Cover image for Book Club kit : The art of racing in the rain
Title:
Book Club kit : The art of racing in the rain
Author:
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, c2008.
ISBN:
9780061537936
Physical Description:
7 bks. (321 p.) ; 22 cm. + 1 discussion guide
Language:
English
Abstract:
Nearing the end of his life, Enzo, a dog with a philosopher's soul, tries to bring together the family, pulled apart by a three year custody battle between daughter Zoe's maternal grandparents and her father Denny, a race car driver.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader Grades 9-12 5.7 11 Quiz 129630 English fiction.
Holds:

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Book Club Kit BOOK CLUB 1 .CIRCNOTE. *****7 BOOKS, 1 DISCUSSION GUIDE*****
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Summary

Summary

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM FOX 2000 STARRING MILO VENTIMIGLIA, AMANDA SEYFRIED, AND KEVIN COSTNER

MEET THE DOG

WHO WILL SHOW THE WORLD

HOW TO BE HUMAN

The New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein--a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope--a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

"Splendid." --People

"The perfect book for anyone who knows that compassion isn't only for humans, and that the relationship between two souls who are meant for each other never really comes to an end. Every now and then I'm lucky enough to read a novel I can't stop thinking about: this is one of them." --Jodi Picoult

"It's impossible not to love Enzo." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human. I loved this book." --Sara Gruen


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein's third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoe, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. Enzo is a reliable companion and a likable enough narrator, though the string of Denny's bad luck stories strains believability. Much like Denny, however, Stein is able to salvage some dignity from the over-the-top drama. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus Review

Stein (How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, 2005, etc.) uses a dog as narrator to clever effect in this tear-jerker about an aspiring race-car driver who suffers more woes than Job but never mistreats his dog. Lab mix Enzo believes he is different from other dogs, that he has a human soul in a dog body. Enzo is frustrated that he can use only "gestures" to communicate with his beloved owner Denny. Denny works in a Seattle auto-repair shop to earn money to race. Enzo watches racing channels on TV, soaking up facts and lore. Dog and man are happy in their bachelor Eden. Enter Eve. She and Enzo are wary at first. Then she goes into labor while Denny's away racing and she keeps Enzo beside her. Enzo adores the baby, Zo", but he soon smells that something is off with Eve. By the time Zo" is a toddler, Eve has increasingly bad headaches but refuses to see a doctor until it's too late. Now come the travails. During Eve's painful, lingering death, her parents, who have never approved of Denny, loom increasingly large. When Eve dies, they sue for permanent custody of Zo". Their case is weak until Denny is charged with rape: After a reunion of Eve's family shortly before her death, Denny gave a ride home to Eve's 15-year-old cousin, who attempted to seduce him; he rebuffed her but Enzo was the only witness. Eve's evil parents are behind the trumped-up charges. Noble Denny keeps fighting for Zo", living by his mantra, "That which you manifest is before you." When he almost buckles, Enzo provides some rather unique assistance. Pointedly inspirational. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Enzo the dog feels sure that his next life will be spent in a man's body. In preparation, he closely studies human behavior, and it's from Enzo's observant point of view that Stein writes his moving third novel. Enzo is deeply jealous when his owner, Denny, falls in love with Eve, but after baby Zoe is born, Enzo assumes his role as the family's unconditional protector, particularly after Eve is diagnosed with brain cancer. After Eve's death, her parents drag Denny into a bitter custody battle for Zoe, and Enzo, despite his canine limitations, passionately defends Denny and even alters the course of events. Denny is a race-car driver, and Enzo, who has watched countless televised races, folds thrilling track scenes and driving lessons into the terse family drama. The metaphors may feel purposeful, but readers will nonetheless delight in Enzo's wild, original voice; his aching insights into the limitations and joys of the canine and human worlds; and his infinite capacity for love. A natural choice for book clubs, this should inspire steady demand.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2008 Booklist


Library Journal Review

At the end of his life, a dog thinks fondly of his master (a racing-car driver) and expresses the wish to be -human. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapter One Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do in order to communicate clearly and effectively. In order to make my point understood without question. I have no words I can rely on because, much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and therefore, is a horribly ineffective tool for pushing food around my mouth while chewing, and an even less effective tool for making clever and complicated polysyllabic sounds that can be linked together to form sentences. And that's why I'm here now waiting for Denny to come home--he should be here soon--lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own urine. I'm old. And while I'm very capable of getting older, that's not the way I want to go out. Shot full of pain medication and steroids to reduce the swelling of my joints. Vision fogged with cataracts. Puffy, plasticky packages of Doggie Depends stocked in the pantry. I'm sure Denny would get me one of those little wagons I've seen on the streets, the ones that cradle the hindquarters so a dog can drag his ass behind him when things start to fail. That's humiliating and degrading. I'm not sure if it's worse than dressing up a dog for Halloween, but it's close. He would do it out of love, of course. I'm sure he would keep me alive as long as he possibly could, my body deteriorating, disintegrating around me, dissolving until there's nothing left but my brain floating in a glass jar filled with clear liquid, my eyeballs drifting at the surface and all sorts of cables and tubes feeding what remains. But I don't want to be kept alive. Because I know what's next. I've seen it on TV. A documentary I saw about Mongolia, of all places. It was the best thing I've ever seen on television, other than the 1993 Grand Prix of Europe, of course, the greatest automobile race of all time in which Ayrton Senna proved himself to be a genius in the rain. After the 1993 Grand Prix, the best thing I've ever seen on TV is a documentary that explained everything to me, made it all clear, told the whole truth: when a dog is finished living his lifetimes as a dog, his next incarnation will be as a man. I've always felt almost human. I've always known that there's something about me that's different than other dogs. Sure, I'm stuffed into a dog's body, but that's just the shell. It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human. I am ready to become a man now, though I realize I will lose all that I have been. All of my memories, all of my experiences. I would like to take them with me into my next life--there is so much I have gone through with the Swift family--but I have little say in the matter. What can I do but force myself to remember? Try to imprint what I know on my soul, a thing that has no surface, no sides, no pages, no form of any kind. Carry it so deeply in the pockets of my existence that when I open my eyes and look down at my new hands with their thumbs that are able to close tightly around their fingers, I will already know. I will already see. The door opens, and I hear him with his familiar cry, "Yo, Zo!" Usually, I can't help but put aside my pain and hoist myself to my feet, wag my tail, sling my tongue around, and shove my face into his crotch. It takes humanlike willpower to hold back on this particular occasion, but I do. I hold back. I don't get up. I'm acting. "Enzo?" I hear his footsteps, the concern in his voice. He finds me and looks down. I lift my head, wag my tail feebly so it taps against the floor. I play the part. He shakes his head and runs his hand through his hair, sets down the plastic bag from the grocery that has his dinner in it. I can smell roast chicken through the plastic. Tonight he's having roast chicken and an iceberg lettuce salad. "Oh, Enz," he says. He reaches down to me, crouches, touches my head like he does, along the crease behind the ear, and I lift my head and lick at his forearm. "What happened, kid?" he asks. Gestures can't explain. "Can you get up?" I try, and I scramble. My heart takes off, lunges ahead because no, I can't. I panic. I thought I was just acting, but I really can't get up. Shit. Life imitating art. "Take it easy, kid," he says, pressing down on my chest to calm me. "I've got you." He lifts me easily, he cradles me, and I can smell the day on him. I can smell everything he's done. His work, the auto shop where he's behind the counter all day, standing, making nice with the customers who yell at him because their BMWs don't work right and it costs too much to fix them and that makes them mad so they have to yell at someone. I can smell his lunch. He went to the Indian buffet he likes. All you can eat. It's cheap, and sometimes he takes a container with him and steals extra portions of the tandoori chicken and yellow rice and has it for dinner, too. I can smell beer. He stopped somewhere. The Mexican restaurant up the hill. I can smell the tortilla chips on his breath. Now it makes sense. Usually, I'm excellent with elapsed time, but I wasn't paying attention because of my emoting. He places me gently in the tub and turns on the handheld shower thing and says, "Easy, Enz." The Art of Racing in the Rain . Copyright © by Garth Stein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.