check She sells them for millions check Doctor who invented the treatment falls in love with mother check Cat lives to twenty one and comes back as third child of now leukemia free daughter, and grandma gives her knitting lessons.On the other hand, Stein s book sold a zillion copies and I m sure he s crying all the way to the bank I just hope they don t make a movie out of it.