What is The Art of Racing in the Rain about?

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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The “Art of Racing in the Rain” is a novel by Seattle, Washington-based writer Garth Stein. The story is told from the point-of-view of a dog, who looks out at the landscape of the world that humans inhabit, and offers its opinion and views of what it sees and experiences. In essence, the dog, Enzo, is commenting on the human condition.

Enzo loves the family that he has been part of. He wants the best for them, for their dreams to be realized. He knows the family has had terrible trials, and has had dreams dashed. One of these dreams is that Denny Swift, the father of the family wants to achieve his personal goal of becoming a first-rate race car driver. Denny has also endured the loss of his wife.

Enzo, the dog, as his life seeps out of him and he is close to death, looks upon all that the family has gone through. He doesn’t want the family, what’s left of it, destroyed. Enzo is ready to die and he doesn't want Denny to have to make the decision to put him down, as he knows this would hurt Denny terribly. Enzo, willingly, lets himself go, gives up the fight, in essence. He wants Denny and Zoe (Denny's daughter) to get on with their life. It is a final loving act from this dog that is a transcendent aspect of this story.

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