The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo begins his story with his first meeting with Denny Swift, a young race car driving bachelor. His blunt and witty narration, paired with his pure heart, immediately captivate you and keep you spellbound for the entire book. As Denny meets his future wife, gets married and discovers the joy of a new baby, Enzo acts as a loyal and unwavering force for Denny. He is an integral part of the family, and celebrates their triumphs and mourns their losses with startling perspective.
When a devastating sequence of events leaves Denny reeling and clinging to the threads of his life, Enzo is the lone driving force to persevere and fiercely defend Denny as he tries to reclaim his family and career. The world of auto racing acts as an undercurrent throughout the book as Enzo discovers that the same principles required to succeed in racing are required to succeed in life. The reader is taken on a life-altering tour through the faithful and ever-observant perspective of a loyal friend. The story leaves you uplifted, satisfied and deep in personal introspection.
Is the narrator any good? Christopher Evan Welch has an edgy, masculine voice that perfectly conveys the attitude and emotion in Enzo’s voice. He is also the narrator of the Oscar winning movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Enzo’s wry brilliance is nicely articulated by Welch’s tone and emphasis. There are many facets to Enzo’s character, as he is ruled by selfless canine devotion at some times, and bitterness for his lack of opposable thumbs at other times. Welch adapts his performance wonderfully to each of the intricacies of Enzo’s colorful personality.
The verdict? Although told in the first person voice of a dog, this story doesn’t become exaggerated and cute. Garth Stein provides an honest and gritty look at the human condition, with an underlying optimism that ultimately prevails. The story is colored by Enzo’s staunch loyalty that will have you alternately cheering and weeping. His sense of humor highlights the absurd moments in life that we take for granted and will leave you with a smile on your face. Because the perspective of a dog isn’t jaded and world-weary, the reader is able to get a clairvoyant look into the significance of our routine actions and decisions.
This audio book has altered the way I approach my life and even my relationship with my dog! I often catch myself trying to emulate Enzo’s mantra, “That which you manifest is before you”. It is a great listen from start to finish.