The novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein, is both an emotional and an intelligent read portrayed through the author’s use of flashback, humor, and intellect. Through these, the author tells a meaningful story about life and death and the importance of both.
The first page of The Art of Racing in the Rain is enough to get the reader hooked. ”Gestures are all that I have. Sometimes they must be grand in nature” (Stein, 2008). The story is being told from a dogs point of view. Enzo cannot communicate the way he’d like to by using words and sounds, so he must rely on his actions and his gestures to tell him story to his owner. So he pours his heart out into his book. The beginning of the book starts out with the dog, Enzo, barely holding onto life. As he starts to drift further and further away, he starts reflecting on his life and his past. As his owner Denny, who is a race car driver, once said “A driver cannot contemplate their move while they make them. Racing is like living; you can only do it, and then remember it later” (Stein, 2008).
Enzo's trip down memory lane begins with him reflecting on the day Denny chose him out of a liter of puppies. Denny takes Enzo away from his country farm home, and domesticates him in an apartment in the city, Seattle. Enzo hates the new city life, but he loves Denny. Enzo reflects on the time when Denny found himself a life partner, Eve. He reflects on how at first, his relationship with Eve was a rocky one due to the fact that Enzo felt replaced and Eve was annoyed by Enzo. However, their relationship took a turn for the best when Eve got pregnant and Enzo literally had to stand in for Denny in the delivery process due to Denny being in Daytona for a race. The author uses amazing contrast of these two characters, Eve and Enzo, to make for a mellow dramatic reading. Stein doesn’t flat out tell you how different these two are, but rather shows you. This is hard to do in a book. However, he uses tone to convey their feelings for one another. The shift for these two, again, comes at the birth of Zoe. Stein uses Zoe as a calming presence in the book. All characters still go through their trials and tribulations; however, Zoe calms everyone down and sets a softer mood in the book. At least up until the climax of the story.
One trait that Enzo has that human’s lack, is the ability to sense when things are not right. “When Denny was away and Eve fed me and she leaned down to give me my bowl of food and my nose was near her head, I had detected a bad odor, like rotting wood, mushrooms, decay. Wet, soggy, decay. It came from her ears and her sinuses. There was something inside Eve’s head that didn’t belong” (Stein, 2008). Enzo feels a sense of loss and failure. Enzo had been assigned, by the request of Denny, to watch over Eve and protect her while Denny was away. But there was nothing Enzo could do for Eve. He detected the Brain Cancer months before anyone else sensed something was wrong. As Eves...