I love to read. And I read a lot. By “a lot,” I mean it’s a rare day that passes where I haven’t read at least part of a book.
This is not a book-review blog. I do not mention every single book that I have read. In fact, I don’t mention most of what I have read/am reading.
But every now and then I read something I have to mention. Like Hold Love Strong, by Matthew Aaron Goodman. Have you read that yet? I know Shannon did (loved it as much as me). And Amy, too (liked it okay). I think my MIL may have started it, but couldn’t get into it. But I could be wrong. My Mom has it now.
Anyway, this post isn’t about that book, it’s about this one: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. (NOTE: this book was released in May 2008. I apologize if this is old news for you, I’m just not always “up” on current happenings. A friend finally told me about this book a few months ago.)
I can see why some folks didn’t like HLS as much as me. Different people like different book genres. HLS certainly has a compelling story, but it’s more of a literary fiction-type book. It’s not a book you like as you read because it gives you the warm fuzzies, or because there’s a mystery to solve or a romance that intrigues you, or even a particular character you like (as in “this person could totally be my friend”) or can identify with. It’s just a very well-crafted book that gives you a glimpse into someone else’s reality. A reality which isn’t always pleasant.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is different. If you followed my last link, you may have seen this quote from Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants:
“The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and–best of all–the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach to us about being human. I loved this book.”
Does it really involve racing? Yep. Racing is a huge component of the book. But it’s just the philosophy of racing, which is interwoven artfully throughout the story because it parallels and/or shapes Enzo’s philosophy on life.
Fans of just about any genre should be able to read and enjoy this 320-page book, which in my mind is an instant classic. I read it in only two sittings. It’s an easy read. Some critics complain that it is written at about an eight-grade reading level. I think that’s intentional. The book is, after all, being narrated by a dog who has learned much of what he knows from watching TV. Others say it is sappy, and contrived and written like a Lifetime movie.
Well, I obviously enjoyed it. I guess everyone needs sap once in a while.
There is an official book trailer video, but it’s about 3 minutes long. I much prefer the video I embedded below, which was created by a fan who described this as their favorite book “EVER.” It’s way up there on my favorite book of all times list, too.
This next link should lead you to an excerpt of the first few pages of the book at Amazon.com. While you’re there, check out some of the negative reviews. Remember, not everyone likes this book. Many say it is just another sappy dog story capitalizing on the success of Marley and Me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I, for example, thought The DaVinci Code was awful, but it sold close to 100 MILLION copies and has been translated into over 40 languages.
If you have read, or if you do read, The Art of Racing in the Rain, I’d love to know what you think of the book.
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NOTE: This image doesn’t have much to do with the book. It shows all three of my girls, though.
I wonder if they understand as much as Enzo?