I have recently read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This novel has truly changed my life. It is from a dog's point of view, and although this is written as a piece of fiction it gave me the perspective of a dog as misunderstood creatures. Stein portrayed dogs as being extremely intelligent creature and actually being able to sense when humans had cancer because their "super power" was their sense of smell. This novel is specifically from a dog named Enzo point of view. He writes in first person, about his life story as a pet of a man/idol/racer Denny Swift. This truly inspiration piece of work brought me to river of tears. It was a beautifully written story that engaged with animals and human conditions, and how both man and dog over came them. I relate this to our reading this week on Black Beauty. We got to read from a well tempered horse's perspective, and his views on animal cruelty and seeing the humans world through an animals eye. This is very much like the purpose of Art of Racing in the Rain although the plot deals less with animal cruelty and more with the way humans should look at dogs, for they have souls just like us, and knowledge of certain aspects we are blind to as humans. Enzo sees the struggles even the most kind families and generous go through, and how sometimes life can hurt even the strongest people. When this occurs all Enzo can do it be the best dog/friend/protector to his family that he can be.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the Art of Racing in the Rain
1)“That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”
2)“That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me.”
3)“You should shine with all of your light all the time.”
4)“My soul has learned what it came to learn, and all the other things are just things. We can't have everything we want. Sometimes, we simply have to believe.”
5)“Inside each of us resides the truth, I began, the absolute truth. But sometimes the truth is hidden in a hall of mirrors. Sometimes we believe we are viewing the real thing, when in fact we are viewing a facsimile, a distortion.”
6)“I know this much about racing in the rain. I know it is about balance. It is about anticipation and patience... [it is also] about the mind! It is about owning one's body... It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you.”
I also want to add that this would be a great book for next year's class. If you haven't read it already, its a fine literary work that engages with dogs.