The Art of Racing in the Rain

by Garth Stein

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Chapters 13-15 Summary

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Enzo offers a story that concerns crows. He does not like the birds; he thinks they are sneaky and jealous of their cousins, the regal ravens. Enzo is fascinated and somewhat pleased when the crows make a very poor decision one day in Enzo’s backyard.

Enzo has spent a lot of time studying crows. He knows how clever they are in scavenging for food. They can open garbage cans, tear through cellophane bags, and steal plastic grocery bags from off the porch. This is exactly what a flock of crows does this day.

Eve goes shopping and returns with so many bags that she cannot carry all of them into the house at the same time. She brings them from the car to the porch, then she takes them from the porch to the kitchen. As Enzo sees it, Eve forgets one of the bags on the porch. She thinks all the groceries have been brought into the house and put away, so she goes upstairs to take a bath.

It does not take long for the crows to notice the forgotten plastic bag. They slowly gather in the yard. The back door is closed and locked, so Enzo cannot get outside. He is forced to watch the birds as they hop nearer to the porch, jump onto the steps, and eventually start attacking the bag. There are flapping wings and loud cries as more and more birds gather over their prize. But then Enzo notices that there is something strange about the contents of this particular bag, and the birds who had arrived first are losing interest in what they found. Some even fly to the neighbor’s fountain to drink water. When Enzo gets a closer look, he bursts out laughing to himself. The bag is not filled with groceries, as he and the crows had thought. It is the bag Denny had left on the porch after cleaning up Enzo’s droppings. The crows were tricked into eating doggy poop.

On a different note, Enzo recalls how Eve’s headaches are increasing in intensity, which causes tension to build up in the family. The tension comes to a head one night at dinner after Denny announces that he has been asked to join a new racing circuit, which means he will be gone more often. Eve’s fear of being alone grows. Enzo can smell it. Enzo relates how humans have no idea how much their scents change with their emotions. Every emotion can be detected by a dog’s nose. So at dinner, when Eve yells at Zoe to eat her chicken nuggets and Zoe refuses, Enzo can smell Eve’s anger and frustration. Eve does not want to fix Zoe a new meal even though Denny says he is willing to cook a hot dog for Zoe. Eve feels it is not right for a parent to give in to a child’s sudden change of appetite. Zoe wanted the chicken nuggets and now she must eat them.

Enzo knows that the conversation escalated not so much on principle but on Eve’s fear that Denny will be gone, that she will have another debilitating headache episode, and that no one will be there to help her. But all of these emotions, rather than being explained, are played out through Zoe’s refusal to eat the chicken nuggets. Eve shouts and curses before she angrily goes into the kitchen and pulls out a frozen packet of hotdogs, resigned to give in to her daughter’s rant. Eve takes out a knife and stabs the package to open it. But the knife misses the hotdogs and...

(This entire section contains 707 words.)

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pierces Eve’s hand. Blood pours onto a towel Eve grabs as she sobs in pain.

After Denny cleans and bandages the wound, Eve apologizes to everyone. She feels sorry that she reacted so violently. While the family makes their amends, Enzo goes into the kitchen to search for any scraps of food that might have fallen on the floor. He thinks he has found a treasure when he sees one of the chicken nuggets. But when he sniffs it, he realizes the meat had gone rancid. Now he knows why Zoe refused to eat it.


Chapters 10-12 Summary


Chapters 16-18 Summary