Study Guide

The Art of Racing in the Rain Money

By Garth Stein


Money—who has it, who needs it, and how those who have it can exploit those who need it—plays a big role in The Art of Racing in the Rain.

Take Trish and Maxwell, for example. They grill their daughter about Denny's contributions to the family and deem Denny's financial standing inconsequential enough for them to suggest taking custody of Zoë after Eve passes away. What, only money makes a good parent? These two think that because they have money, they would be able to take better care of the kid than her own father could. Couldn't they have just offered to pay for her college tuition and let Denny keep his daughter?

Throughout the novel, in fact, we see how access to money determines which characters will get respect, social standing, even justice. Is it just us, or is that messed up?

Questions About Money

  1. Why do Maxwell and Trish think that Denny can't support their daughter or their granddaughter? What does this say about their opinion of his financial standing, and of their own financial standing?
  2. What social class are Denny and Eve probably in? How does this change the decisions they've made?
  3. How does Denny pay for his lawyers?
  4. What is the financial standing of Denny's parents? What about Mike and Tony?

Chew on This

Denny's independence makes him proud, in the sense that he wants to be able to take care of himself. He handles paying for his races with a home equity loan, he manages odd hours so he can pay child support and still have time to spend with Zoë, and he even sells his house so he can pay off his lawyers. Say what you want about him, but dude's relentless.

Even when Denny does go through financially tough times, there's no indication that he lets Zoë see how much of a toll it takes on him—he doesn't want to burden her. She seems to be oblivious to all the trouble her father is in. That's A+ parenting.