The Art of Racing in the Rain

This book was first brought to my attention by a friend on Facebook several months ago. To me, any book with the word “racing” in the title is of immediate interest, so I went off to the iTunes Store to see if it was available as an audiobook. It was, but at the time for the kingly sum of $24.95. “Whoa!” I said to myself, “I like racing books as well as anyone, but do I want to pay 25 bucks for a story told by a dog? After all, how good can it be?”

Fortunately, another friend had already purchased the book on CD, and he offered to loan it to me. Voila! The best of both worlds. The audio version of this book isn’t the only one out there, of course. It’s currently available in paperback from Amazon.com for only $8.99 or as a hardcover for $16.29. I’ve found, however, that in my old age I much prefer listening to books to reading them. For one thing, my eyes are not what they used to be and, to be truthful, neither is my attention span. I’m far more resistant to the urge to doze off when listening to a book than I am when reading it. Besides, I can listen on my iPhone when I’m taking my daily walk or waiting at the doctor’s office for that prostate exam.

So, armed with my borrowed CDs, I began to investigate what a dog can possibly have to say about racing in the rain. Enzo the dog is owned by Denny Swift (yeah, I know the name is corny), an up-and-coming young racing driver. Enzo knows that he too could be a pretty darn good human if only he had two things…the ability to speak and opposable digits. Alas, this is not to be in his current lifetime, but maybe he can achieve it the next time around by listening and learning what being human really means. Throughout the book, Enzo proves to be remarkably adept in his ability to communicate when it really matters, despite his shortcomings, as he helps Denny navigate the good times and a remarkable string of pitfalls that threaten to completely break his owner’s spirit.

It takes surprisingly little time to get used to listening to a story told by a dog. By the second chapter or so, it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to be doing. As the story unfolds and things go from good, to bad, to worse the narrative draws you further and further in, and if the ending doesn’t move you, you’re cold and hard enough to submit a request to the funeral home for an early burial. I was pleasantly surprised by how thoroughly I enjoyed this book, and my guess is that if you’re a race fan with a fondness for dogs, or a dog fan with a fondness for racing, you’ll enjoy it too.

Thanks, Elliot, for saving me 25 bucks!

P.S. It’s down to $20.95 at the iTunes store now.

Voodoo Bob

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