THE ART OF BUILDING A GOOD LIFE WELL LIVED-Review of “The Art of Driving in the Rain

– A Book Report and Movie ” – by Gary Smolker, book reviewer, movie critic and values critic

The Movie “THE ART OF DRIVING IN THE RAIN” Is A Censored Version of the Book

Both the book and the movie are about a young man Denny who is a hero, his heroic selfless loving dying wife EVE, his loving young daughter ZOE, the family dog ENZO, and the EVIL COUPLE.

The EVIL COUPLE are EVE’S extremely wealthy complain about everything”, “know it all”,  manipulative parents.

The EVIL COUPLE constantly complain about everything and everyone.

They are self-absorbed parents.

They are self-absorbed grandparents.

Their conduct is manipulative, deceitful and out-of-bounds.

Death by Brain Cancer

EVE has brain cancer and is dying.

EVE and ZOE temporarily stay with EVE’S grandparents, the EVIL COUPLE, the moment EVE comes back from the hospital to recover from her brain surgery operation to remove the cancer tumor growing in her brain.

Building Dramatic Tension

There are many major differences between the book and the movie.

Dramatic Tension

The tension in the book is very high, a very dramatic fight for custody of ZOE initiated by the EVIL COUPLE after EVE dies.

EVE dies after a heart wrenching fight against brain cancer.

All during her battle with brain cancer, EVE unselfishly and lovingly attends to Denny’s emotional needs.

After Eve dies, the self-absorbed nothing is good enough for them EVIL COUPLE sue to get sole custody of ZOE.

The EVIL COUPLE believe they can provide a better life for ZOE with their money than can hard working decent young Denny who is starting out and just beginning his career as a race car driver.


In the book a 15 year old promiscuous sexy young woman wrongfully accused Denny of raping her.

Criminal charges are filed against Denny.

As a result of that accusation, the EVIL COUPLE GRANDPARENTS are awarded temporary custody of ZOE during the custody battle for sole custody of ZOE launched by the EVIL COUPLE.  Denny is not allowed to have custody of ZOE pending the outcome of a criminal trial.

That doesn’t happen in the movie.


In the movie, Denny is accused of thoughtlessly, in an angry rage, pushing ZOE’s grandfather down which resulted in the grandfather breaking a rib.

Criminal charges are filed against Denny for his alleged violet attack on EVE’S overbearing grandfather.

As a result of that accusation, the EVIL COUPLE GRANDPARENTS get to have sole temporary custody of ZOE. Denny is not allowed to have custody of ZOE but is eventually allowed visitation pending the outcome of the criminal trial.

That doesn’t happen in the book.


In the book, Denny runs out of money.

Denny sells his home to obtain necessary funds owing to his lawyer and so he will be able to continue to pay his lawyer to continue to represent him in his custody fight to regain custody of ZOE, and to continue to defend him in the criminal proceeding initiated by the EVIL COUPLE, ZOE’S manipulative grandparents.

That doesn’t happen in the movie.


In the book, Denny is kicked out of the cemetery during the burial of his wife by the EVIL COUPLE’S two sons.

That doesn’t happen in the movie.

Philosopher Dog

ENZO is a philosopher dog.

ENZO narrates the story in both the book and in the movie.

While narrating the story, ENZO comments on many contemporary social issues including the husband and wife couple who sold ENZO when he was a very young puppy to Denny.

In both the book and in the movie, the following exchange occurs after Denny tells the couple that he has chosen to purchase ENZO:

The puppy’s owner tells Denny, “That puppy is the pick of the litter. We were thinking of keeping him.”

ENZO comments after the man says that – in both the book and in the movie, “He says that to every purchaser about each and every puppy chosen to be purchased when the prospective purchaser asks,How much for that one?’”

I wrote nine pages of things said by ENZO while ENZO was narrating the story “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”


“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a philosophical discourse on the topic: How to live a well lived good life!


Copyright © 2019 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

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