The Art of Racing in the Rain

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Zoë Character Analysis

Denny and Eve's daughter; she is eight years old at the end of the novel. She is a bright, happy, and loving child who admires Denny greatly and strives to please Eve. She loves school and riding the school bus, and insists on going to school even the day after Eve's death. Enzo cares greatly for Zoë and spends much of his time playing with her, and he learns a lot about how she sees life through the fantasy worlds she creates with her toys. Her favorite toy is a plush zebra.

Zoë Quotes in The Art of Racing in the Rain

The The Art of Racing in the Rain quotes below are all either spoken by Zoë or refer to Zoë. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
 What It Means to Be Human  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the HarperCollins edition of The Art of Racing in the Rain published in 2009.
Chapter 6 Quotes

And while I greatly resented the attention Eve lavished on her unborn baby, in retrospect, I realize I had never given her a reason to lavish that same attention on me.

Related Characters: Enzo (speaker), Eve, Zoë
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

Eve and Denny are newly married and Eve has recently become pregnant. Despite a general dislike of the change that Eve brings to his life, Enzo finds himself unable to truly be angry at Eve because he knows she's pregnant, and he begins to pick apart the nuances of his relationship to her in this thought. When Eve joins Denny and Enzo's family, she essentially comes between them rather than simply joining them. Enzo perceives her as a threat and as competition for Denny's attention, and as such, is never particularly warm towards her. This in turn means that Eve is never very warm or affectionate with Enzo, either. However, when Enzo sees her love something else so fully as she loves Zoë before her birth, Enzo realizes the reason for their generally poor relationship. Realizing that the state of their relationship is mostly, if not fully his own responsibility sets Enzo up to later begin to take more responsibility and attempt to change their relationship for the better.

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Chapter 7 Quotes

What Eve said was not out of line, as most dogs cannot help themselves... but that sort of thing doesn't apply to me.

Related Characters: Enzo (speaker), Denny, Eve, Zoë
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

Enzo is describing how he plays chase games with toddler Zoë, which Eve doesn't like because she believes Enzo will bite Zoë. Enzo's response is indicative of his belief that he's more human-like than other dogs, in that what he says is a normal canine instinct simply doesn't apply to him. This idea echoes throughout the novel as Enzo moves freely and fluidly between acting in what he describes as more dog-like or more human-like ways. Essentially, his ability to compartmentalize this instinct, recognize it, and then choose to not follow it is what allows him to behave and think in a more human manner.

But I hadn't a facile tongue. So all I could do was watch and feel empty inside; Eve had assigned me to protect Zoë no matter what, but no one had been assigned to protect Eve. And there was nothing I could do to help her.

Related Characters: Enzo (speaker), Eve, Zoë
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

Enzo has just told the reader that he didn't play rough with Zoë as to not worry Eve unnecessarily, because Enzo smells that there's something wrong in Eve's head. The fact that the reader and Enzo know this so early, well before Eve even begins experiencing symptoms of illness, creates a sense of dramatic irony. This leads the reader to begin looking for clues as to what exactly is going on with Eve, and how and when Eve's illness is going to manifest.

Enzo's preoccupation with communication and the physical characteristics of humans is also brought into play here. His lack of "a facile tongue" means that he's unable to do anything to help or warn them of what's to come. However, this leads to more questions about what it means to be human versus what it means to be a dog. While Enzo never voices the hypothetical situation himself, the reader is forced to consider the fact that if Enzo were human, even though he would've had the physical traits that would allow him to voice his concerns, he in theory also wouldn't have a way to know that Eve was ill.

Chapter 23 Quotes

I marveled at them both; how difficult it must be to be a person. To constantly subvert your desires. To worry about doing the right thing, rather than doing what is most expedient.

Related Characters: Enzo (speaker), Denny, Zoë
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

Denny and Zoë have just decided that Zoë will stay with Trish, Maxwell, and Eve while Eve is ill. Enzo sees that neither Zoë nor Denny truly want to do this, but agree to it in order to make other people happy. Enzo sees this as a sacrifice that is clearly and truly human, and this insight gives more nuance to how Enzo differentiates between dogs and humans. Were he given the choice, Enzo, presumably, would not agree to stay with Eve because of his desire as a dog to do what is expedient and most wanted. Realizing this about himself and about the people around him gives Enzo a bit of an existential crisis as he realizes that being human is not just about being able to form language and possessing opposable thumbs, but exerting mental energy on painful decisions such as this one.

Chapter 53 Quotes

Tears ran down Denny's mother's cheeks during the entire encounter, raindrops spotting Zoë's flower-print dress.

Related Characters: Enzo (speaker), Denny, Zoë, Denny's Mother
Related Symbols: Rain
Page Number: 287
Explanation and Analysis:

Enzo is describing Denny's mother, who is blind, meeting Zoë, her granddaughter, for the first time. Denny's parents agreed to help Denny pay for his lawsuit in exchange for finally getting to meet their granddaughter. Rain in this instance alludes to not only challenges and strife, but the idea that hope and renewal are able to exist after a cleansing rain—and Denny's mother herself represents this idea of cleansing rain. With her visit, she effects positive change in the course of Denny's legal struggles, essentially helping to clear the more negative rain with her tears and the hope her tears offer.

This instance also suggests just how vitally important family is to the novel. The prospect of getting to meet her granddaughter causes Denny's mother to end a years-long absence from Denny's life. Again then, love is shown to be the most powerful motivator of all.

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Zoë Character Timeline in The Art of Racing in the Rain

The timeline below shows where the character Zoë appears in The Art of Racing in the Rain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...so he can go on and be brilliant. He remarks that he'll miss Denny and Zoë, but can't let sentimentality get in the way of his plan. (full context)
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...is as good as Senna, but nobody notices Denny because he has responsibilities: his daughter, Zoë, and Enzo, and until she died, his wife, Eve. Denny lives in Seattle and has... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...the next day, unhappy. His mood changes when he holds the baby, whom they name Zoë after Eve's grandmother. Denny asks Enzo if he sees his little angel, to which Enzo... (full context)
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Eve's parents, Trish and Maxwell, had been in the apartment since Zoë's birth to care for her and Eve. Enzo begins calling them “the Twins” because they... (full context)
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...Mike counters that you can't predict when babies are going to come early, and toasts Zoë. Denny joins, and Enzo toasts mentally and vows to always protect Zoë. (full context)
Chapter 7
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Several months after Zoë is born, Eve goes back to work. Denny offers to stay home and care for... (full context)
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Denny asks Enzo what he's watching, as though he's asking Eve or Zoë. Eve and Zoë are in the kitchen making dinner, however, while Enzo is absorbed in... (full context)
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...were already watching. He even taught himself some degree of literacy watching Sesame Street with Zoë, but until this day, he'd never watched TV by himself. Denny offers to leave the... (full context)
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...so immersed in his education, Enzo loses count of the weeks and is surprised when Zoë's second birthday arrives. Denny and Eve throw a party at their apartment, and Zoë calls... (full context)
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After the party is over, Denny has one last surprise birthday present. He shows Zoë a photo that she shows little interest in, but when he shows it to Eve,... (full context)
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Every day when Denny comes home from work, he greets Eve and Zoë and then takes Enzo outside to play fetch. When Zoë grows big enough, she and... (full context)
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...ability to warn them. All he can do is watch. He'd been assigned to protect Zoë, but he realizes that nobody is there to protect Eve, and there's nothing he can... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...for New York, everyone at home is excited to watch the race on Speed Channel. Zoë drives around in her little racecar and pretends to be a champion, and Enzo is... (full context)
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...her. Enzo notes that the last time she spoke to him like this was after Zoë's birth. Enzo knows what's wrong, but has no way to tell her, so he merely... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...night, Enzo says, he thinks he started hallucinating after eating some long-forgotten yogurt remnants on Zoë's high chair. He hears a noise coming from Zoë's bedroom and when he goes to... (full context)
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Seeing Enzo, the zebra begins to dance and then starts sexually assaulting one of Zoë's Barbie dolls. Enzo growls, offended, but the zebra just smiles and moves on to Zoë's... (full context)
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Hearing crying, Enzo and Eve look over and see Zoë weeping in the hallway and Eve rushes to comfort her. Zoë cries, "my animals," and... (full context)
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Enzo slinks towards Zoë, understanding her pain since he knows so much about her fantasy world. He says that... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...simply delegated his love-giving of Eve to Enzo. When Eve experienced episodes, Denny would take Zoë to movies or to the zoo and tell Enzo to take care of Eve. Enzo... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...that Denny comes downstairs with his track bag packed and his special helmet. Eve and Zoë seem to know what's going on, but Denny hasn't told Enzo. Enzo is confused as... (full context)
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Denny asks Enzo to look over the girls, hugs Zoë, and kisses Eve. As he turns away, Eve grabs him and starts to cry, imploring... (full context)
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The first two races go well for Zoë, Eve, and Enzo, but poorly for Denny, who finishes 24th and 30th. Denny is frustrated,... (full context)
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Enzo hears Eve stand and gather plates and tell Zoë to eat her nuggets. Zoë declares that she's full, and then that she doesn't like... (full context)
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...and Eve vehemently refuses. Denny groans and agrees to try to fix it at home. Zoë and Enzo stand in the doorway, watching, and Denny asks Zoë if she can find... (full context)
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Enzo leads Zoë to the living room where she turns on a kids' show. When Denny and Eve... (full context)
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...a chicken nugget, which after a sniff, he realizes is rancid. He feels bad for Zoë, but reasons that they probably needed this moment together that the fight brought. Enzo says... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The following weekend when Denny is away racing, Eve, Zoë, and Enzo go to stay with Trish and Maxwell. Eve's hand is bandaged, which Enzo... (full context)
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...or spending enough time with his family. Eve defends Denny, saying he's her husband and Zoë's father and she loves him. Eve continues to defend Denny and Maxwell finally relents. Eve... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...time in the dining room, against his personal code, to be closer to the greatness. Zoë drops racing truths at various moments and impresses everyone, which Enzo feels allows him to... (full context)
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...was his for being where he could get hit. Despite this, Denny, Eve, Enzo, and Zoë are crushed. Enzo says they came so close to greatness, and greatness smells like roast... (full context)
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...day Denny and Eve sit on the porch while Enzo soaks up the sun and Zoë plays in the sprinkler. Eve suggests that maybe “it” isn't meant to be. Denny says... (full context)
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...up, goes in the house, and returns with the turkey baster. They giggle and watch Zoë shriek and run in the sprinkler. (full context)
Chapter 17
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...the Slippery Slabs, a series of flat slick rocks in the creek. Denny, Eve, and Zoë strip to their swimsuits, and since Zoë is old enough to navigate parts of the... (full context)
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Then, Eve dips Zoë into the river and rather than splashing, Zoë pulls her feet out of the water... (full context)
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...slur and she keeps nodding off, and Denny keeps waking her up. Eve, Denny, and Zoë go into the hospital and leave Enzo in the car with the windows cracked. He... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...short while later, Mike pulls up and sits down next to Denny. Denny says that Zoë is with her grandparents, and they sit quietly for a few minutes. (full context)
Chapter 20
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Eve stays in the hospital for weeks. Denny cares for Enzo and Zoë, and visits Eve regularly, and these tasks take up all of his time. Enzo describes... (full context)
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After two weeks of their regimented schedule, Maxwell and Trish offer to take Zoë for a weekend to give Denny a break, and Eve supports the idea. Denny is... (full context)
Chapter 21
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The Tuesday after Zoë's weekend with Trish and Maxwell, she and Enzo play in the back yard. After running... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Labor Day weekend arrives and Zoë is very excited to start kindergarten. On the first day, Denny and Enzo walk her... (full context)
Chapter 23
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One evening at the hospital, Enzo listens to Denny, Maxwell, and Trish talk while Zoë works on a book of mazes. Trish and Maxwell do all the talking, and say... (full context)
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The following Saturday, Denny, Zoë, and Enzo go to Trish and Maxwell's house. The living room now has a fancy... (full context)
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Denny calls from the back door that Eve is here, and Zoë and Enzo come inside. Trish and an unknown man help a “mannequin” with dead eyes... (full context)
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...hospital gown, Enzo says she looks almost normal. Eve tries to read a book to Zoë but can't concentrate, so Zoë reads to Eve instead and reads very well. (full context)
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...Enzo finds Denny conferencing again with Trish and Maxwell. The Twins say that they think Zoë should stay with them, "until." Enzo remarks to the reader that language is mostly unspoken,... (full context)
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After dinner, Denny takes Zoë outside to talk and tells her that Eve would like it if she stayed with... (full context)
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...says he doesn't care, Eve says she does. Denny finally agrees. He kisses Eve, tucks Zoë in, and leaves. Enzo understands that Eve wants Denny to remember her as she was,... (full context)
Chapter 24
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For the first few weeks, Denny visits Eve and Zoë nightly, but by Thanksgiving, he only visits twice per week. Denny gives Enzo positive updates... (full context)
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Maxwell and Trish eventually ask to transfer Zoë to a school near their home, since commuting is a burden for them, but Denny... (full context)
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Occasionally, Denny keeps Zoë overnight during the week and he and Enzo get to walk her to the bus... (full context)
Chapter 25
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In February, Denny, Zoë, and Enzo take a trip to a cabin in north-central Washington owned by a relative... (full context)
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...an adult. Throughout the week, Annika positions herself near Denny whenever she can, doting on Zoë and openly admiring Denny. Enzo notes that he can't tell if Denny is unaware or... (full context)
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...weather is horrendous, and the cousins implore them to stay, but Denny insists on leaving. Zoë, in the backseat with Enzo, is frightened of the car slipping on the ice, and... (full context)
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After they arrive home, Denny puts Zoë to bed, changes his clothes, and pulls out a beer. Annika asks to shower and... (full context)
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...what Annika did was without Denny's consent. Finally, thinking of how he failed to protect Zoë's toys from the zebra, Enzo barks and Denny wakes up, sees Annika, and leaps away.... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...spring approaches, life proceeds as usual. Eve continues the process of dying while she and Zoë remain with Trish and Maxwell, but Enzo says that Denny is allowing himself one diversion.... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...Maxwell's for dinner. Eve is absent, and Enzo finds it awkward, so he wanders into Zoë's room and finds her playing. He tries to engage her in a game, but she... (full context)
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...party is festive and everyone, whether truly happy or not, pretends to be happy, even Zoë. When it's time for Denny and Enzo to leave, Denny kisses Eve and tells her... (full context)
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Eve sits on the sofa while Denny gets Zoë ready for bed. Eve calls Enzo to her and scratches his ears. She tells him... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...the back yard and washes Enzo. Trish comes out and hugs Denny, and Maxwell and Zoë come out of the house too. Denny goes inside alone to say goodbye to Eve.... (full context)
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Denny comes out of the house and embraces Zoë. Trish says that she and Maxwell will take care of the arrangements before the end... (full context)
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...custody. Trish tries to explain that they have the experience and finances to properly raise Zoë, but Denny again refuses. Trish states that Eve wanted them to have custody, and Denny... (full context)
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Zoë returns to the adults and crawls into Denny's lap. Enzo watches Denny's face change, and... (full context)
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Maxwell, shaking with anger, starts asking Denny how he's going to care for Zoë, and asks if she gets sick if Denny is going to keep her from the... (full context)
Chapter 31
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The next day, Zoë insists on going to school. Denny and Enzo drive her to school and then continue... (full context)
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...Eve couldn't have possibly meant that she wanted Trish and Maxwell to have custody of Zoë. The man replies that he doesn't care what Eve said, and that children aren't chattel.... (full context)
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...fight. He instructs Denny to call Trish and Maxwell and say that everything is in Zoë's best interest. (full context)
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...the previous year was sweet. Denny smiles, and Mark tells him to take care of Zoë and he'll take care of the suit. Mark leaves, and Enzo notices that Denny's hands... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...Denny his rights and Denny asks when they'll be done so he can pick up Zoë. They tell him to make other arrangements, and Denny instructs Mike to call Mark Fein. (full context)
Chapter 34
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...He demanded that Denny be at his office the next morning. Denny, angry, asked where Zoë was, and Mark answered that Trish and Maxwell got to her first. When Denny says... (full context)
Chapter 35
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...that Denny got his point. Denny is watching an old home video of himself, Eve, Zoë, and Enzo playing on the beach when Zoë was a toddler. Enzo remarks that this... (full context)
Chapter 36
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Finally, Enzo sees a temporary tent with many nicely dressed people, and he notices Zoë. He says the light switch in his head came on, and that Denny had dressed... (full context)
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One of Eve's brothers calls Denny a child molester, and Denny doesn't budge. Zoë reaches them and jumps into Denny's arms. Trish rushes up to them and tells her... (full context)
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...he must've been very lonely to take advantage of a fifteen-year-old, and Denny abruptly tells Zoë that he and Enzo will watch from a spot far away. Denny and Enzo walk... (full context)
Chapter 37
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...happy he can focus on his own difficulties rather than dwell on the fact that Zoë is stranded with Trish and Maxwell. (full context)
Chapter 38
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...and Maxwell are granted a temporary restraining order that means Denny isn't allowed to see Zoë for several months. Denny and Enzo are wracked with grief. Mark Fein negotiates a letter... (full context)
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...while successful, forgot to account for Enzo's whereabouts, leading Trish and Maxwell to panic when Zoë asks to see him. Denny tells Mark that for the story, Enzo is staying with... (full context)
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...brings Enzo back to Denny on Saturday evening, Denny eagerly pesters Mike for updates on Zoë. Mike tells Denny she's doing well, and Enzo wonders if Mike didn't see Zoë's sadness... (full context)
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...to the drama, as Denny quizzes Enzo in the evenings after Enzo returns from visiting Zoë. Enzo tries to form words and communicate telepathically, with no success, but Denny smiles and... (full context)
Chapter 39
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...a teaching job in Spokane, and Mike arranges for Enzo to spend the weekend with Zoë, Trish, and Maxwell. The night that Enzo arrives, he finds his bed already in Zoë's... (full context)
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...timing of the rape suit, and Maxwell retorts that he'll use any opportunity to keep Zoë. (full context)
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...and lets loose a pile of pungent diarrhea. When he's finished, he runs happily to Zoë's room and growls at the zebra. Enzo says the zebra understood, and the demon knew... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...suit and returns late in the afternoon. He smiles at Enzo, and behind him is Zoë. The family spends a joyous afternoon playing, and after dinner, they have ice cream. Suddenly,... (full context)
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After thinking for a moment, Zoë asks if it was her grandparents who accused Denny. She stares into her bowl of... (full context)
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Later, the doorbell rings and Mark Fein is there to pick up Zoë. Mark reminds Denny that this is a victory and lays out the custody arrangement, where... (full context)
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Enzo finally understands that the trial that day had been only about Zoë's custody and not Denny's criminal charges, and that the trial had been put off while... (full context)
Chapter 42
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Denny abides by the custody arrangement and takes Zoë to museums, zoos, and the aquarium, and sometimes he takes her to the go-karts. Enzo... (full context)
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...day at the karts, the teen on duty asks Denny if he's going to take Zoë to Spanaway, an outdoor go-kart course, telling Denny that Zoë could kick his ass. Denny... (full context)
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...has a secret. He says that while Trish and Maxwell may restrict Denny's access to Zoë, when he does see her, he gets all the energy he needs to maintain focus... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...and says that Mark Fein suggested to Denny that if he quit his claim to Zoë, the criminal charges would disappear. Mark said that Annika's family only wants Denny to be... (full context)
Chapter 49
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...right thing—Mr. Lawrence negotiated a generous visitation schedule, an end to the child support payments, Zoë will receive a private education and have her college paid for, and Annika's suit will... (full context)
Chapter 50
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...teaching but mostly testing vehicles. Denny would be provided with an apartment for himself and Zoë. Denny, stunned, asks why, and Luca replies that he hears Denny is an exceptional driver... (full context)
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...that Luca's been interested in him for years and respects how Denny is fighting for Zoë. Denny asks what happens if he doesn't win, and Don replies that there's no dishonor... (full context)
Chapter 51
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...consequences of her suit are. Denny tells her that he'll never be able to see Zoë again without supervision. Annika is silent, listening. Finally, Denny says that the first time he... (full context)
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Denny apologizes and implores Annika to not take Zoë away from him, and then he and Enzo leave the girls. As they walk away,... (full context)
Chapter 53
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...differently. Enzo says that they stayed for three days, and on one day Denny fetched Zoë to meet them. Enzo says that Zoë sat quite still with Denny's mother as she... (full context)
Chapter 55
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...up on the phone with his mother, begging her for help so he could keep Zoë. Finally, she responded that she'd help if she could meet Zoë. As Denny finishes his... (full context)
Chapter 56
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...tears and drops her accusations. The judge dismisses the case and awards Denny custody of Zoë, and Denny, Zoë, and Enzo embrace. (full context)
Chapter 57
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...Denny that Trish and Maxwell have dropped their custody suit, but requested 48 hours with Zoë before returning her to Denny. Denny agrees to the 48 hours and makes cookies the... (full context)
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...if the position is still available. Luca says it is, and Denny replies that he, Zoë, and Enzo would love to join Luca in Italy. Luca comments on Enzo's name and... (full context)
Chapter 58
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...the stove and sits down with Enzo. Enzo thinks of Denny's future, that he and Zoë are going to Italy and Denny will experience success on the track and become a... (full context)
Imola, Italy
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The man and his child walk toward Denny and Zoë. The man says they're Denny's biggest fans and that his son worships Denny. Denny asks... (full context)