Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein
336 pages



*** The Plot ***

I liked the summary I read at this site so I'm just going to copy it here:
On the last night of his life, Enzo (a dog) reflects on the life he has shared with his human family: Denny, Eve, and Zoe. Through Enzo's eyes (an interesting perspective), we witness the best and worst of human behavior and learn a little something about car racing, too.
Of course there is much more to the book than that but that IS the gist of it.


*** My Thoughts ***

Bloggers have been raving about this book for quite some time now. I recommended it to a friend (before I read it myself) and she loved it. In fact, she and her sister both nominated it for our book club to read. I wasn't sure it was exactly my kind of thing but I figured I'd give it a shot ... and then I got a copy from a publicist, so I figured I was "meant" to be reading it right now.

It just took me a few days to read. The plot moves along quickly, Enzo is a unique narrator, and the writing is well done. On the whole I thought it was good. Not great, but good. If I had to describe it in one word I'd say ... cute.

Maybe I'm callous, I don't know, but I just didn't LOVE this book as much as most other people seem to. I love dogs so that is not the problem. I'm glad that I read it and I have a list of people I'll be recommending it to, but I won't be counting it among my favorites of the year.

Sometimes discussing a book at book club changes my opinion of it somewhat; I'll be interested to see if that happens with this one. I'll be sure to update you after our meeting on 7/19.

(Garth Stein is rather attractive, don't you think?)

*** What Fun! ***

Despite my rather luke-warm feelings about the book I do have to say that the marketing that has been done for this book is FANTASTIC. Garth has a wonderful website (www.goenzo.com) chock full of interviews, photos, and promotional material for readers to play around with. I made a custom poster for my book club's meeting, printed some decorations, and even found a link to make iron-ons for t-shirts! There are also discussion questions for book clubs - always a helpful thing. Plus there's a video of Enzo, which I posted on my book club's blog. I had a blast preparing for this book club meeting, thanks to all the materials available from Garth.

By the way, that is Garth with his dog, Comet, in the photo. Comet was the model used for the US hardcover edition of the book. I learned that from Garth's site too. ;)


*** Movie News ***

The book is being made into a movie! Here are the details, as found on Haute or Not:
We had the great pleasure of meeting with Garth Stein the other evening before a book signing here in Miami and he wanted to give Haute or Not? Readers an “inside scoop.” Stein has just signed a deal with Universal Studios to film the movie, The Art of Racing in the Rain. It will star Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy), who we absolutely love !!!
So, what do you all think about that little bit of news?


*** Other Links ***

16 comments:

Meghan said...

It's a shame you didn't love this like everyone else! I haven't read it yet but I always wonder if books that receive universal praise are going to work for me.

Anna said...

I'm still on the fence with this book. I'll wait and see what you have to say after the book club meeting.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Heather J. said...

Meghan - I didn't go into it expecting to love it, simply because I (like you) don't always trust the hype. So I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't blown away either.

Anna - I know some of the other gals LOVED it, so I'm sure the meeting will be interesting.

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book - sorry you didn't. I'm a big dog person, though.

Ti said...

I didn't love it either, but the end brought it together for me. I am going to post my review today or tomorrow.

TK42ONE said...

How funny. I just got a copy of the audio version of this from my mom. Guess we'll see if it's worth it.

trish said...

Dang! I'm bummed you didn't love it as much as I did. I dunno, I just connected with Enzo's philosiphizing style. I'm interested to hear how the book club meeting changes your opinion, but I'm inclined to say you still won't love it. That's okay though. :)

ANovelMenagerie said...

I didn't love this book, either. I gave it an above average rating in my review (I reviewed it when it was just released in hardback). I voted against it for book club because the book didn't do much for me. I guess I'm not into racing too much.

Sheri

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

First things first - yes, Garth Stein is attractive!

I haven't yet read THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, but it is on my wish list ... so many books, so little time :)

Heather J. said...

bermudaonion - I know several of the book club gals loved it ... to each their own, I guess. :)

Ti - I'll be watching for your review tomorrow.

TK42ONE - I'd be interested to see how the audio book compares ... be sure to let me know what you think of it.

trish - I'm so glad you still like me! ~LOL~

ANovelMenagerie - I didn't do too much for me either ... for me, there wasn't anything all that original in the message I think.

Dawn - I'm so glad you agree! And I hope you enjoy it when you do get to it.

Literary Feline said...

For me, it's the fact that the book is told from the dog's point of view which makes me hesitate. I've heard such great things about it--just as you have. I'm sorry it wasn't better for you, Heather.

Heather J. said...

Literary Feline - I'm not one for talking animal books but this isn't really like that. In fact, I sometimes enjoyed the fresh perspective that Enzo gave to the scene. Other times it did annoy me though ...

Lit and Life said...

I liked this one more than you, I think but not as much as a lot of people. It did stay with me. It took me a while to get past the "dog as narrator" thing but then I kind of forgot that Enzo was an animal. I did get a little tired of the racing. I listened to it on CD and I think I would have skipped over some of the racing if I had been reading it.

Heather J. said...

Life and Life - I've heard that the CD was very well done. Personally I liked the racing parts, but I'm a NASCAR fan so that may be the reason ... :)

Serena said...

I haven't read this book, just like I haven't read Dewey. I just can't seem to wrap my head around an animal focused book.

Heather J. said...

Serena - To be honest, it was better than I expected ... and I usually avoid animal-centric books.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin