Study Guide

The Art of Racing in the Rain Chapters 51-55

By Garth Stein

Chapters 51-55

  • We want to call this chapter the one where Denny makes peace with the barnacle.
  • You'll see why.
  • Denny takes Enzo for a walk one fall night, and they stumble into Annika.
  • Wow, it's like she's Beetlejuice. Say her name three times, and she appears.
  • Rather than roasting her on a spit, as Enzo enthusiastically suggests, Denny approaches Annika with dignity, sits down at her table, and tells her all about what's been going on, what the charge of rape of a child means for him, what her actions have caused him.
  • Oh, snap. Things just got real.
  • Annika's left feeling like the barnacle she is—at least, we can hope.
  • Denny leaves, feeling better, and thinking Annika heard his message.
  • Enzo, while disappointed that no one got roasted, is happy that Denny feels better.
  • And now for something completely different, Denny's parents come for a visit.
  • Say what?
  • So, they do exist, after all?
  • Denny's parents are alive and visiting for a few days.
  • Enzo is as surprised as we are that there wasn't more pomp and circumstance for Denny's parents' arrival. After all, no one's ever seen them before. Enzo probably thought they were imaginary, too.
  • Denny's parents meet Zoë, and that night, Denny's father gives Denny a check for his bills, the lawyer's fees, all of it.
  • Maybe Denny's father is actually Santa, because what else would explain his absence from Denny's life and his sudden appearance with magic, problem-solving gifts?
  • Denny's father says it's a way for them to do right by his son, and it seems like this will speak of good things to come.
  • We love estranged family members who show up with gifts and money. Especially money.
  • We then another discussion on the detail-oriented driver mind.
  • We get it, Garth Stein—this book is about racing.
  • Denny, a racer in his professional life and personal life, is nearing his last lap.
  • Holy moly, this better be the last lap. We don't know how much more of a struggle Denny—or we—can take.
  • More news on the parent front: it's time for some backstory.
  • As it turns out, Denny's estrangement from his parents stems from his mother's blindness, and from the fact that Denny moved out after high school.
  • Huh, and we thought the 'rents just didn't like Eve, since that seems to be the in-law stance in this book.
  • Denny's parents weren't a part of his life until recently because they didn't want anything to do with him until he told them about Zoë. Then they promised whatever they could to help, as long as they could meet their granddaughter.
  • Zoë's just a little day-saver, is what she is, bringing people together over her cuteness.