Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Book Recommendation for Dog Lovers: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Dec• 08•17

Was just watching the sun rise over a stand of Douglas firs. Pale pink striations because we’re in the midst of a lovely dry spell. Winds have been whipping in from the Columbia Gorge, whisking away the leaves I needed to rake up. Although I enjoy raking, don’t you? I’m going out Christmas tree hunting this weekend and plan to hear some holiday music. So despite a virus that keeps warring with my immune system, despite the ongoing shit show in Washington DC, I’m going to focus on some magic in the coming days.

And in case you’re buying books for the holidays I want to suggest some gems for your gift list. I’m currently re-reading Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. The narrator is a dog, Enzo.         And if that sounds silly or gimmicky, it’s not. It’s profound, funny, heart-wrenching, and beautiful and will make you forget politics or your flu or your worries. I was reading it last night and practically wept it’s just so fine. I’d almost forgotten how much I loved Enzo’s voice.  He’s a racing fan and car nut. A philosopher who watches too much TV.  He loves his human companion Denny with such a complete and simple devotion and it’s also an adventure. Young adults will adore this story too.

Here’s the opening page:

Gestures are all that I have; sometimes they must be grand in nature. And while I occasionally step over the line and into the world of the melodramatic, it is what I must do to communicate clearly and effectively. In order to make my point understood with no question. I have no words I can rely on because, much to my dismay, my tongue was designed long and flat and loose, and is therefore, a horribly ineffective tool for pushing food around my mouth while chewing, and an even less effective tool for making clever and polysyllabic sounds that can be linked to form sentences. And that’s why I’m here now waiting for Denny to come home–he should be here soon–lying on the cool tiles of the kitchen floor in a puddle of my own urine.

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  1. It sounds like a book I should read. I trust you find some refreshment for your soul as you pursue that Christmas magic. I deliberately bought myself a new Christmas CD recently (I have so many I couldn’t really justify another, but the music of this season always raises my spirits). I made shortbread last night, too — the first of my Christmas baking except for November’s fruitcakes. The season of joy is approaching. 🙂 Wishing you peace and blessings, Jessica.

    • Jessica Morrell says:

      Hi Carol,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s touching, but not sappy. Instead it’s deeply affecting and makes you really think about grief, companionship, and loyalty.
      Wishing you lovely holidays, Jessica

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