This book has it all, including a satisfying and realistic ending. It’s not about racing, rain, or dogs. It’s a metaphor for making it through the slippery spots and oil slicks in life with clean hands. It’s about how Enzo’s “person” is just as graceful off the track as he is on the track even though he may not know it. His dog knows it and loves him for it. A beautiful story about not crashing no matter what gets in your way. More than that, he is never provoked into being hateful.
Only in cartoons can you throw tacks out your window to make the other guy lose a race. (Think of Tanya Harding: it wouldn’t have been a true win). Enzo senses the beauty of this man that cares for him because he knows that he wins with clean hands in all areas of his life. Just like a dog, Enzo’s master gets treated pretty badly at times, but he doesn’t let it turn him ugly or rabid. Enzo can see that this unfortunately, is the exception and not the rule for many human beings. Especially when they are hurting. Hurt people hurt people, but not Enzo’s hero.
There are too many endearing scenes to count. The Zebra and what it represents. Enzo in the passenger side of the race car. Enzo’s only regret is not having opposable thumbs. Enzo’s take on documentary television. His person Denny, always choosing well and with honor.
That may not be what the author set out to do, but it’s what I got from it. It was a pleasant surprise, but not a shock to find out that Garth Stein is Native American. Those “myths” are so full of truth.
The Art of Racing in the Rain has sure done for adult reading what Harry Potter did for kids. Got them to pick up a book and rekindle that love of literature. It’s possible, just possible, that the movie will do the book justice. We’ll see.