Location: Lounge

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

Individual Discussion Agendas:


To begin the discussion I think we should start in one large group. If we feel that it would be easier to be in smaller groups to make anyone more comfortable, we can divide into two groups of four.
1. Strategy A- "Whip"- Each member of the group briefly states how they feel about the book and one thing they learned from it. This will continue until every group member has spoken.
2. At this point each person will either read their creative assignment out loud or ask the other group members to read them silently on the wiki page. At this point all group members have a chance to respond to each members creative piece. if questions or ideas arise from these pieces discussion of those ideas can occur at this time. This activity will continue until all group members have shared their creative assignment and ideas brought up have been discussed. Maximum of 40 minutes.
3. Strategy G- "Passage Path"- Either in response to an idea brought up by a creative piece or in bringing about a new idea or discussion, members of the group can read a passage of the book that seemed significant to them. They must explain its importance to the book, and connect it to the overall theme of the book or to an idea previously stated. This will occur for a maximum of 30 minutes.
4. Strategy D- "Open Discussion"- This will allow anyone in the group to freely speak. They can pose a question, share a passage, speak an opinion, or start any other discussion strategy. This will take up any time left from previous strategies.
5. I. Channel the Author:
1. Divide group into two.
2. Each Mini Group composes a question directed to the author.
3. One mini group goes first and asks the other group their question. The other group gets a minute to confer and then a minute to respond to the question in the voice of the author.
4. The whole group can openly discuss the response and ideas it generates.
5. Repeat the steps with the other mini group's questions.

5. Tara: Also if we run out of time I found an interesting interview with the author. He brings up some interesting ideas that would make a good discussion.

Tara Humphries
Alicia Rodriguez
Emily Davison
Emily Rafferty
Max Murray
Elizabeth Asbell
Caihlan Snyder:
Caroline Sée
Eryn Dioli

Start with an opening Whip:

  • How did you like the book?
  • How did you respond to a certain character
  • What do you care about most in the book?
  • Describe your level of understanding

Then move into an open discussion for a half an hour:
Opening question: What did this book make you think about in your own life?

Next move in to Another point of view:
Try thinking about a scene from Denny’s point of view, Or Eve’s or the daughters...

Finally End with a quick whip:
  • What comment made today most affected your thinking?
  • what have you learned most about the book. the issues raised by the book today
  • what questions still linger for you?


Creative Assignments:


Person one: I just finished the book Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, you should read it, it was great!
Person Two: Really? I read that book a while back and hated it. What did you like about it?
Person One: It is so unique! I love that it is writing from the point of view of a dog.
Person Two: I think the idea was good, but I didn’t really like where the story went.
Person One: What do you mean?
Person Two: When I heard about the book I was so excited! It seemed like a really cool concept. However, I feel like most of the book had too much drama in it.
Person One: Well, I feel like the drama helps connect you to Enzo and the family.
Person Two: It just seemed over done, for me it didn’t connect me to the characters, it just annoyed me. Maybe it was just because I had been expecting a different book from the beginning.
Person One: That’s probably it, I went in to the book not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. I loved seeing the dynamics of the family from Enzo’s point of view. I also thought it was cool that we were able to see Enzo’s frustration with the fact that he wanted to be a human man.
Person Two: I will say, that was my favorite part of the book. It was cute and funny hearing Enzo go on about his desire for “opposable thumbs,” but don’t you think they went a little too far with the car racing topic?
Person One: I’ll admit, sometimes I did get a little bored with the car racing, but I think it added to the plot line and it wasn’t over the top.
Person Two: I guess so. Well it was great being able to talk to you about the book, you really pointed out the positive aspects I never saw before.

(Haiku Poem Series from perspective on Enzo):

NewRaised on a grand farman apartment and one manThis is my new life
Speed‘Bark to go faster’I feel light like I’m flyingthen I bark two times
InvisibleMe Denny and EveThink I prefer two of usmaybe I’m jealous
CompanyWatching old race tapeseven though I’m just a DogI feel less alone
WalkLong walk through the mistor is mist the same as tears?and then I see Eve
Caihlan Snyder
Person One: Hey, you read The Art of Racing in the Rain, right?
Person Two: Yeah, you did too?
Person One: Mhm I really liked it. Did you think it was good?
Person Two: No, I didn’t think it was the best.
Person One: Oh, Really? What didn’t you like about it?
Person Two: I really didn’t like the way that all the metaphors in the book involved racing cars. I don’t know a lot about cars, or racing so I found it hard to relate. I also didn’t really understand the conflict resolution. It seemed abrupt and for no good reason.
Person One: Hmm, I see your point, but didn’t you find it interesting that the book was from the point of view of the dog?
Person Two: I guess that’s true, it would be a real challenge to write the book from the point of view of an animal.
Person One: I thought it was a very original idea. It created a picture in the readers mind of what dogs might actually be thinking about our lives. I also thought that the character development was great, and allowed you to be emotionally invested in the plot, especially during the difficult struggles that Denny went through.
Person Two: I sort of see where you’re coming from there...
Person One: It must have taken a lot of creativity for the Author to put himself inside a dog’s head and write about what Enzo’s reactions to the situation would be.
Person Two: If you put all the car racing aside, I guess it was actually a pretty interesting concept.
Person One: That’s how I feel too. I can see where it might have been difficult for you to grasp the metaphors and themes without a basic knowledge of racing. I picked up a lot of facts about racing and drivers though. Didn’t you think it was interesting to learn some things about the lives of really famous drivers?
Person Two: Some of the stories were interesting, yeah.
Person One: If I had read the book and been in your shoes I probably wouldn’t have liked it much either.
Person Two: Yeah, It was cool getting yo discuss the book with you. I’ve been dying to talk about it someone ever since I read it.
Person One: Agreed. I always enjoy hearing differing opinions on books I’ve read because it gives me greater insight into the book and helps me begin reading my next book with a broader perspective.


Max Murray
I rub against Denny's leg.
"There's my Enzo." He says
He reaches to pet me and upon his touch I feel my legs give out and I fall to the cold tile floor. Denny is immediately standing over me.
"Zo, you okay?" He asks.
No I am not okay. I am sick. I am tired. I am old.
"It's okay," he says. "You can go."
But I am not ready yet. There is still so much I must do.
I will myself to stand. Denny is supporting me before I am completely upright.
"What do you need?" He asks.
I hobble to the door and pick up my leash.
"Are you sure, Zo?"
Yes, I am positive.
He clips me into my leash and we walk out the door. We take the elevator because Denny is afraid I will fall, but I am not worried.
It is cold and the sidewalks are wet with rain. I only wish to run again and play fetch with Denny and Zöe. I begin to tug on the leash towards the park. Denny does not resist.
There is a busy street next to the park but today it is almost deserted. Denny is wary when we cross streets now after my accident. He waits until the sign tells us to walk, and we begin to cross. Then we hear the car horn.
Denny is suddenly in front of me shouting with all his force. Next I hear the screech of brakes and Denny is sent flying behind me. Even though my legs ache terribly, I run to him.
Denny's breathing is ragged and strained.
It's okay Denny. You can go.
"Zo," he says, "You were always my best friend."
I know Denny. I hope you drive fast in heaven.
His body goes limp. I lay down beside him and nuzzle his hand. It is cold. For the first and final time in my life, I realized that I truly loved Denny, and Eve, and Zöe. I wait until the ambulance comes. Denny is gone.

Ally Knoll (Next four poems)

Zebra

There is no argument.
A Zebra can simply not be evil.
It would take a miracle, for one,
For stuffing to suddenly give birth to life
let alone a killer.
This mass murder,
A sea of little clouds strewn about,
Treasure turned to dust bunnies,
Scraps of skin,
Torn flesh,
Missing eyes and limbs.
A Zebra?
Not possible.
But then, an empty house
With stunning lack of bipedal presence
Holds no thing capable of such crime as this.
It certainly could not be I,
Man’s best friend,
Who out of spite and jealousy
Destroyed the existence of things she loved so dearly.
They could make her smile as much as I,
And the twinkling bell of her laugh sounded not just at the wag of my tail,
But at these breathless toys.
They cannot chase or tag,
Or even bark other than mechanically.
Is their cloth pelt really much softer than my golden fur?
Does my rough tongue on her hand and face
Not convey enough love?
Perhaps the Zebra was justified,
Seeing what these empty-lunged creatures steal from me.
But there he is too, on the floor,
White guts spilling through a stitched frame,
How sad, he was consumed by his evil too.
What a shame.
How powerful jealousy is in taking its servants.
And my head rests on the floor
As I sigh in embarrassment for him.
A piece of cloth blows out my muzzle.
All I can see of it is black and white stripes.
The Zebra seams abstract I don't really understand the whole Zebra thing I think it is kinda abstract how a stuffed amimal zerbar be passed and make things happen. Can someone tell me more about the Zebra.
The Torture of a Dog

Death has a smell,
And not one that people passing roadkill
With open windows on a highway complain of.
If you smell death before the kill,
Inhaling its anticipation of a new victim,
Yu would never complain of decay again.
Death before death is much worse.
Imagine coming near someone,
An embrace or handshake,
Passing the bread from one end of the table to the other,
And just catching a whiff of something in their presence.
Picture having your source of devotion
Lean down to pat your head
Only to allow a foul stench curl into your nose.
It reeks of something dark to come,
Like that ever suspenseful calm before the storm.
Heaviness in the air,
Life slipping, leaking, draining
Ever so slowly into the Reaper’s goblet.
There is something in her growing,
And the odor radiates from it.
Her head, that’s the source.
Something fungal breeds death in there,
Swallowing her as she carelessly avoids
The inevitable.
Just imagine staring into her eyes
And having death stare back,
Feeling the soft tint of evil in her breath on your face.
Imagine knowing that soon
She will be just another taken by death,
Like the helpless victims of cars on the freeway,
That disgusts people so much.
Now imagine not being able o tell her
When it might save her life.
That is the torture of a dog.

Knowing

They say the blind can see
With four other, stronger senses.
What they hear is louder,
Feeling more powerful,
And the world comes at them in different ways.
Does this mean that a being with no words
Can understand more clearly?
Sixth sense, maybe,
Is not the future before it happens,
But understand the clues,
The signs that no one sees,
Because he can only look and not ask for them.
Maybe a dog knows
Because the world comes to his silent presence
In a way that words could never tell.
Maybe he sees the patterns and connections
Because he cannot share it with anyone,
And hears only others’ voices,
Never his own.
The smell of death, the feeling of true joy,
The sweet taste of destiny,
Or the stench of defeat and fear.
The dog, he knows it all.
He watches laughter leave the mouth,
Hears tears hit even soft grass,
And sees life drain away silently from whom he loves.
But he most not speak,
Or the world’s whispers to him
Will stop.

Bump in the Road

There is a road.
No, a path more so
Something cut through a wild, untamed wilderness.
All variables change in each moment,
A sort of succession occurring at even the slightest passing of time.
Snap decisions must be made
Or one would certainly lose way.
As a car passes over that road,
barely scraping the surface of it,
The driver's hand flashes as the vehicle sees a bump in the way,
And the car swerves sharply,
Altering the coarse forever.
Once he is off one road he is on another,
Unable to return to his original path.
And in trying to avoid the bump,
The inevitable block in the way,
The driver has changed his destination completely.


one question that I have throught the book was why would the Grandparants can make up such a horible lie about Denny that he raped Annika juts so they can get cousitdy of Zoe? I find that so selfish. They may think that they are better gardens for Zoe because there more expericenced. I think that Denny should have custidy of his kid with out argument. I also think that eventho the grandparants think that there experanced I don't that that would nesseraly be true because time have changed sence they were parance.I think the gradparance are mean and unfair to Denny. Any thoughts about this?

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Dialogue
Eryn Dioli

Maura: Hey Jen! I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain and I absolutely loved it. Have you finished it yet?

Jen: Actually I just finished it last night. I did not enjoy it quite as much as you, in fact, I hated it.

Maura: Did you really? Why is that? Having the story be from the perspective of the dog was so different and interesting!

Jen: Yeah sure maybe for a children’s book. I just thought it seemed a bit ridiculous after awhile. I mean seriously? He’s a dog who watches TV and thinks he’s a wise philosophical thinker. That just doesn’t happen.

Maura: Well it was certainly creative to give that dog such a brain. It was so cool how he was able to pick up on so many different things going on because he was a dog. He could feel the anxiety, fear or tension in situations and he could even smell Eve’s brain cancer before she knew she had it.

Jen: That was just absolutely frustrating that he knew she had cancer and could do nothing. It may have been interesting that he could do that, but it’s not like that matters if she dies anyways. Not to mention when she died, those grandparents were absolutely insane. I almost stopped reading the book because of how horrible they were. I really did hate them.

Maura: Yeah I would agree that the grandparents were pretty awful. I really did love how Enzo dealt with them in his own way. I mean, you say you thought it was stupid that it was from the perspective of the dog, but if he wasn’t a dog, he wouldn’t have been able to take a massive poop on their expensive carpet. That was a nice way of giving them a taste of their own medicine.

Jen: A dog pooping on your carpet is much easier to deal with than the trial they put Denny through though. That was just so unnecessary of them to bring him up on false charges of sexual interactions with that obnoxious cousin that threw herself at him at the family reunion.

Maura: Yeah that was pretty crazy that they did that. But in the end they lost Zoe anyways, so they got what they deserved at least. Not to mention, with Denny’s perseverance through the whole trial, he caught the attention of Luca Pantoni they man all the way in Italy who offered him a job test driving Ferrari’s. If he hadn’t had to struggle as much as he had, he may not have gotten the great opportunity he ended up getting.

Jen: Maybe he wouldn’t have gone all the way to Italy to have a great opportunity, but I bet he would have had some great driving career in the end.

Maura: The point of the book really wasn’t that he had a great career in the end. The point of the book was really the love that Denny had for his daughter and how he would do anything, and did, for her.

Jen: Really? I just thought that the point of the book was that the dog thought he was a genius and knew almost everything before the people even did. Which to my point, is ridiculous.

Maura: Well, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on the quality of the book. I for one really enjoyed reading from such a different perspective and seeing all the ways in which a dog can bring people happiness and comfort.

Jen: That’s nice you enjoyed it, but I’m sorry I just really didn’t. Something about the over intelligence of the dog and those grandparents, I just can’t really get past that stuff!

Maura: Well it was good catching up with you, hopefully you like the next book you read more!

How do you think the book would be different if the book was told by a different charters point of view like Denny or Eve's point of view?



Caroline See

The novel, The Art Of Racing In The Rain, by Garth Stein is told from the point of view of Enzo the dog and main character of the book. I’m going to re-tell the scene that takes place during February break at Eve’s families house where Annika, a cousin, starts to flirt with Denny. I chose to re-tell this scene because I feel the a dog can not know what a man feels when some thing like that happens, even a dog as smart as Enzo. The scene starts out at the house. Annika sits next to Denny at dinner by the fire. She eventually ends up getting a ride back home with Denny. Annika then ends up planing to stay the night. It is all fine and dandy until she comes into Denny’s room wearing nothing but a robe and tries to sleep with him.
“What the hell Annika? What do you think are doing? This is totally inappropriate, your just a young lady and I’m a grown man. This is illegal. I hope that you know that. I mean my god first of all it is wrong because of the age difference and you are one of Eve’s cousins and lastly I just lost my wife! God I can’t stand to even talk to you right now. I have to go! I sure hope that you think about your actions!”
Now in the next room with Enzo, I am already sad and depressed and now she shows up and makes me furious on top of everything that I have to deal with. I don’t want a relationship of any kind right now especially with that girl or any girl of that age for that matter. I’m just not ready. You understand don’t you boy? I just don’t know what to do? I want to go home but Zoe is having so much fun here and I don’t want to take her away for this. I guess it is just for a few more days. How much more can she do?
Later after dinner, sitting around the fire, Annika is sitting next to me and flirting with me. I tell her that I just can’t be around her because what she is doing is just too wrong. So I tell her that I’m going to bed because I don’t feel good, which is not the truth, but I had to leave the room at that point.
Back in his room Denny talks to Enzo before going to sleep. “Oh Enzo I don’t know if can stand her for three more days. I’m going to have to go. It is good for Zoe to be away from home for awhile and it is good for me too. I just wish that she was not here.”
For the next few days I spent the day on long walks with Enzo, watching tv or reading in my room. I only came out to eat dinner or play with Zoe. When Zoe or the others asked why I was not around that much the past few days I told them that it was because I was still depressed to be around people and that I just came for Zoe so she could get out of the house for a bit.
Finally the day came when it was time for us to go home. It was a snowy, horrible day but I had to get home. I could not stay there any longer. I had work the next day and Zoe had school. Before we were about to leave Annika asked if she could have a ride home because she did not feel comfortable driving herself in such a storm. Now I was trapped. I did not want to be rude and turn her down but at the same time I did not want to give her a ride. In the end I did what I thought was right and gave her a ride on the one condition that she would not speak the whole way home. She agreed and got in the car and we were off. The trip was a long ten hours. It is normally six but because of the storm some roads were closed leading us to take the long way home. As we approached Annika’s exit she decided that it was to late and inconvenient for me to stop at her house so she asked if she could spend the night. At this point I was furious but to tired to argue with her and explain to her why I did not want her to stay the night so reluctantly, I let her. I was fine until she decides that she really likes me. I went straight to bed and she took a shower. When I was sleeping she came in to my room with nothing but a robe on and then tried to sleep with me. I awakened in shock and madness and yelled at her and then drove her home. After that I never saw her again because she moved and I was very happy.


Emily Rafferty
5W
Mrs. Tommaso
The Art of Racing in the Rain: Alternate Ending

Denny’s POV:
I’ve never been more drawn to a puppy since the day I got Enzo, my old lab who passed on about two years ago. Our life in Italy has been going extremely well, Zoe is now 8, and while I still miss Eve every day, I have re-married, which I’m sure Eve would have wanted. Zoe is attending an Italian school, and is becoming very fluent in speaking it. My racing career has taken off, I have won many races in the past two years that I have been here.
My wife, Isabella, suggested we get a new dog, to have someone else to care for, and to complete the family. I reluctantly agreed, not having had a dog since Enzo and knowing no dog could replace him. I didn’t think I’d have a bond with another dog, but as soon as I met him, I knew we had to have him. We named him Maxwell, just to throw some English in, Zoe spoke it often at home, for fear she would forget it all together, and Isabella was completely Italian, so we have been teaching her some English.


Maxwell’s POV:
I was just playing around with my brothers out in the field, when our master came and snatched us up. “There are some people here to look at you boys.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. They wanted to look at us? I don’t know what’s so exciting about our looks. He took us out onto his driveway, my mother and sisters were there, too. I saw a little girl playing with one of my sisters. There was a tall man and a woman standing behind her. I went over and sniffed the little girl, she smelled like she had just eaten. She must have had meat. I wish I had some. “Hi, little fella” she said to me. I yapped back at her as if to say “Hello.”
She picked me up and pet me. I licked her face. She giggled. “Daddy, I like this one.” she said. I guess she liked me. “He’s a cute one, come here little guy.” he said. She passed me over to him. He started to pet me, he smelled of motor oil, which was a little gross, but there was something about him I liked. I don’t know what, but I did. The woman came over and pat my head. “I like him.” she said. “We’ll take this one” he said to my master. I hated to leave my brothers and sisters, but I knew I was going to a good home.