Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Gift for Myself

Reading and writing for grad class sent me into a frenzy of need for some really great literature and so I broke down and ordered a box of books from Amazon to soothe my broken spirit. My partial order arrived today and I greedily opened the smallest of the books, Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Unable to put the book down even knowing I had three more essay questions to write, I finished it at 2:19 a.m. this morning. Bleary eyed, swollen faced, tears streaming, nose completely stopped, fingers convulsingly grasping Gussie's soft fur, I admit to being in love.

I swore off dog books when Wolfie died. The dog always dies in these stories and I simply can't read books or see movies or even hear stories about dying dogs any more. I just break down completely and go back to that moment when Wolfie left me, taking from me the purest love I will ever experience, leaving me so alone . . .

I read the reviews of The Art of Racing on Amazon and thought, "Maybe just this once I could take a chance." I'm glad I did. The story opens, though, with the dog dying. I started crying on page one. But then I quit almost immediately. And the ending is so life-affirming that my tears then were not from such a desolate place.

The story and the message of the book are wonderful and touching and uplifting. If you like dogs, you must surely meet Enzo and his owner Denny, a race car driver. Enzo adores racing, watching television, and especially Denny. He deeply regrets not being able to talk and is sure that with an appliance like the one used by Stephen Hawking's, he could make himself understood by the humans.

This book is magic.

Wisdom from Enzo:
"That which you manifest is before you."
and "In racing (as in life), they say your car goes where your eyes go."
and "We had a good run. Now it's over. What's wrong with that?"
and most certainly "Somewhere the zebra is dancing."


snugpug said...

I read it last year ( -- sat up all night, finishing it cover to cover at one go. Wept buckets at the end. Then turned back to page one and started again. Great book, isn't it? Glad you loved it.

Margaret said...

We read it in Book club and it was amazing. It was so hard to read in spots, yet worth it in the end. I loved it!! It was even more interesting to us because it was set in our area.

Snowbrush said...

Interesting. I have dogs but rarely read about dogs, except for some of Edwin Way Teale's travel writings.