Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein today. All 321 pages in just over 6 hours with a few breaks for meals, coloring my hair, you know, normal weekend stuff. This book was hard to put down.

The narrator of this book is Enzo. Enzo is a dog and on the eve of his death he reflects on his life with Denny. His owner. His best friend. And the life they've shared for ten years. Denny is a race car driver as you might have imagine from the title. There are references made to racing but they are presented as life lessons instead of just driving lessons.

This book was emotional. I normally go out of my way to avoid emotional books. I do not like to cry. I know that crying can release built up tension and blah blah blah. If you don't build up tension then you have none to release is all I'm saying. I'm not a pretty crier and Nickel takes every chance to make fun of me for crying over movies and books so that has helped me to avoid tearful situations.

But after hearing a coworker describe this book I thought I'd like to read it. When she finished the book she gave it to me to check out and I did. Then I read some reviews. Most of the reviews at Amazon tell you how wonderful the book is. But there were a few bad reviews and I made the mistake of reading them.  Suddenly I was no longer sure I could handle reading the book. The review upset me and I told Nickel that if reading a review upset me so much I couldn't imagine what the book would do to me. I tend to carry emotions from books around with me for days (which is why I stick with happily ever afters as much as possible). I asked my coworker about it and explained the review that I read. She assured me that Denny was innocent.  A high school friend had also read the book and said she thought I would enjoy the book.  Reassured I pushed forward with my plan to read the book over the weekend.

I didn't full out cry until the last two chapters. And then I only cried for a couple of moments at how perfect the ending was. I walked into the bedroom to put the book down and Nickel asked me what was wrong. I told him nothing, a favorite answer I'm sure, but seeing the book in my hands he said "Oh. The book." I could tell he wanted to say something sarcastic so I quickly told him, "Don't you dare make fun of me." He shut up and let me grieve for Enzo and Denny and the bond that they shared. Later I told Nickel about the book and he listened. He didn't even make fun of me when I teared up at the end. He's learning I think.

I will carry the emotions from this book with me for the next few days to come. Thinking back on the book I'm still angry at some of the characters. Amazed by others. And totally in love with Enzo. And I'm not even a dog person.

Here are a couple of quotes that really spoke to me today.

"That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves"

"There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose."

1 comment:

Brasil said...

Read this story in one sitting, just couldn't stop. Enzo touches my heart! I was in joyous tears in the end. This story spoke to me on so many levels. As the saying goes, I do hope that I can be the person my dog believes I am.