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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.   From Garth

Book Club Ideas

The outfits worn by some of the book club members involved similar themes:  dogs, race car driving and zebras.

Art of Racing What to Wear, zebra, ferrari

Isn’t Jeno’s dog paw necklace awesome?   She bought hers at a fundraiser, but click on the picture for a similar one.

Dog paw pendant


We mainly decorated in a race car theme using kids’ birthday party supplies.  We also placed ominous zebras around the room.


For drinks we served Italian wines and decorated the drink table with cars and zebras.

Italian wine The art of racing in the rain.

To celebrate the birthplace of Ferrari, as well as where “Enzo” and Denny meet again, we served Italian food.  Out of respect for Enzo and the rest of the animal species, everything was vegetarian.  Several of the recipes below were inspired by recipes from Vegetarian Times magazine.

We made a batch of Fresh Pesto and incorporated this ingredient into many of the recipes.

The menu consisted of:

Italian food menu for art of racing in the rain by garth stein

Vegetarian Italian Food

Book Club Resources


“The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and–most especially–the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human.” – Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants

“The perfect book for anyone who knows that some of our best friends walk beside us on four legs; that compassion isn’t only for humans; and that the relationship between two souls…meant for each other never really comes to an end.” – Jodi Picoult

My review 4.5 stars.  The Art of Racing in the Rain is about a philosophical, television-watching dog named Enzo, who dreams of the day he becomes a man.   He gives us his wise (and comedic) observations of the world as he helps his owner, a race car driver who faces a series of heart-wrenching experiences, along the right path.   Whether you have a dog or not, this book will make you laugh and touch your heart.

About the Author

garth-stein For information on author Garth Stein click here.

Additional Resources

Ayrton Senna

Here is more information about the 1993 European Grand Prix and Ayrton Senna.  I do not follow racing so the name Ayrton Senna was new to me, but his grave attracts more visitors than the graves of JFK, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley combined.  He was also somewhat philosophical himself.  Click here for a list of his quotes.   I wish I could have been there when he said “The danger sensation is exciting. The challenge is to find new dangers.”

Enzo watches a lot of television and he goes through a list of his favorite actors and movies:

1.  Steve McQueen because of  Le Mans and The Bullet, which according to Enzo are the two greatest car movies ever made.  Also because of Pappillon because Enzo knows what it is like to be locked in a prison cell waiting for a metal bowl of under nourishing slop.

2.  Al Pacino:  Enzo thinks Bobby Deerfield is an under appreciated film.

3.   Paul Newman for his excellent car handling skills in Winning.   Enzo also notes that he like Paul Newman because he purchases his palm fruit oil from renewable sources in Colombia thus saving the rain forests.

4.  George Clooney because he is clever at helping cure children of diseases in reruns of ER and because he looks like Enzo around the eyes.

5.  Dustin Hoffman because he did great things for the Alpha Romeo trademark in The Graduate.

6.  Peter Falk because of his role as Colombo, the greatest of all police dramas.

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  1. This book is so wonderful! I cried buckets when I watched the video in this post!

    Comment by Annie