Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Reading | The Art Of Racing In The Rain

Hello, I am also an actual dog and I highly recommend this book. It's soooo good.

The Art of Racing in the Rain | Garth Stein 

Stories about the inherent wisdom of dogs and the way they use their intuitions and instincts to positively influence the lives of their humans are familiar beasts in the literary world (hello, James Herriott) but this is the first one I've ever read that is told by an actual dog. Enzo is a delightful Labrador who tells with dignity and style the ups and downs of his life with his human, Denny, and Denny's wife and daughter. Denny happens to be a professional race car driver, and Enzo takes a great interest in his career, building beautiful metaphors between the fine points of a Formula One race and the challenges of being alive. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will readily resonate with Enzo's profound wisdom and loving spirit, and if you also enjoy reading about fast cars, you're in for a real treat. 

* * * * *

Unlike me, my mom always had a soft spot for reading books about dogs.We both knew that virtually all good literary dogs die in the end, and while I find that plot point to be an agonizing heartbreak, she actually enjoyed the bittersweet tears. So it was that whenever she came after me with a new dog book, I ran away as fast as I could. 

And that's exactly what happened with this book. By the time she read it back in 2008 or so, my mom was already several years into her battle with Lewy Body Dementia, with enough damage to her memory that I tried to sidestep her recommendation and indirectly ignore her repeated question, "Have you read this book yet? It's soooo good." One of my few regrets about how I handled her illness is that I didn't read it. I wish I would have read this book back then and told her what I thought of it. That would have made her very happy.

Shortly after my mom died, I spotted this book on the shelf in a bookstore, and remembering how she loved it, I bought it. I'm sorry to say that I then left it sitting on my own bookshelf for years, wincing with remorse whenever the spine caught my attention. But this week, for reasons I can't explain, I suddenly felt inspired to pick it up and give it a read. And I'm so glad I did.

I wish I could call my mom and tell her that I took her advice and read this book. I wish I could say, "Hey, I read that book about the dog and you're right. It's soooo good." 

But she's gone now, so I will tell you instead. 

You should read this book. It's soooo good.

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