Author: Garth Stein
Genre: Adult Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: Book Group, Where Are You Reading
FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money
Summary (from the back of the book): A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, and hope--a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life... as only a dog could tell it.
Review: My book group chose this book and I went along with the choice. The summary (above) doesn't exactly give a great description of what this book is about and so I wasn't excited to read this book. A dog's perspective? Weird. Then I tried to push this book onto my MUS Moms book group so I'd be doubly motivated to read it. They didn't fall for that idea at all. I was so wrong! I really liked this book!
So here's the scoop with this book. I cried (like a baby at one point), I laughed out loud (boy did that feel great), and I really cared about the characters and the storyline. And before you say, "but I am not a dog person so this book isn't for me", just relax. The narrator happens to be a dog, but you certainly don't have to be a dog lover to appreciate this book because it is about so much more.
Here's a better summary without giving away too much. Enzo (the dog) has human thoughts and really wishes he could communicate better (if his darn tongue just wasn't so big and floppy!). He tells us the story of his family: Denny, Eve, and baby Zoe. We learn of their accomplishments, sorrows, trials, and good times. Through Enzo the reader gets a very interesting view of family life and how we deal with one another. And trust me, Enzo sees the good and the bad.
Why "the art of racing"? Denny is a race car driver who wants to be a professional. There is a lot of car racing talk and analogies to life, which if I had known about it I would have been even more unhappy. But the author did a really good job of making racing okay for those of us not in-the-know of that world. I liked the way he compared life to a race, with its twists and turns, and how a driver's attitude can determine if he wins or loses.
I own a dog so I definitely appreciated the dog perspective. It made me wonder what my Charlie knows or thinks. I don't want to give Charlie too much credit, but he definitely knows who's who in the household and when someone is unhappy (he'll be sure to stick to that person and cuddle).
If you like books that are a study of life in addition to a great plot, then this is the book for you!
Books I've read based in Washington state: Books by Anjali Banerjee (Haunting Jasmine, Seaglass Summer, and Invisible Lives are ones I have reviewed)