Returned to them like a boomerang

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile from Garth Stein.

I can’t remember who recommended the book The Art of Racing in the Rain to me. I knew it was about a dog and I’m more of a cat person, so that wasn’t a selling point.

I also hadn’t heard of author Garth Stein. As a result, his book languished for many months (perhaps even years?) on the “to read” list I store on my cellphone. The book must have walked off the shelves and into my hands at the library, because, finally, I took it home, and reluctantly, I started to read.

Astonishingly, I was charmed. Written in the first person, from a dog’s point of view, the book explains that dogs are eventually reincarnated as humans. Now, I’m not easily conned. And I’m not predisposed to anthropomorphizing. Especially not about dogs. But I loved this explanation.

I also enjoyed Garth Stein’s writing style. Here’s an example of a simile he employed that worked for me:

They smelled rank. Even when they showered they put on their same sweaters without washing them and their sour odor returned to them like a boomerang.

That’s the dog talking about some of his human’s (skiing) friends. I liked that the simile depends on a boomerang — an item that a dog, in particular, would appreciate. That sort of attention to detail makes The Art of Racing in the Rain one of most pleasing novels I’ve read so far this year.

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