Study Guide

Maxwell and Trish in The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Garth Stein

Maxwell and Trish

Marriage Makes the Heart Grow Colder…and More Evil?

No, Maxwell and Trish aren't really twins, but Enzo likes to think they are, since they always dress alike, and, after being married for so long and raising a family together, they've probably begun to look alike, too. You know couples like this, wearing their matching Bermuda shorts and floral print button downs, sipping their spritzers in straw hats and playing shuffleboard on weekends.

Okay, Maxwell and Trish never actually play shuffleboard in this book, but we can totally tell it's something they'd do.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Jerk Face

The Twins act more like two halves of a whole, with Maxwell definitely acting as the leader. They walk alike, they talk alike, they look alike, in their matching khaki slacks and polo shirts and short haircuts. It's weird. We're not into it.

Of the two of them, Maxwell's the leader. He's the louder one, the more confrontational one, and the one who starts all the drama and has harsh opinions that he feels no problem telling you. It's Maxwell, not Trish, who gets in Denny's face and tells him that he regrets the day Denny met Eve (29.109). Ouch. Why not just throw pickle juice in his face, Maxwell, while you're at it? That might hurt less.

Maxwell would definitely be the kind of parent to tell you Santa wasn't real if it meant that you'd grow up to become a lawyer or a banker instead of whatever you wanted to be.

Trish is more of a peacekeeper, but she does it in a way that indicates that she's quietly pushing her own agenda and couching it in niceties. Like, "Oh, of course, we want what's best for all involved, and of course you can have a chocolate chip cookie—here, have two—but let's go back to talking about world domination, doesn't that sound nice?"

Our biggest glimpse of their personalities comes during the conversation they have after Eve's death, when Enzo and Zoë are staying with them for the weekend and they're talking about the newest lawsuit against Denny. Of the two of them, Trish is the one who shows empathy for Denny, saying, "I know it's for the best, but I still feel badly for him" (39.14). She's also the one to suggest that perhaps Denny is not entirely guilty of the rape charge, bringing into question the timing of Annika coming forward.

Maxwell, not one to have his opinion go unheard, steamrolls over her: "I don't care about any of that. He wasn't good enough for Eve and he's not good enough for Zoë. And if he's stupid enough to get caught with his pants down and his pecker in his fist, you're going to be damn sure I'm going to seize the moment" (39.35).

Thanks for that imagery, Maxwell.

They're Not All Bad, Are They?

Well, maybe this is like Wicked or Maleficent, where the villains are actually the misunderstood heroes of their own.


Well, we tried.

Finding the goodwill to like Maxwell and Trish is complicated, because, from Enzo's perspective, there's nothing to like about them. They roll into the picture when Eve gets sick, bully Denny into letting Eve and then Zoë stay with them while Eve's health declines, and then bargain for custody of Zoë the day after Eve's death. And by bargain, we mean try to force Denny to give up his daughter.

It's also hard to see how and to what degree these two grieve for their daughter, since that's not something they do in front of Enzo, even when they're alone with him. From his point of view, they seem completely focused on their own needs, and they seem never to care about the thoughts and feelings of anyone else.

When they talk with Eve, for example, they don't seem to talk about her happiness; they just talk about how bad Denny is for her and how he doesn't contribute to her family (15.11). Meaning he doesn't make enough money to make them happy, because they only judge a person's worth based on how much money that person makes. Gross.

The Twins also don't consider how their desire to keep Zoë could ruin Denny's life. They could be nice and try to compromise with Denny. Heck, they could work out a situation in which he has primary custody but they act as caretakers when he's away or chip in for her college tuition if they really want to. Instead, they try to push him out of the picture completely and take over Zoë's life (29.50). When Enzo's over for the weekend, they cook Zoë a meal she doesn't eat, and then they don't take the time to ask her what she does like or make it for her (39.42).

From our perspective, they're just selfish, unhappy people who eat demon peppers and don't have enough diversity in their wardrobe.