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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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16 / 50 books. 32% done!

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21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

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22 / 100 books. 22% done!

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58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Friday, September 03, 2021

Overhyped Dog Novel Just Doesn't Resonate With Me

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

At ten years old, Enzo knows his life is coming to an end.  He doesn't mind.  As a dog whose soul is "very human," he's pretty sure he's going to be reincarnated as a man, a prospect he's very much looking forward to.  After all, Enzo has been studying humans his whole life.  Not only has he watched a considerable amount of educational television, but he's also been observing his owner, Denny Swift, ever since the race car driver brought him home as a puppy.  With all the wisdom he's gathered, Enzo knows he'll make a stellar human.

As Enzo ruminates over what he's learned from a canine life well lived, he tells the story of Denny's life—from his career as a pro race car driver, to his marriage to Eve, to the birth of their daughter, Zoë, to how everything changed when Denny began to lose all of them.  Like all faithful companions, Enzo is there through it all to mourn with his best friend, cheer him on, and lick his wounds (sometimes literally).  Along the way, he learns some great lessons about what it means to be human.  

I'm not a big fan of stories narrated by animals, so I have given The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein a wide berth for a long time, in spite of the many rave reviews it's gotten.  I only decided to take it on because I needed a new audiobook to listen to and my library seemed to have nothing else that was immediately available.  Although it started as a reluctant listen, I ended up finding the novel compelling enough to finish.  Did I love it?  Can't say that I did.  Do I understand why it's so overhyped?  I do not.  The story moves at a glacial pace for much of the book, although it does pick up after the Big Event happens.  Problem is, I hated the direction the tale took at that point.  It wasn't what I expected or wanted.  Thus, the read just felt sad, depressing, and...ugh.  I did finish the book, like I said, but I found The Art of Racing in the Rain to be an average read at best.  Part of the problem, I'm sure, is that I don't love animal books and I have no interest in car racing; a lot of my issues, though, stemmed from a story that just didn't resonate with me.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), sexual content, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. This book moved way too slow for me. I didn’t finish it. And I’m a big dog lover!

  2. I think animals and dogs make GREAT characters in books, but side characters. I read another book that was 'narrated' by a dog, and I didn't love it. But, I love it when dogs, cats or other pets are part of the story, but not the main character!

  3. I'm not a big fan of books narrated by animals either.

  4. Too bad this one was a flop for you! I read it when it first came out and remember really liking it, but I like animal stories and am a sucker for the emotional so those elements all worked for me.

  5. Finally...someone agrees with me about this novel. I ended up somewhere between hating it and finding it a ludicrous waste of time. It's so overwritten and over-the-top sentimental that I never took it seriously at all. Talk about over-hyped; this is the prime example of that.

  6. I'm not a big fan of books narrated by animals (Bunnicula is the primary exception). I think I'll take a pass on this.

  7. I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain!!

  8. I love animals, but like you I'm usually disappointed by a book that features them. I've stayed away from this one for a while and don't think I'll be reading it any time soon.

  9. I've only seen the movie and that was OK! Maybe in this case the movie is better?


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