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Experiencing 'Racing in the Rain'

August 12, 2019

I didn't want to go to the movies to see it, and my reservations had nothing to do with the film itself. I knew I would cry. 

 

And, boy, did I. 

 

I'm referring to the recent release of "The Art of Racing in the Rain," the movie based on the novel by Garth Stein.

 

So am I just a wimp that sobs at any movie? Uh, perhaps, but my reasons for being cautious about seeing the film were quite personal. 

 

I remember about ten years ago when I was still in the journalism game I needed coffee to make it to the deadline. While in line, I saw the novel I knew nothing about while waiting at the Starbucks near the office. The place was packed, so I had time to read the back of the book. 

 

I immediately bought it at full price for my wife with no expectation of reading the book. She loved it and urged me to read it. 

 

I read it in the spring, knowing it might be difficult. Why?

 

Well, we still had our dog, Maximus, when I was reading the book. Here's a photo of him enjoying his first true snow. 

 

When I was making my decision to read "Racing in the Rain," Max was getting older (about 13 at the time), and wasn't sure I wanted to read a "dog book."

 

See, I was scarred by "Old Yeller" from a very early age, and sometimes don't feel like being triggered by how so-called dog stories tug at the heartstrings. 

 

But I read it anyway. 

 

No book or movie spoilers here, I promise. However, Max was diagnosed with cancer that fall and died in September.

 

I still miss the little guy.

 

Every. Single. Day. 

 

Nevertheless, I had no interest in revisiting the story. My wife loaned the novel to a friend at work, and I haven't seen it since. 

 

Then, we innocently went to the movies and saw the trailer for "Racing in the Rain." 

Oh, no. 

 

We saw it last Saturday. From the beginning (the very first scene!), I knew I was in trouble. 

 

So without spoiling anything, allow me to say the movie did not disappoint. A big congratulations to everyone involved. I am usually careful with movie adaptations of books that made an impact because I fear they cannot live up to the images I created in my mind while reading.

 

However, this film lived up to my expectations and surpassed them. I know there were changes to the tale, but the main story is all there. I am still reeling from the experience. It moved me, as I always knew it would. 

 

It's a great story about life and family. It's more than a "dog movie." 

 

Just don't expect me to see it again anytime soon. I need more recovery time. 

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