Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Even though my rag rug project (to give to Davan for Christmas) has kind of stalled out over the last week due to other things pressing in, I still managed to finish this audio book on walks, making dinner and the like. I've got to get back to that rag rug because, gosh, that thing is building slowly. If I don't get going, it'll be a rug for Bunny, not Davan.

Christopher Evan Welsh is the narrator for The Art of Racing in the Rain and I felt he did a decent job of it. The reading, while not so spectacular that I'd seek him out as a narrator again, was plenty good enough that he did not distract from the story.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of a race car driver who, actually, doesn't do a ton of racing during the book, as life is getting in the way. Denny, the race car driver, meets and marries a woman and they go on to have a daughter. Things start to fall apart when his wife, Eve, gets sick. The story goes on to detail how Denny deals with the fall out.

What makes the story unique, is that it's told from the point of view of Denny's dog - Enzo. Enzo is a dog who wishes he were human and strongly believes that when a dog has learned enough from being a dog and he dies, he is reborn as a human. I enjoyed this unique point of view.

While I ultimately enjoyed the story for the most part, I spent a lot of the first half or so thinking, "This is such a guy book." There is a lot of talk about racing. A lot. Not being that into car racing, that didn't add a lot of value for me. The perspectives are almost all male with talk of "mounting," references to action movies and such, in addition to the heavy racing theme.

I also found Denny's daughter, Zoe, almost too good to be true. With everything they go through, she should have been showing some signs of wear and tear, and yet, she doesn't.

I give The Art of Racing in the Rain a 6. I'd like to recommend it to Anthony to read, as he does like car racing, but the flip side of all the struggles Denny goes through would probably turn him off of this book. While I wouldn't warn people to stay away, I'm not going to be recommending it to anyone that I can think of, either.

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