By: Mia Manning
The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Review
The Art of Racing in the Rain is a heartwarming, surprising, and even a funny novel by Garth Stein. It is special in the sense that it is told from the perspective of a dog, and the reader is taken on a journey that allows them to think of new life possibilities as the novel changes how one views their animal friends. Prior to the novel, it may be easy to believe that animals do not have the same mindset that we, as humans, do. However, Enzo, the narrator and canine of this novel, shows us just how small minded that idea truly is. This is truly a read for all animal lovers, and readers who would love to peer into their pets eyes.
The novel itself has plenty of heart wrenching moments, all of which highlight the battles a person can face between sickness, family strife, as well as many other things. These moments, although tear-jerkers, allow for the reader to have a strong connection to Enzo and his family. The reader wants to see justice served, and aches for a happy ending to end the many struggles that are thrust upon these characters. This story is also surprisingly suspenseful, the reader is left in the dark somewhat, as is the narrator, because the characters around him are human. Nonetheless, nothing is detracted from the novel, not even in the slightest. If the reader was to know everything, not only would this novel be incredibly short, but perhaps even boring. The balance between the unknown and known information is truly a sweet spot of the novel, as it makes the reader want to continue reading onwards, excited for what is coming. This novel certainly will not bore a reader, or put one to sleep. Instead, it’s instead the type of novel that will keep the reader awake, as the story is so intriguing, and the ending cannot be guessed at as the wide variety of emotions the reader is put through keeps them on their toes until the very end.
Within this novel is also a series of uplifting, motivational quotes. This comes as a surprise to the reader since the narrator, being a dog, could have come across as child-like if done incorrectly. However, Garth Stein makes sure that this does not occur by balancing Enzo’s emotions fairly, his portrayal of anger, sadness, and happiness is all too human and makes it feel as if he is truly mature. Another feat of this novel is it’s smooth readability, while such ‘deep’ quotes could seem overwhelming, or perhaps annoying, the book is reminiscent of an old friend merely giving you advice on how to live your life to the fullest. This is primarily achieved by the humor Stein intertwines into the pages. The Art of Racing in the Rain is truly a novel for those who enjoy literature that will make them not only laugh, but cry as well.
Garth Stein also allows for the situations to be impeccably realistic. No emotions are glossed over, and no character is ‘protected’ from what some authors might believe to be negative emotions or attributes. All of the characters have real worry, anger, happiness, and so on, that allows them to be tangible creations who are easy to imagine. These emotions also allow for some situations in the novel to invoke anger in the reader, as they show that even if you reach a happy ending, along the way strikingly unfair challenges can arise. This novel certainly acts as a reality check to the reader, and also inspiration: if one is in need of an encouraging story to not quit fighting their own, personal battle, this novel should be high on their list.
A beautiful, sweet novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain achieves what most novels cannot: balance. Humorous as well as bittersweet, Garth Stein tells a story in a unique, unforgettable way. This is certainly a novel to be remembered for years to come.