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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The narrator of this book is Enzo, an old lab mix (as in labrador retriever), who has a very fine tale to tell with a very wise, old soul-like point of view. Enzo lives with a young family whose pack leader is Denny, a race car driver, and his wife Eve and their daughter Zoe. At first glance, this is a perfect family if such an animal exists. All is not the American flag and apple pie, though. Into every life comes the inevitable--death, breach of trust, disease and ruthless in laws as well those things that see us through those tortuous times like wonder and passion and redemption. Enzo is happy being a dog and telling his tale but he's learned a few tricks and a few truths for an old dog. For instance, Enzo fantasizes that one day he will be reborn with opposable thumbs, as a human being. Fear of death is not a phobia with him with such an afterlife or afterdog probability. In the meantime, Enzo enjoys the sitstay passenger seat in any racing car with his pal Denny. When Enzo gets left behind, he discovers the joys of the weather station on television and learns everything there is to know about the earth and its various moods. You might call this penchant a magnificient obsession. Then things really start to happen. People aren't as happy and the American dream disintegrates. Enzo suffers as do all the other protagonists in the book when the best of times becomes the worst of times. But with suffering comes endurance and with endurance, hope, and so on. I don't want to spoil this magical book for you by summarizing the plot. This is a big hearted book with a morality tale. It was chosen by the Independent Booksellers as the Number 1 read of the summer and beyond. I give it all my opposable thumbs up. Pat20