The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is an excellent, quick read that’s not your everyday dog-book.
Told from the point of view of Enzo, a terrier mix, Enzo tells the story of his life and his owner, Denny. Denny is a struggling race car driver. Typical story. He falls in love, gets married, has a child. But what Enzo knows and no one else does is Eve, Denny’s wife, is sick. She has cancer and has an inkling something is wrong but is in denial.
Eve takes a fall and in the hospital her disease is discovered. Given only 6-8 months to live, Eve is taken care of by her parents who have the financial means to care for her. Her daughter, Zoe, lives with them as well while Denny continues to travel and race.
When Eve passes, her parents fight for custody for Zoe. Denny is falsely accused of rape and the custody battle begins.
However, this is the framework for the story. The real story is Enzo and his insights into humanity. He is convinced when he passes he’ll come back as a human. He absorbs racing mantras from the greats such as: “That which you manifest is before you.” “Our successes and failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.” “The physicality of our world is a boundary to us only if our will is weak; a true champion can accomplish things that a normal person would think impossible.”
“Any problems that may occur have ultimately been caused by you, because you are responsible for where you are and what you are doing there.”
“The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles in order to triumph.”
“The one who drives smart will always win in the end.”
“I was not killed because I was not finished. I still had work to do.”
“There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”
“Can we not will ourselves to achieve the impossible?”
“My soul has learned what it came to learn. We can’t have everything we want. Sometimes, we simply have to believe.”
I don’t usually recommend books where the animals die at the end, but the ending to this book is joyous. I’m not promising you’re not gonna cry (I was sad), but the book is so full of hope and ends on such a positive note you definitely won’t regret reading this book! Full of wisdom and great themes of standing up for what’s right, not giving into pressure, and living each day to the fullest. You don’t want to miss this book!