Tuesday, February 2, 2010
My initial thought was "someone should have warned me". Here I was, doing my daily exercising on the elliptical machine, finishing this book and SOBBING. Like ugly, red-faced, nose-running, uncontrollable sobbing. Still, I really have only myself to blame. There is a dog head on the cover, so I suppose crying is a given for me. I lost my yellow lab almost six years ago, and there isn't a day I don't miss her. So the book could be about dogs romping happily in a field of flowers, and I would still cry.
The book is both completely predictable, and highly unique. It is unique because the story is narrated by an elderly dog, Enzo. Enzo is a very bright, un-doglike dog, who has intelligent thoughts and complex reasoning. He has learned much about life as an active member of a family of three (Denny, Eve and their daughter Zoe), and from watching the television while everyone is away during the day. It is through Enzo's eyes that we experience this family's tragedy.
The book is predictable in plot. Eve discovers she has brain cancer, and the family is ripped apart. Denny must earn a living (full-time employee of an exotic auto repair shop, part-time race car driver), so while Eve is in the hospital, Zoe spends time with Eve's parents, who happen to be spiteful and mean-spirited. Bad things happen, and you can see them coming a mile away. There are so many bad things that happen, it made me uncomfortable. But Enzo believes in karma, which, in predictable novels, usually means the playing field will eventually be leveled and there will be rays of hope shine through at the end. And there was.
Throughout the book, there are lots of details provided about race car driving, and analogies made between racing and life. I'm not a huge fan of racing, so I was a bit ambivalent about these sections. It didn't necessarily take away from the book, but for me didn't add anything either. The one scene that will never leave my mind, however, is when Denny takes Enzo on a ride in a race car on a track. He straps the dog in, and away they go, Enzo having the time of his life, barking twice (which means "faster") throughout the ride. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I know, I'm a sap.
Some might find the anthropomorphizing in this book way over the top, and it is. I'd like to think that dogs can understand everything we say, and have favorite movie stars, and are interested in what happens to dogs when they die in Mongolia, but I'm kidding myself. I took it all in fun though. In this book, it works so well. One can only fall in love with Enzo's innocence, his loyalty, his sense of humor and this outlook on life. And boy does it make me want a dog.
Thanks go to James @ Ready When You Are, C.B. (and to Dakota for picking my name in the giveaway!) for sending me this book!
4 out of 5 stars