Brushes: Thanksgiving week is a great time to reflect on our blessings. A few of the many things for which I’m thanking God this week are a loving and supportive family, great friends, health, a beautiful world, and time to create art. This week’s paintings–a trilogy called Complements–pays tribute to the beauty in the small things around us as well as the abundant gifts we receive from God.
Books: I recently finished listening to The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and I have mixed feelings about the book. It was a selection for one of my book groups; the discussion was a lively one and most of the group loved the story. Very briefly, it’s the story of a man, Denny, currently working as a mechanic, who would like to be a race car driver. He has a wife, a young daughter, and a dog–and the dog narrates the story. The wife develops brain cancer and dies. Her parents decide to try to gain custody of their granddaughter and find a way to get Denny accused of sexual contact with his wife’s teenaged cousin. The story was compelling, but the use of the dog as the narrator created some problems. The dog was, of course, unable to be an eyewitness to critical portions of the story, such as the courtroom scenes. And not enough of the history of Denny, his wife, and her parents was included to make the actions of the her parents believable. I also felt that the philosophical lessons/extended metaphor of how to live life according to the principles of good race car driving were a bit heavy-handed. I get it already: the car goes where your eyes go and it isn’t all about going as fast as you can.
Overall, this was a decent novel with some major flaws…and it made me cry my eyes out. Not recommended while driving.