Originally reviewed 23rd May, 2011
I was rather sceptical about The Art of Racing in the Rain. I continued to be so as I read, even when I was more than halfway through. It bothered me: the description of Eve’s illness, the situation with Annika. And I wasn’t sure I was getting much out of it in return for getting so unsettled. I didn’t think that much of the narration — the conceit of a dog narrating the story. Parts just didn’t go together: you can’t have a really smart dog with ideas on philosophy who then gets confused about really simple things. Neither rang true.
But somewhere, around three quarters of the way through, I really began to care. And the emotional punches began to hit, until somewhere in the last fifty pages I found that I was tearing up that little bit (and I needed to blow my nose: gross, but true).
It’s still, honestly, a bit thin. The central conceit, Enzo’s narration, it really didn’t work for me. The story itself is believable, but the choice of narrator nearly killed it for me, before I even picked it up. It’s also totally unsurprising, in everything that happens, but the end borders on painfully cliché. I still liked it, in the moment, but it’s a flaw.
It’s not something I’ll reread, and I’m not sure I’d recommend it, but I’m glad I read through to the end.