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The Reasons We Fall

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The Reasons we Fall

Things can turn upside down in a second. Life is about overcoming hardship, and about learning how to race in the rain. The novel, the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, demonstrates obstacles in life that the main character, Denny, is forced to face and overcome. Ultimately, Denny’s life can be compared to as a race. The author manages to provide an outside perspective that is shown through the eyes of his closest companion, Enzo. He watches as Denny's life drastically changes and as he stood to lose everything. Many major themes are developed as the plot continues, such as being convicted of rape and the deaths of two of Denny’s loved ones. Denny’s perseverance and dedication are both shook by the unexpected obstacles of life’s race, yet Denny continues to overcome these barriers and learns that the reasons why he falls, is so he can pick himself back up.

They say a dog is a man’s “best friend.” In this case, Enzo has certainly earned that title. Denny and Enzo instantly clicked from the moment Enzo was picked from the litter. Although the time they shared wasn’t much, Enzo managed to extremely impact Denny’s life. Enzo in his weakened state, states “with every bit of strength I have in my body, I wrench myself to a standing position. Through my hips are frozen and my legs burn with pain; I hobble to the door of the bedroom” (310). Enzo, who is referring to be in deep pain, causes a huge challenge for Denny who sees his best friend suffer and struggle every step of the way. As soon as Denny’s life starts to improve, he realizes that sooner or later it will relapse due to Enzo’s condition. Denny is losing the only thing that has stayed constant through the challenges he has faced, Enzo, and when the time came, he was forced to let go. Denny was heartbroken, however, he knew Enzo was no longer suffering and believes he is in a better place. After Enzo’s death, Denny still spiritually reached out to him, mentioning “You have always been with me, you’ve always been my Enzo” (315). The unbreakable bond of friendship they shared are reasons why Denny is able to believe that it is not the end of their unique duo. Denny eventually is able to overcome Enzo’s death and knows that despite Enzo’s physical body not being there, they will always be together at heart. A relationship as strong as theirs can never be broken.

Denny has faced and overcame tough obstacles throughout the novel, though, being accused of rape was by far the most unexpected. Enzo explains Denny’s endearing situation by stating, “He had nothing to do with it. He was a prisoner of his own body, which had no energy, and she took advantage of him” (143). Denny is being accused of something he did not do. Annika, being younger than him, forced herself onto him and framed Denny for rape of a minor. She “took advantage” of the situation which was highly unfair. With his wife, Eve gone and Zoe being too little for evidential proof to defend her dad, Denny must to learn to fight for himself. Eve’s parents were devastated by the occurrence and instantly rejected Denny. They filed law suits and managed to withhold custody of his daughter, Zoe. With the recent death of his wife, the last thing Denny wanted was to lose another loved one. He describes the heartbreaking position he has yet to overcome as, “Imagine having your wife die suddenly of brain cancer. Then imagine having her parents attack you mercilessly in order to gain custody of your daughter” (229). This provides the reader with an excellent perspective of how hard this is for Denny. The loss of his beloved wife and now the loss of the only one he has left to hold on to. The only chance of regaining his daughter is to persevere and keep pushing his limits. As time progresses, Denny continues his fight of winning his daughter back, and evidently his hard works pays off. Denny gains custody of Zoe. He once stated that, “The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is whether he can overcome obstacles” (135). This quote demonstrates how far hard work can get you. Denny is not perfect but tried his best to fix what had been destroyed, and as a result, got what he desired most. His dedication and commitment got him right back into the arms of his daughter.

The biggest challenge occurring throughout the novel is the death of Eve. Denny and his family’s suffering of Eve’s critical condition is demonstrated as Enzo says, “Eve continued with the inexorable process of dying, Zoe spent too much time with her grandparents, and Denny and I worked at slowing the beating of our hearts so we didn’t have to feel so much pain (149).” This exemplifies a general, yet accurate perspective of the family’s unwilling situation. Zoe, being the child of someone who is consonantly suffering, has “spent too much time with her grandparents.” Denny is trying to protect Zoe, although, Enzo believes she is being too isolated, Zoe being neglected is only one of the many negative effects that their lives have soon to encounter. Each member of the family is facing their own challenges as a result of Eve’s illness. Given the circumstance, not only Eve, but Denny and Enzo are overwhelmed with pain as well. Many problems similar to ones such as this are long lasting throughout the novel, and when Eve’s time came, the pain and suffering only continued. Enzo describes his feelings towards Eve’s death as he says “For Eve, her death was the end of a painful battle. For Denny it was the beginning” (166). This further demonstrates the hardship Denny and Enzo are exploiting. Loosing someone you love is like losing a part of yourself. Despite that fact that Eve’s death was the end of her “painful battle,” for Denny, his had just begun. His soul mate, wife, and true love are gone forever. Although, as time progresses, Denny is slowly able to heal and he has learned to surpass the grief he has faced. His strong leap over his sadness is shown as Enzo says, “In the past few days, everything has changed. He is going to be reunited with Zoe. I would like to see that moment. They are going to Italy together” (313). The pain and challenges are over. Eve’s death was a hard fall, but Denny and his family managed to pick themselves back up and went back to living a satisfied life.

In conclusion, the obstacles of life’s race failed to stop Denny from racing towards the finish. One of the most valuable skills that a race car driver can have is the ability to win a race in the rain. Throughout the novel, Denny gains this ability. Denny’s life suddenly becomes unpredictable and Denny is unable to see what was coming his way. But no amount of pain could stop him. Denny continuously tried to look for a clearer view. Together, Denny, Eve, Zoe, and Enzo succeed to tackle their challenges and overcame anything that got in there way. They manage to find a way through all the painful battles that were faced. Eve and Enzo’s death were unbearable and hard to battle, but Denny stood strong. He realized that the bond of family can never be broken. Both life and racing are unpredictable. In order to win you must overcome it.

Work cited:
Stein, Garth. The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel. New York: Harper, 2008. Print.

“The car goes where the eyes go.” * Gareth Stein

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