Anyway, I’ve been putting off reading this book for so long. It started a couple years ago when a friend of my mom’s recommended it to me, and I put it on my mental reading list, and soon it was lost in the midst of all my TBR books. (Relatable) But just a couple weeks ago, my friend Molly brought it back up again in conversation because it was one of her all-time favorite books. Since we both love and have golden retrievers, she recommended it to me, and as I was dropping her off, she ran out with her copy for me. Even with the book staring at me from my desk it took a while for me to pick it up. I was reading other books and I was also partly afraid I had vamped it up to much in my head. I was afraid that I had thought about it so much for so long with all it’s amazing reviews and then when I would go to read it, it would be just your average book. Boy, was I wrong.
Upon starting the novel, I was absolutely hooked. It starts with a flash forward where we get a bit of a peek into what happens later. We find out the mom dies and the dog is going to be put to sleep. Of course, by starting the story like this, we knew all along that the mother’s and dog’s death was going to come at any moment, making the moments when they were happy and young just as sad as the sad scenes. It was similar to in the fault in our stars. After reading the book, the ending was a bit of a surprise so we weren’t too sad during the actual book. But by the time the movie rolled around, we watched it with tears in our eyes the whole time because we knew that he was going to die by the end and this was going to be his last memory.
We go through the dog’s, Enzo’s, life where he starts as a little puppy on a farm, all the way until he is adopted and taken home with Denny, the semi-professional racecar driver, his specialty is racing in the rain. The book shows the progression of the relationship between a dog and his owner, and then their newfound family. But while everything was looking up, it all took a bit of a nosedive. Eve, Denny’s wife, began to get sick, a mass in her brain that was later identified as a tumor was her downfall. And instead of staying at the hospital, she stayed with her parents, where adequate care could be given to her at all times. Soon, her parents insist Denny leave their daughter, Zoe, with them so she could be with Eve. Being kind and mindful of his wife’s needs, he leaves Zoe to live with them with plenty of visits. Though once Eve inevitably passes away, her parents show their true colors and sue for full custody of Zoe. Between criminal charges and custody court days, Denny is torn in many different directions for things that weren’t his fault. But Enzo helps him stay positive.
What keeps Enzo going with his growing age is the dream that at the end his soul will be reincarnated into a human. Somehow this is what really got me. His growing hope and innocence after everything he had experienced is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Especially the fact that he was holding onto this after watching it on a tv program. With hip dysplasia, old age and grief, the book ends back where it started showing Enzo’s final days. By the end I was in a stream of tears to say the least. I actually had to talk about the book with Emily before I was able to really calm myself down. I recommend this book to anyone with a dog, because only then can you fully appreciate Garth Stein’s masterpiece that is The Art Of Racing In The Rain.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hug my dog and cry.