Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stein, Garth (The Art of Racing in the Rain)

It's quite possible that the author wanted us to enjoy learning what it takes to be a great race car driver more than he wanted us to enjoy the other aspects of the story. It takes a certain amount of panache to make the telling of this family's story come from a dog's mouth (okay, a dog's thoughts). Because that can be incredibly cheesy. He didn't escape the cheesiness entirely. But he did convince me that race car driving is even more cool than I thought it was.

Telling the tale from a dog's point of view is the ultimate in anthropomorphization. Since it's obviously artificial, you have to hope your reader will accept the artificiality and go along for the ride. And, for the most part, I did. But when he had the dog expound on philosophical questions regarding life and family and what matters the most - it simply would not gel for me. IT'S A DOG. I completely understand that Stein is doing this to allow a wholly third party voice to speak about the human condition and thus bring some outside perspective to it but it was just too absurd. 

I way preferred learning about race car driving. His writing brought a whole different perspective to the sport (and I wouldn't have called it a sport before this, even having seen the Indy 500 myself). If Stein isn't a race car driver, he did a whole ton of interviews of race car drivers and a lot of research into racing and races themselves. I imagine if that's the case, it must have been worthwhile if only to write off that trip to Italy...

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