I struggled with a giant reading slump for about a year. When I finally finished the book that took so long to finish I was wondering what book I should read next. My boyfriend, who’s not a big reader at all, recommended me this book by Garth Stein as it’s his favourite.

Garth Stein is mostly known for this book The Art of Racing in the Rain but has also written Raven Stole the Moon, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and A Sudden Light. Besides being an author he’s also a film maker, playwright, teacher and (believe it or not) an amateur racer.

“The car goes where the eyes go.”

I’m a big softie when it comes to stories with animals – who isn’t anyway – so I was kinda taken aback whether or not I should read this book, but I’m so glad I did.

The Art of Racing in the Rain follows the story of Enzo, a mixed-breed, his mother is a labrador and his dad a suspected Airedale, who’s totally different from other dogs. A philosopher, a dog with a human soul. Together with Denny, his master and life companion who adopted him from a dodgy farm, they often watch television together, mostly recordings of races as Denny is an up and coming race car driver.

On the eve of his death (not a spoiler since it literally says on the synopsis that Enzo dies) he takes you back to his very first moments of life from the day he met Denny to his very last moments with Denny. His life was full of adventures, great ones but also scary ones as when Denny’s wife dies her parents try everything they can to have the custody of their granddaughter. I can tell you, I really felt a huge amount of hate towards them.

Enzo’s story will make you laugh, it’ll make you think about life, it’ll teach you a lot about racing and yes it’ll also make you cry. A lot. But the book is so beautiful and very well written. I enjoyed every single moment reading his story and it made me give my dog an extra hug when I finished the book.

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers in the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat of fat is cut off and placed in his mouth to sustain his soul for its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like. I learned that from a program on the National Geographic Channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.

I am ready.”

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The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
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