Last summer, I mentioned that I like to use my time away from the classroom to reconnect with the “grown up” section of the public library. I really love reading YA books during the school year, but sometimes it’s a welcome change when your protagonist isn’t a fourteen year-old. In June I read four books. Four good books: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I’ll try to write about the first two this week and then I’ll get to Gillian Flynn. I’m just about to start her first (and only other so far) novel, Sharp Objects, and then I’ll write about all of them at once. (omigod I’m obsessed) So here we go.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Written from the perspective of an aging mutt named Enzo, The Art of Racing in the Rain, tells the story of Enzo’s human family from the time Enzo was a puppy up through his entire life. This book is sweet and sad (but not in an oh no the dog dies kind of way), and I love how quickly it all reads. There is something about a dog narrator that I find just so charming. Especially one as smart as Enzo – he watches the weather channel for goodness sake! It probably makes all of us readers think about our own pets, or at least fantasize that they are musing similar philosophical insight while we are off at work all day using our opposable thumbs.
But back to the book…
The book sucked me in, and it’s quick, so I finished it easily in two afternoons. The title alludes to race car driving, which is what Enzo’s owner does for a living in the story. I’ll admit that I glossed over the parts in the book that described actual racing history and vehicle technicalities (not my thang), but I can at least appreciate that it played a symbolic role in the plot.
There is a lot of plot that I didn’t talk about at all here, but the ending is one of those happy/sad/heartwarming/makes me smile/what’s gonna happen next endings that simultaneously leaves me wanting more and completely satisfied.
I have Amy to thank for reading this book. She left it here for me a while back, and it sat on our book shelf for almost a year before I finally got around to picking it up. I’m glad I did.
Side note: While this is not classified a Young Adult novel, I think it’s perfectly appropriate for high school and most junior high kids. Minimal to no swearing (I can’t remember any) and just a couple vague sexual references to, let’s be honest, keep them interested. ha