Friday, 10 August 2012

Learning From Man's Best Friend!!!

Well... I feel like we should discuss the books we read for July. Now I was naughty and only read one of the books. My used book store and my local library didn't have Major Pettigrew's Last Stand so I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Now this book really took me for a journey. From the preface I knew i would love it. But I found myself struggling to finish. I just felt so utterly betrayed by the twins (the grandparents)that I just didn't want to read anymore. But I just had to keep reading to see the end.

So because of my issues I am having a hard time thinking about what to discuss. So I cheated and found some questions online!

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?

I really agree with the greater appreciation comment. But I really think it is because we have such a Zen dog perspective. I think that if we had the dog from "Up" then we would think differently. I like that Enzo is such a deep thinker and yet he doesn't get into the naggy drama that we humans dwell upon.

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

Oh I completely did! While reading I kept wondering what Lucy (my 5 year old Shitzu/ Terrier mix) thought of how I treated her. I wondered if she thought I was babying her too much or if I spoke to her enough or too much. If she feels safe with us, or if she sometimes still feels like a visitor. (We only have had her for a year.) I wonder if she is very Zen or if she is as girly as I think she is.

To be honest it made me think a lot more of my dog’s outlook on things. I loved that!

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?

Now I could take this question several ways. Professionally our careers can be a race, or a marathon to see if/when/and how we can achieve our goals. In relationships I think it can relate to knowing your surroundings, your partner/team/significant other and what you both need to do to stay in sync and moving forward together to the next lap, or the next race.

Denny and Enzo and the way they relate racing into their whole being shows how preparation and planning and endurance relate to both life and racing. The twins also show that planning and knowing your course, your opponents, and your pace can pretty much determine your race. But only what you can control. The twins did all they could to achieve the win they wanted. But they couldn't completely control their opponent...Denny. (Sorry I'm probably not explaining myself very well..codeine does that to me.)

“That which you manifest is before you.” Garth Stein: “We are in charge of our own lives. We create our own destiny. And we have to take responsibility—a big job. If we delegate to people around us, we get what we deserve. If we really want something, we have to set our attention on it and do everything it takes to get it. . . . The energy we put out to the world is what the world becomes for us.” Is this true for the characters in the book?

All I can really say to those statements and that question is YES!!!
In life we get what we put into it. And we could see this with the characters in the book. It may not happen quickly but I do believe that we get what we strive for. My brain is getting a little too fuzzy. SO I will end it there!
Now discuss… and anyone who has read the other book… please post!


  1. Here's what I really love about this book:
    The dog is not telling telling the story as some observer on the sidelines- he is telling HIS story. He is talking about HIS family and HIS emotions and HIS frustrations, all of which go deeper than "I just want you to refill my water bowl."

    Unlike you, I hated the twins so much, I couldn't STOP reading. I think I finished this book in 2 days the first time I read it.

    I didn't read the other book, because it was on hold at the library and and I didn't get it until July 31st... sigh.

  2. I agree with Carrie--I had to make sure the twins didn't win!

    It's a classic tool of storytelling--to have an animal as the narrator. It forces you to see the world of humanity differently and maybe more objectively. I liked that Enzo's perspective helped me examine my own.

    I also LOVED when Enzo used his "dog-ness" to exact revenge on the twins...the whole pepper episode. I laughed out loud with delight. Perhaps not very Christian of me, but oh, it was brilliant.

  3. Carrie I totally agree with you on Enzo's life and story. He has such clarity is telling it, and yet it is so not self centered... if that makes any sense. I love it.

    My hatred of the twis ultimately brought me back to the book, but I just couldn't see how anyone could be so evil. Who could plan to hit a man/father when he was at his lowest. I just can't imagine that people like that exist. Through this book I found a tender and vulnerable spot in my heart that I didn't know existed.

    It really is a great book.

    PS Liz... I do love the doggy revenge that Enzo could dish out! =)