My absolute favourite book of the year (and now one of my ALL TIME favourites) is...
The Art of Racing in The Rain
by Garth Stein
I know what you're thinking, because if you haven't read this, you will have one of two responses:1) Aww, it's about a dog. How cute.
2) Really... from the perspective of a dog.. mm, no thanks.
I am yet to convince one person to read this. That doesn't mean I have stopped trying. This book is more than anything you can grasp from the synopsis. The only character I have ever loved as much as Enzo (yes, he's the dog) is Anne of Green Gables. Enzo will forever be racing the track in my heart.
The story begins with Enzo as an aged dog, slowly losing his canine agility and spunk. He has had a full life and he knows it -- full of drama, excitement and more love than you can imagine. As he confesses his wish to be put down by his beloved owner Denny, Enzo decides to take us back over his years with Denny and his family. We go back to square one when Enzo is a puppy that Denny brings home. Enzo is there through the heated excitement of a new love when Denny meets his wife. He becomes the guardian of Denny's daughter and eventually, Denny's sole supporter in a severe court battle.
Enzo claims to be a philosopher -- an educated dog. When Denny leaves for work, he leaves the TV on. Enzo learns that in Mongolia, when a dog dies, his tail and paws are cut off and he is buried in the hills, where his spirit can run. If he has lived a full life, he may come back as a man. And Enzo is ready.
I had seen this book plenty of times at the bookstore and even gawked at how adorable the cover was -- but it was by a dog (yes, I said it too). When the director of my Humber program read it and became the gushing enthusiast I am now, I decided to give it a shot. I read EVERY spare second I had. I laughed out loud on the bus to school (I'd quote it, but out of context, it would just sound odd). Then .. (and here's the good part), I sobbed in class.
5 minutes before the conclusion of lunch, I had 15 pages of the book left. Everything was coming to a close and I HAD to finish. When my teacher began talking, I slipped the book under my desk and kept reading. My friend Liz kept nudging my arm but I couldn't stop. Then, I started crying. So yes, I was sitting there, eyes in my lap (not a big class either.. I was clearly noticeable), crying. At the last sentence, I started sobbing. I actually had to get up and leave the room, still clutching the book, because I couldn't stop crying.
All that said -- here is my plea. Please read this book. It will be one of the most heartwarming reads you will ever have. Whether you have a dog, love animals or neither -- it makes no difference. It is phenomenal. Please get yourself a copy. Enzo awaits.