Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Dog's Life

If you read The Art of Racing in The Rain by Garth Stein, I reccommend you don't read it at work, and save it if you've recently had something sad happen in your life. Explaining to co-workers who happen into the break room that everything is OK, you're just reading the saddest book ever, is a difficult prospect.

But it's a very, very good read, and it shows how one key gambit can make or break a book. The baseline plot is rather maudlin stuff, dealing with the early death of a young woman and false allegations against her husband and an epic custody battle over their daughter. However, it's all told through the eyes of a dog.

Enzo is an old, faithful, mixed breed dog who's been with his family since early puppyhood. As he prepares to close his eyes forever, he looks back on his life with them. The story has the gaps you'd expect from hearing things from a dog's perspective, but also more insight -- after all, no one watches what they say around the family dog. Enzo truly is a wise old man, with lots of insights into human behavior, who spends his alone time broadening his dog mind with television and never forgot that one, shining moment where his human took him out in his racecar. Who dreams of the day he'll be reborn as a human. It's a sad, beautiful gem of a book, but tread with caution because of all the upsetting content.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I absolutely loved this book and cried through much of it, so I definitely agree with you when you say 'don't read it at work'.