Once upon a time there was a wise dog. He knew his purpose in life and he wisely made a plan so it would be done. He wrote this book – “The Art of Car Racing in the Rain.”
At the same time there was a gentleman who lived the good life. He was a race car driver; he shared his knowledge of keeping the eye on the moment. He had a happy wife, a curious, beautiful young daughter, a home of their own, and a job.
He became so successful he was invited to race in competitions around the country, often away from his family three or four days at a time. His wife agreed it was a good life for all of them.
As sometimes happens, all went wrong. The wife becomes very ill; he can’t care for their daughter and keep his job that pays the new expensive bills.
Her parents offer to keep the young girl during the day, taking her to school and after school activities. They want the best for her. The wife comes home, unable to care for herself and the parents offer to care for her if she will live at their home.
Trouble was brewing. They didn’t like dogs, wouldn’t have him in. They didn’t ask the young man to live there – only to visit. One day he comes home to his lonely house and finds a warrant being served. It claims he’s not a good father – he’s never home, and the in-laws want custody. The wife is no longer living, so he has little support.
Trouble – you haven’t heard it yet, but you know it’s coming. He loses the custody battle; he is only allowed visitation under the in-laws supervision.
The court decides he cannot leave the city so there goes the job. The in-laws want financial support for the young girl. He sells the house they had long ago called home. He has nothing except his faithful, wise dog.
Fast forward – many years later the dog with a purpose is gone, but his plan survives. You won’t believe the ending. Good can come from the worst of times. Even sad stories can have a happy end.
In racing, as in life, you cannot win unless you finish. You cannot finish if you give in to fear.
The man and his four-footed friend had found companionship, communication, a sense of humor, a moment of wonder, hope in the face of despair, the thrill of racing, life’s highs and lows – love, death, betrayal.
It makes one wonder what our four-footed friends are thinking and planning. Where and how do they find the purpose or the wisdom to make it happen?
Review of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein; hardcover 2008, paperback 2009