I started reading The Art of Racing in the Rain a WHILE ago, when Jen got it for me for my bday. (hi Jen!) I started to read it, and it was sad, so I think I went on to happier books. It sat on the shelf, and was mildly ignored until recently - when I read it in about 2 days.
The premise of the book is that of the life of a race car driver / mechanic- Denny, who lives with his wife - Eve, daughter - Zoe, and best friend/dog - Enzo.
The story is told from Enzo's point of view; he believes the Mongolian legend that a dog who is prepared will be reincarnated in his next life as a human. Enzo spends his time listening and preparing for this, since he wants nothing more than to be a human. He is the comforter, friend, and ally to Denny and his family as they go through tough times with health issues and then massive family issues. If you've ever had a dog you were close to - you can imagine that the way Enzo understands, listens and thinks is what truly goes on in a dog's head. Unfortunately, dogs lives are shorter than humans, which is the worst part of having such a loyal, unconditional love in your life.
I recommend it - I loved Enzo's personality. I loved his loyalty and understanding of his family. I hated the inevitability of the ending, which is also part of the first chapter. Keep tissues on hand!