YOU ARE THE WORST.
I wonder how many of my post will start with those exact words. But did you really have to bring up both Coraline and No-Face in the first post?? WHY YA GOTTA BE LIKE THAT? [For those of you who don’t know me, Coraline and Spirited Away were (and still are) the root of all my nightmares until about two years ago. Something about scary animated characters seem extremely disturbing to me, and frankly, even more so than the ones from “horror” shows like American Horror Story and the newly popular, Stranger Things.] You suck. 😡
Anyhow, I have been slacking in my summer reading these last few weeks, but because of the impending first day of school, I decided to finally get my crap together. This summer, I was supposed to read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. And to be totally honest, I probably wouldn’t have read this book if it weren’t mandatory. The book’s cover, blurb, and reviews suggest that it’s another boring animal book (I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, yadda yadda). I’m not really an animal person, so I tend to stay away from those types of books. Contrary to my initial speculations, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the narrator, an elderly dog named Enzo.
**MAJOR SPOILERS BEGIN HERE– PROCEED WITH CAUTION**
Enzo and his owner, Denny, have a unique friendship. In a way, it is like a typical owner-pet relationship, where Denny does all the feeding, cleaning, walking, etc., but there is also a unusually close companion-like relationship between them because Enzo has an almost “human” brain. But due to his lack of ability to express himself, he is forced to just be a silent witness in Denny’s life. Kudos to Stein for creating such a unique power dynamic between the dog and his master–it very interesting. That being said, I have some issues with the plot.
While the novel is written in the perspective of a dog, the humans are the protagonists. Denny, a race car driver, faces many obstacles in his life (a little unrealistic, if you ask me). His wife dies, his daughter is then pried away from him by his in-laws, who then start a custody battle over her, he is accused of rape of a minor, and then becomes broke, and all within a span of a few years.
Here’s the thing–in the middle of this fiasco, he is miraculously offered his dream job from Ferrari to test cars on a track. They tell him that they will wait for him to sort out all of his problems, and then he and his daughter can promptly join the company in Italy. Suddenly, everything quickly falls into place magically; everything is resolved– he gets custody of his daughter, the rape case disappears, he takes the job, and you later find out that Denny became a famous racing champion.
Huh. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t happen too often irl.
The Art of Racing in the Rain would definitely appeal to animal lovers–it’s heartfelt, it’s eye-opening, it’s just an emotional roller-coaster. But the ending was too idealistic, and in my opinion, took away from a perfectly fine novel.
HA I just gotta be a real book reviewer and rate it– 6.5/10.