The Art of Racing in the Rain is an emotional rollercoaster of a story. Told from the perspective of his rapidly aging dog, readers become acquainted with the life of Denny. Enzo, the dog, knows he's dying so he recounts his life in narrative form in order to help prepare to say goodbye to Denny forever. Through Enzo's eyes readers learn about Denny's relationship with Eve which blossoms into a marriage. They have a child, Zoe. When Eve dies of a terminal disease, she leaves Denny in the midst of an ugly child custody battle with her parents, which he eventually wins.
Stein gives readers a snapshot into the brief nature of life. With mortality constantly on the mind, Enzo's narration provides a solemn insight into his owner's life. Since Enzo lives only a piece of Denny's life, his perspective offers an arc. He views this chapter of Denny's life through the lens of his own, which means readers only know as much about Denny as Enzo learns during his lifetime.
As far as books about family and loss go, this one is heartwarming. Enzo's death looms over readers' heads the entire length of the book, but they are consequently able to interpret the events in light of their finality. Simple moments between a man and his dog turn into almost sacred memories because one has to remember that this is all Enzo has. His entire life is dedicated to Denny, so this sweet reminiscence is incredibly powerful. Through the dog as an intermediary, Stein manages to paint a portrait of how grief serves to unite a family, which is the most important part of life.