There was a lot of buzz about this book a long time ago, and now I’ve finally read it. Glad I did, but turns out it’s not a keeper for me. It’s the story of a family falling apart after the mother’s illness- from the viewpoint of the dog, named Enzo. Who is so intelligent he’s like a human trapped in a dog body, unable to speak, bemoaning his lack of opposable thumbs, trying to embody what he sees as admirable human traits because he hopes when he dies, to be reborn as human. So, some parts are good. The family story is heartbreaking, but at the very end things turn out better for everyone. The father is a race car driver, so a lot of the metaphors in the book wound around that- an activity I knew nothing about (and had little interest in) but it caught my interest just because of the novelty. Especially the ideas that focusing on being in the moment, or projecting yourself ahead to the next thing, that would actually give more control to what’s happening now. We’re talking about controlling the car speeding through turns or avoiding crashing on wet surfaces (hence the rain part of the title- as the guy excelled at racing in dangerously wet weather) – but it also applies to the dramatic arc of what happens to the family. Navigating their way through some devastating circumstances to come out alright in the end. I’ve read books before written from the viewpoint of an animal who can understand speech, but this one felt a bit off to me in that regard. There were parts where Enzo very much showed his canine nature, and other parts felt incongruous to that, where he waxed philosophical (heavy on the racecar metaphors) or went on and on about what he learned from watching television- and his detailed knowledge of cars, film actors and legal proceedings just made me roll my eyes. I can’t imagine any dog, no matter how gifted with human-level intelligence, being so interested in such things, or able to glean that amount of understanding from television viewing and conversation eavesdropping. I can see why people compared this to Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Life of Pi, but for me it doesn’t quite measure up. Not as easy here, to suspend the disbelief.