Friday, September 26, 2008

The Art of Racing in the Rain

If you love dogs and like fast cars, you might enjoy "The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (Harper, $23.95). The book is written from the dog's perspective, and Enzo is not your ordinary Labrador retriever. He is smart, appreciative, perceptive, insightful and an independent thinker who can be cunning when necessary.

Enzo is not sure of his lineage. Although he never knew his father, he believes he was a terrier, a breed known for being a problem solver. His mother was "not supportive,” Enzo writes. "I was called the pick of the litter. I like to think I came from a determined gene pool.”

As a pup, Enzo was rescued from a litter by Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Enzo learns all about his master's career and occasionally rides with Denny, basking in the thrill of careening around a track at breakneck speed.

Enzo watches and listens as Denny falls in love with Eve and feels a twinge of jealousy. But Enzo is for anything that makes Denny happy and welcomes the birth of their daughter, Zoe, and even shows his protective nature toward her.

The racing theme permeates the novel, always told through Enzo's eyes.

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