Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

It's been a few days since my last post, but life gets busy, and I find myself with unfinished posts in the editor and a lapse. Today I have to gush about a book that I finished reading a few weeks ago, but want to share. I first came across Garth Stein's wonderful book in a children's catalogue. The adult version was such a success that they are releasing a young reader's adaptation this spring. I read the "children's version" in a day, and promptly arranged for a copy of the adult version to compare. The children's version has been abridged, and edited slightly to remove some of the more adult content, but otherwise they are virtually the same.

Now the story: On the eve of his death, Enzo the dog reflects on his life, and recalls everything that his family has been through. Denny, his person, is an aspiring race car driver, and through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the complexities of being human. He realizes, that like racing, life is not always about going fast, and that by using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate life's ordeals.

I LOVED this book, and I can't say enough about it. Whenever I describe it to someone, the first comment is usually "Oh no- is it sad? I don't want to read a sad book". The answer is yes and no. You'll bawl your eyes out, and then you'll smile at the end. (Really!)  Using the dog's voice to narrate this story is incredibly original, and it works really well. Enzo is funny, intelligent, and amazingly human.

It is an emotional roller coaster of a book with moments that will both touch you and break your heart, but it's worth every second of it. This is the kind of book that will grab hold of you and not let go, and it will leave you thinking about it long after you turn the last page.

Last night at Passover dinner, I gave the book to my extremely reluctant reader brother. (Who is just a few years younger than I am) He read the first few pages and put it down, insisting that it's too depressing and sad. I persisted, and he agreed to give it a chance. After dinner, he disappeared for a while, and when he came back, he was several chapters into it. Fast forward a couple of hours later, and he was more than halfway through. He stayed up late last night to finish it (which he's never done) and is passing it on to our mother to read next. I can't think of a better endorsement than what he told her when he finished it:  "It is quite the book".