Book Cover
The Art of Racing in the Rain


★ ★

TL;DR: Enzo the dog tells the story of his owner Danny: Danny’s career as a racecar driver, his marriage to wife Eve, Eve’s battle with and eventual loss to cancer, and the subsequent custody battle for their daughter Zoe. Solid but unspectacular.

Notes

  • This book was fine. Nothing too special, but a decent story from an interesting perspective.
  • None of the characters were super relatable to me (married couple, little kid, etc.) but I definitely enjoyed the little moments between Enzo and Danny.
  • Novelty of having a dog narrator wore off after awhile. Enzo was overly philosophical for my taste. The off-hand comments about silly things humans do were my favorite.
  • Wholesome themes: family, loyalty, love. Dogs are a great medium
  • to express these through :smile:
  • Am I allowed to say that the themes and storyline were… inconsequential? Never really got a sense of magnitude or urgency from the book. Could probably predict the outcome from the beginning. Maybe I’m just a terrible person. Hard to juxtapose with The Nightingale, which I read immediately after.

Snippets

Much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and therefore, is a horribly ineffective tool [...] for making clever and complicated polysyllabic sounds that can be linked together to form sentences. (1)

People and their rituals. They cling to things so hard sometimes. (8)

That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. (41)

Hospital parking lot, with its very black blacktop, warm like a sweater just removed, and its very white white lines painted with surgical care (100)

Mute by design, I have been able to study the art of rhetoric unfettered by ego and self-interest [...] The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles in order to triumph. (112)

That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me. (198)

What he offered me is not for me to keep, but for me to give to another. That is why I feel very fortunate that I am able to offer my hand to you. (305)

Summary

  • Enzo the philosophical dog adores his human Denny. Denny races cars, and by proxy Enzo knows all about driving
  • Danny gets married to a woman named Eve and they have a daughter named Zoe. Enzo must learn to share Danny with these new humans, but they come to an understanding about it
  • Eve gets cancer. Enzo can sense it, but as a dog he is powerless to help or alert anybody who can help.
  • Eve dies and her parents sue for custody of Zoe, citing the fact that Danny has an unstable career that (thus far) has not produced enough money to support Zoe adequately.
  • Enzo must support Denny through this entire ordeal. Eve’s parents try to pin a bogus sexual assault case on Denny. Eventually the entire thing gets resolved and Denny gets custody of Zoe.
  • A Ferrari executive sympathizes with Denny’s situation and respects how he handled it. He offers Denny a job, Denny’s career as a driver takes off, and he is able to live happily with Zoe.
  • Enzo eventually dies of old age, but the end of the book hints that he is reincarnated as a human like he always believed. He meets Danny, by then a famous racecar driver, and passes along a shared catchphrase. Wholesome :)