Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Racing in the Rain2


This is one of those books that’s been on the “to-read” list for a long time. Highly rated amongst friends, with many saying some variation of “I loved this book, but it just destroyed me. And now I want to hug my dog.”

Alright. So, I finally decided to pick it up. My verdict: I loved this book, but it just destroyed me. And I want to hug my dog.

This book struck a chord with me on a few different levels. First, and most obviously, as a dog owner. I kept glancing over at Benson as I read it and would involuntarily start scratching his head and wondering what he’s thinking about.

I felt that the asides about racing (like, straight up, actual car racing) were a little long and drawn out, but I get it and understand how it ultimately connects with the story. And it’s especially amusing the think of a dog who watches TV all day and really, truly understands what he’s seeing.

Secondly, the book resonated with me as a father. We ourselves had Benson with us long before we ever had kids, and they’ve since grown up around him and he’s always been patient and shown them love as well.

There were other parts that really affected me as well, that were downright shocking. I don’t want to spoil them. I would mope around the house with tears in my eyes after reading parts of the book and my wife (and Benson) would wonder what was wrong with me.

I think some of the emotional impact of this book has to do with confronting our own dog’s mortality. He’s a big dog, though not super old (as far as dogs go), but he’s starting to get mysterious lumps under his skin and having more difficulty walking up steps.


Let’s not forget that ending, oh man, I was just a weepy pile of tears by the time this thing was done.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I loved the first half of this book. A young woman living in France during the early 1700’s makes a deal with the devil (The Darkness) before an arranged marriage she wants no part in. However, due to how she phrased her request (you might say, “the devil is in the details“), the devil gives her the ability to live forever, but no one will ever remember her — this leads to situations where people forget who she is the moment she walks through a doorway.

Anyway, the first half of the book mostly dealt with her experience in the immediate aftermath and then a varying number of years down the road. The second half of the book takes place in more recent times and I couldn’t totally get into it due to a newer character that gets introduced and their desires, motivations, and personality.

My favorite parts were flashbacks to various points in history, where she is experiencing new / different places and figuring out the limits of this curse / deal that she had made.

Finally, there is an interesting little plot twist with this new character that comes to light in the last quarter of the story that ends up affecting how the book ultimately ends. But I still really had to force myself to finish the second half.