The Quirky Ladies is a group of eclectic (and dare I say quirky?) ladies who are passionate about writing romantic fiction. All types of romantic fiction...paranormal, fantasy, historical, erotic and contemporary. Bring it on!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life Lessons from a Dog

I belong in a book group, and once in awhile the group's selection is one I would not pick up on my own. Last month's choice was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is the story of Denny Swift who is trying to become a professional racing car driver, and it is written from the point of view of his dog, Enzo (seriously). I had little interest in a dog's narration, and I have blogged about my illiteracy with cars. This book was not for me, so it was with pleasant surprise that I found myself falling in love with it. Go figure.

Denny repairs high end cars while he struggles to become a Formula 1 racing car driver. He marries Eve and they have a little girl, Zoe. Their family story takes a detour when it hits a series of roadblocks (racing analogies litter the book). Eve gets sick and Denny finds himself in a bitter custody battle for Zoe. The book became a page-turner that had me staying up way too late to get to the end of the race. And it was well worth the ride.

Not everyone in my book group gave it the five star rating that I did, but it made me realize that once in awhile, you should listen to a friend's recommendation and pick up a book you might not otherwise read. Depending on what road your book travels (hard to resist those driving analogies), you might fall in love in a romance, visit an exotic land through a travel memoir, or learn some life lessons from a dog. I did.

Listed below are just a few of Enzo's tips to navigating a smoother life course or at the very least, becoming a better driver. Enzo collected these aphorisms through racing with Denny or watching Formula 1 racing videos. Makes me reconsider what t.v. shows I watch in front of my dog. I might have to tune into the Dog Whisperer and get Ceasar's help to teach my dog to stay off my living room couch....

How do you drive in the rain? Very gently, like there are eggshells on your pedals and you don't walk on them.

We are the creators of our own destiny.

Getting angry at another driver for a driving incident is pointless. You need to watch the drivers around you, understand their skill, confidence, and aggression levels, and drive with them accordingly.

The true hero is flawed -- and a hero without a flaw is of no interest to an audience.

To voluntarily restrict one channel of information is foolish for a racer; to allow information to flow unfettered is divine.

The race is long -- to finish first, first you must finish.

There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

You can't exist as a separate entity. You must give yourself over to the race. You are nothing if not for your team, your car, your shoes.


Dalton Diaz said...

I can think of a few more life lessons from a dog that may not have made it into the book:

Don't eat the yellow snow. I left it there.

If you run out onto the racetrack, it's all over.

Of course I'm hungry. I'm ALWAYS hungry.

Penelope said...

This book sounds fantastic!

My favorite bit of advice is...There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose.

That is awesome! :)

Michelle Picard said...

What a great recommendation! I'm itching to zoom out (ha ha) and get this book. It sounds really poignant too. Maybe even because it's told from the dog's POV. Emotion can be so much more powerful when you see it from the outside.