Completed in 24 hours... that's a new record for me. I guess I just really wanted to experience this book for the sake of my own two dogs. I know it's just a novel, but reading a book from a dog's perspective really did mean a lot to me. Life appreciation lessons couldn't come from a more apt teacher!
I really felt emotionally connected to it from the start, and probably because of the gimmicky cute fluffy puppy. So sue me. Stein may have banked on everyone grabbing a hold of his protagonist because no non-animal lover would read this to start with, but I didn't feel that he crutched on it when formulating his story; and that's a big compliment. Gimmicks are easy; give a kid a fatal illness, or mean parents, and of course you find yourself all ready sympathizing. Enzo the dog wasn't described as a fluffy puppy; he wasn't detailed in his young puppy glory getting into typical, enduring puppy shenanigans that made you squeal. It was nonchalant, which made the story more about his watching Denny's experiences than about Enzo's "dog-ness."
Through watching the Swift family grow and slowly fall to tragedy, emotions beautiful and oftentimes heartbreaking were enhanced by the wisdom within Enzo's narrative. He's a philosopher, as I feel most dogs have the ability to be. Stein's story shows that "man's best friend," however sexist a phrase that may be, really does share sympathy, love, faith, and perseverance with their soul mate, as Enzo did with Denny.
This is a book full of heart and passion for living, through the puddles and storms that dampen. You may cry. I nearly did. I stopped on a number of occasions that night, put the book down, and hugged my dogs. I highly recommend it to the animal lovers; someone who enjoyed The Alchemist, or even The Time Traveler's Wife.