The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Garth Stein
Publisher:Harper, (5/1/2008)

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.44 out of 5 (16 Clubie's ratings)

Buy Now From
buy it now from Amazon
buy it now from Barns and Noble
buy it now from Indie Bookstore


Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny's wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.

Like this book? Then you might also like these...


loralee1085's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:4/20/2013

April 2012

Mildly Unleashable

Tudie2's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:10/18/2010


Shan's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:4/21/2010


Laura's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:1/22/2010


Unscribbler's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:12/7/2009

So moving, and sweet. It makes me appreciate my dog all the more for being here with me. Denny's courage and strength were inspiring.

Very Unleashable

Book Junky's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:8/9/2009

How can you not like this book? Seriously cute and such a tear jerker. Enzo, I just want to give you a big belly rub! You did such a good job of taking care of the family and especially Denny.

Very Unleashable

bshimoura's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:7/31/2009

This was a delightful book that I read in 3 days, so heartwarming; and with it narated by enzo the dog!!! A very heartwarming story, about a loving family; and the crisis that they go thru. I would read this book more than once, just for fun; and that is saying a lot!


Dia's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:7/20/2009

Very Unleashable

Bay Booksters's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:5/22/2009

Very Unleashable

Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:5/19/2009

I agree...the book was wonderful...kept you interested and so heartwarming.


Sam's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:3/14/2009

Loved, loved, loved the book. Though I did cry a lot, so make sure you have tissues handy. I really enjoyed that the story took place from the dog's point of view. As don't you just always wonder what they are thinking? I especially enjoyed when he had to recreate what he imagined about the events that took place when he was not present. I don't know why, but that really struck me as funny. And that darn Zebra! Sometimes there are things that just seem to haunt and taunt you, doesn't there? Overall, it's a very easy and enjoyable read.


Nick's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:3/14/2009

WARNING- do not read in public. I don't care how tough you think you are. You will cry when you read this book, probably several times. CLARIFICATION- Read in public when you read it the second time. That way you do not look like a wuss crying, but you look like a nice guy and girls will strike up a conversation with you. This is one smart, insightful and good dog! Everyone should be so lucky as to have a pet like Enzo. Happily, my dog, Wrigley, IS just as cool. She is sure to be a human next time around! The book is a very nice read and does make you think. Great quote, "No race has ever been won in the first corner... but plenty of races have been lost there." I bark twice at the book!

Very Unleashable

Ceci's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:2/28/2009

Garth Stein does a perfect job giving voice to the thoughts of canine narrator, Enzo . . . or, at least, Enzo says exactly what I would like to think my dogs are thinking. Enzo is a philosopher, a wry observer of human and animal behavior, loyal, kind, true, and always striving beyond his limits. He even babysits. How could I not love this dog? His companion Denny, a racecar driver spends most of the book learning to apply the lessons of racecar driving to the unexpected twists in life. The metaphors do hit you like a ton of bricks in this book, and there are some inexplicable character actions . . . but I’m not going to dwell on those. Enzo is a gift, and I would always be happy to take one more lap with him.

Very Unleashable

E's Reads's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:1/15/2009

Awesome! So unique! I couldn't put it down and I fell more in love with my dog Tessa than I already was! She still as her "thumbs"-- she is extra special! BC 1/09


JLo's thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:1/7/2009


Lauren M.'s thoughts on "The Art of Racing in the Rain"
updated on:1/7/2009

Beautifully done. Made me cry over and over!


"The Art of Racing in the Rain"
By Garth Stein

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.44 out of 5 (16 Clubie's ratings)

The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.

1. Some early readers of the novel have observed that viewing the world through a dog's eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human. Why do you think this is?

2. Enzo's observations throughout the novel provide insight into his world view. For example:

"The visible becomes inevitable."
"Understanding the truth is simple. Allowing oneself to experience it, is often terrifically difficult."
"No race has ever been won in the first corner; many races have been lost there."

How does his philosophy apply to real life?

3. In the book's darkest moments, one of Zoe's stuffed animals—the zebra—comes to life and threatens him. What does the zebra symbolize?

4. Can you imagine the novel being told from Denny's point of view? How would it make the story different?

5. In the first chapter, Enzo says: "It's what's inside that's important. The soul. And my soul is very human." How does Enzo's situation—a human soul trapped in a dog's body—influence his opinions about what he sees around him? How do you feel about the ideas of reincarnation and karma as Enzo defines them?

6. Do you find yourself looking at your own dog differently after reading this novel?

7. In the book, we get glimpses into the mindset and mentality of a race car driver. What parallels can you think of between the art of racing and the art of living?

8. The character of Ayrton Senna, as he is presented in the book, is heroic, almost a mythic figure. Why do you think this character resonates so strongly for Denny?

Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
Anything taunt you in your life like that Zebra seemed to taunt Enzo? For me it was a guy in college. If that guy was in the room, you can bet I was going to do something stupid. I did not even like the guy! But my stupidity seemed to follow every time I saw him.

Submitted by
< previous See All next >  

From Publishers Weekly
If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, Stein's third novel offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift as he pursues success on the track and off. Denny meets and marries Eve, has a daughter, Zoë, and risks his savings and his life to make it on the professional racing circuit. Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. Enzo is a reliable companion and a likable enough narrator, though the string of Denny's bad luck stories strains believability. Much like Denny, however, Stein is able to salvage some dignity from the over-the-top drama. (May) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

"Enzo ultimately teaches Denny and the reader that persistence and joie de vivre will see them through to the checkered flag. Stein...creates a patient, wise, and doggish narrator that is more than just fluff and collar. This should appeal to fans of both dogs and car racing." -- Library Journal 

How can we make BookBundlz even better? Tell us what you think would make this website teh best for book clubs, reading groups and book lovers alike!
 Apple iTunes

The author of two novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon, and a play, Brother Jones, Garth Stein has also worked as a documentary filmmaker. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Also, Don't Miss BB's
Author News Page!
Look for advice on everything from how to get your book published to promoted. We are looking to help you get the word out about your book!

Check out our...

of the Month