The Art of Racing in the Rain Reviewed

Indubitably, the 2013 summer reading book, Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, was a heart squeeze – by the end of the book, I was close to tears. Unlike last summer’s book, The Messenger, this book provided a more passive yet just as, if not more, moving tale. In all honesty, before beginning the book, I snorted when I heard that the book was from a dog’s perspective. After all, how much more could a dog have to offer than a human being could? Luckily for me, and all the others who laughed derisively at the thought of a narrative from a dog, this wasn’t just another summer reading book. The Art of Racing in the Rain, first met with incredulity and condescension, proved to be a book worthy enough to stay on the treasured story shelf.

The story revolves around a guy named Denny, a passionate race-car driver, who goes through hell and back to keep his family. Ever since Denny bought Enzo, the duo remained close companions until the time of Enzo’s death. Enzo sees the changes Denny goes through: from living as a bachelor to maintaining a family. Denny marries a girl named Eve, and has a beautiful child with the name Zoe. For a while, Enzo, Denny, Eve, and Zoe have wonderful moments together, but soon, calamity hits: Eve is diagnosed with cancer. From there, everything goes downhill, and even worse, Eve’s parents drain Denny of his resources in order to gain custody of Zoe. Denny is put under such harrowing circumstances, and he must mourn the death of his wife and newfound life while simultaneously fending off charges of rape, paying his defense lawyer, and supporting himself and Enzo.

Stein provided readers with a refreshing story, one full of tragedy and heartbreak, yet interspersed with hope, determination, and most importantly love. Readers found that love conquered all; indeed, there is nothing stronger than the love between a parent and his child. Throughout the story there were quotes that really inspired me and opened my eyes to what’s really around me. Some of these quotes were:

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

“You should shine with all of your light all the time.”

“The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind the other than it is to drive too hard and crash.”


The whole time, the untwisting tale is viewed from the eyes of a shrewd dog, and surprisingly, gives a fresh take on the way we tend to view things ourselves. Certain parts of the book physically hurt me as I read them, just because of how intense and painful Denny’s sorrow and tribulations were. Despite the heart-wrenching plot, The Art of Racing in the Rain was the most memorable summer reading book I have ever read.