Good Monday morning! It’s Day 6 of our 30 Day Book Challenge. And our untimely topic for the day is… “A Book That Makes You Sad.”
I took me a while to decide what to choose today. I’ve read a number of heavy heart-wrenching books with sad unfortunate abusive, dysfunctional or heart-broken stories. But I can’t think of one that made ME sad… until I remembered, Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain“.
This book was written entirely in the dog’s perspective. I love dogs and I’ve always wondered what goes on inside their brain. So discovering this book was akin to finding a hidden gem. I loved it! It totally changed how I perceived dogs and their relationship with humans.
Basically, Enzo (the dog) knew he was different from the very beginning. He truly believes (from the bottom of his heart) that he will be reincarnated to a human in his next life. Therefore, he works hard to learn “the art of being human” by watching television extensively, observing people, and listening very closely to the words of his master Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. It’s interesting because while he is learning from us, he observes and identifies our incongruities – the illogical things humans still do though it goes against common sense. Enzo shared really insightful thoughts, powerful words, and much-needed life lessons. Smart (philosophical) dog, this Enzo! Also, since his owner is a racer, don’t be surprised with all the sports references – after all, we’re all in a rat race.
Here are some words of wisdom from Enzo for your bumper stickers: (Image source: Leestoops)
- “There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.”
- “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.”
- “I cannot talk, so I listen very well. I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like being a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street…Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.”
- “The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague… So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is compromised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication.”
- “To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to.”
- “When I return to the world, I will be a man. I will walk among you. I will lick my lips with my small, dexterous tongue. I will shake hands with other men, grasping firmly with my opposable thumbs. And I will teach all people that I know. And when I see a man or a woman or a child in trouble, I will extend my hand, both metaphorically and physically. I will offer my hand. To him. To her. To you. To the world. I will be a good citizen, a good partner in the endeavor of life that we all share.”
Honestly, I was crying through most parts of the book. Denny and Enzo have the perfect owner/pet relationship we all wish to have. Denny, down on his luck and leading a challenging life, was still so caring and loving to Enzo. He makes time for Enzo, plays and walks with him, and defends him to his in-laws. He was a very kind master who treats Enzo like his best friend – confiding to him about problems and how he’s dealing with them. Similarly, Enzo was very understanding of Denny to the point of defending him (in his thoughts). If only, he was not limited by his “loose-muscled tongue and lack of opposable thumbs.” Plus, while Enzo thinks like a human, his dog instincts still hinders him to fully act so. He had this whole emotional struggle with Eve, Denny’s wife, that was just so moving. Everything was tugging my heartstrings and making my heart wrench.
Eventually, I reached the point when Enzo was about to die… I couldn’t stop reading nor crying. Who am I kidding? I bawled when Denny held his beloved friend in his arms and said, “It’s okay. You can go.” But, my oh my, when I reached the ending… Gaaaaah! I can’t even describe how I felt. I vaguely recall tears, pillow, sleep… which I’m off to do again now. Just read and figure it out yourself.