Study Guide

The Art of Racing in the Rain Money

By Garth Stein

Money

Chapters 6-10

When it was just Denny and me, he used to make up to ten thousand dollars a month just by calling people on the telephone, like the commercial said. But after Eve became pregnant, he took his job behind the counter of the auto shop that serviced only expensive German cars. (7.1)

It sounds like Denny's old job was clearly raking in the big bucks. Coupled with his personality and his cute dog, it's no wonder Eve thought he was a keeper.

Chapter 11-15

"What is he contributing to your family? You make all the money!"

"He's my husband and he's Zoë's father, and I love him. What else does he need to contribute to our family?" (15.11-12)

Great burn, Eve. You tell 'em. We would like to be more analytical here, but really, we're just impressed that Eve is so levelheaded even though her parents are callous jerks.

Maxwell and Trish, the Twins, lived in a very fancy house on a large parcel of wooded land on Mercer Island, with an amazing view of Lake Washington and Seattle. And for having such a beautiful place to live, they were among the most unhappy people I've ever met. (15.2)

It's not surprising that despite the Twins flaunting their social status and financial stability, they're unhappy, since they find fault in everything. They live in a McMansion, and they're still unhappy. What do they want? Oh, wait, we know this. They want custody of Zoë.

Chapters 16-20

Denny looked down at his shoes, the same old three-quarter boots he liked to hike in; he wanted a new pair, I knew because he told me, but he didn't want to spend the money he said, and I think he held out hope that someone would get him a pair for his birthday or Christmas or something. But no one ever did. (19.34)

Denny's frugality regarding himself translates to generosity for his family. It indicates a certain amount of selflessness, because he doesn't want to go out of his way to spend money on himself when what he has is fine, though he also knows that new boots aren't as necessary as groceries.

Chapters 26-30

"Do I have a lawyer?" [Denny] said to himself. "I work at the most prestigious BMW and Mercedes service center in Seattle. Who does he think he's dealing with? I have a good relationship with all the best lawyers in this town. And I have their home phone numbers." (29.121)

Sometimes money isn't as important as social standing, and in this case, Denny can use his job to his advantage by maintaining a good relationship with the lawyers who have the fancy cars he maintains. Sneaky move, Denny, but we like it. Sometimes connections can get you everywhere.

Chapters 36-40

I understood, ultimately, that the court case earlier in the day was not Denny's criminal trial, but a custody hearing, a hearing that had been delayed over and over, put off for months because the lawyers were going to their houses on Lopez Island with their own families and the judge was going to Cle Elum to his ranch. I felt betrayed; I knew that those people, those officials of the court, had no clue as to the feelings I had witnessed that night at the dinner table. (40.43)

This serves as both an emotional disconnect and a financial one. It shows us that while Denny and Zoë and Enzo are down in the trenches dealing with their problems, the ones making the decisions about their lives are so far removed from the situation that, to Enzo's mind, they seem totally oblivious to it. It's okay, Enzo. We hear Lopez Island doesn't even have Jennifer Lopez living on it, so it's clearly overrated.

Chapters 41-45

"Denny paid his account with Mark Fein. Shortly afterward, Mark Fein was appointed to be a circuit judge, something about which I know little, except that it is a lifetime appointment, it is very prestigious, and it is not refusable." (45.1)

So long, Mark Fein. We hardly knew you. There may be honor among thieves, but there's no honor among lawyers—at least this lawyer.

Chapters 46-50
Luca Pantoni

"You would be provided with an apartment for you and your daughter. And of course, a company car—a Fiat—as part of your compensation package." (50.59)

When Luca shows up, it's like Christmas. It's also interesting to note that for all the financial trouble he's in, Denny doesn't even ask about the salary when Luca first tells him about the job, even though with all the benefits, the money has to be good. The job is what interests him the most because he'll be getting paid to do what he was born to do.

Chapters 51-55

I learned that his parents had not paid for his testing program in France, as Denny had claimed; he paid for that with a home equity loan I learned that his parents had not contributed to the sponsorship of the touring car season, as Denny had said; he paid for that with a second mortgage, which Eve had encouraged. (55.2)

Although Denny's social standing and financial stability is evident throughout the book, he always presents himself as someone who has everything under control. Enzo, for one, never knew where some of this money came from, which show us that Denny is more of a private person than we thought—and that his parents had been less of an influence in his life than we'd imagined. Seriously, we thought they weren't even real until we got to Chapter 52.

[Mike and Tony] didn't live far from us. Their house was small but represented a different level of income; Tony had stood in the right place at the right time, Denny said, and would never have to worry about money again. Such is life. Such is manifesting. (49.2)

Mike and Tony—unlike the Twins, who seem to throw their money around and invest in grand expenditures—live comfortably and securely. This also makes them seem like nicer people, since they don't rub their financial status in anyone's face.