Monday, 15 April 2019

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Enzo believes he is destined to be human. In reality, he's a dog belonging to racing car driver, Denny. The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of Enzo and Denny's life together, and how their family is torn apart.

I'm not sure I read the same "heart-warming book" as everyone else! I started off liking the canine commentary on life but then Denny hits Enzo. This is after the dog has been left alone for three whole days, of course he's going to destroy things (incidentally, I loved how Enzo thought it was a demon and not himself who did the damage). So now I didn't like Denny and my patience wore thin as the story progresses into darkness.

Enzo sniffs out the illness in Eve's head well before she is symptomatic, but even then she refuses to see a doctor. Why, is something Enzo is never privy to. Eve and Zoe go to live with Eve's parents, who don't like Denny much. If you think your wife is dying, why wouldn't you want to spend more time with her? Was there something more going on that the dog didn't see?

Maybe Denny's really a bit of a failure but Enzo worships him. Though Enzo is a little too human for me to be really charmed by him; I liked his obsession with opposable thumbs and his theories on dew claws. He learns all he knows from watching TV and he believes he will be reincarnated as a human because he heard it on the National Geographic channel, so it must be true. He loves motor racing and peppers his narrative with lots of racing facts. He's part Labrador, part who-knows-what, but he definitely doesn't have that many Lab behaviours.
So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is compromised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.

It really felt like the point of this book was to raise men's rights issues... Of course fathers are capable of looking after their children and no one should have their lives ruined by false accusations. But the way it is done, with the seductive fifteen-year-old girl and clueless Denny, is just icky. Not to mention the father-hating in-laws ready to swoop in the day of their daughter's death to start custody proceedings for their granddaughter. The limitations of Enzo's viewpoint means the whole thing isn't handled with any delicacy. Plus he earlier demonstrated how he is not a reliable narrator, or witness. It's hard to read a book where it's all about the man's life being ruined by false claims, when so many rape cases do not have enough evidence to even make it to court.

I can't imagine how they're going to make this into a film. It looks like there is a kids' version so maybe they have already done a family-friendly edit. I won't be rushing to see it at any rate.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 1. A book becoming a movie in 2019

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Book Source: Purchased

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm so surprised to see this review, I've always heard this is one of those life changing dog stories. But I'm definitely taking it off my list, it sounds awful!

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    Replies
    1. I know! It was not the book I was expecting from ten year old reviews. Maybe we have just become more aware recently...

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