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Rachel-K
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The Art of Racing in the Rain: Annika

By the end of ARR, have you forgiven Annika like Denny and Enzo have? Do you think her behavior is a childish mistake, or a reflection of who she is as a person? What about her recanting?

 

What role do you think various members of her family played in what was happening?

 

Do you feel confident that all of Denny's behavior was appropriate and aboveboard? If so, is this by instinct, or by evidence?

 

 

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vivico1
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Annika

[ Edited ]

Somewhere on one of these threads we talked about each of these questions on her alot, but I don't remember where. Maybe on the Denny thread? So I won't repost what I said there. I know I am long winded. :smileywink:

 


rkubie wrote:

By the end of ARR, have you forgiven Annika like Denny and Enzo have? Do you think her behavior is a childish mistake, or a reflection of who she is as a person? What about her recanting?

 

What role do you think various members of her family played in what was happening?

 

Do you feel confident that all of Denny's behavior was appropriate and aboveboard? If so, is this by instinct, or by evidence?

 

 


 

Message Edited by vivico1 on 07-20-2008 11:19 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Rachel-K
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Annika

Yes, we've talked quite a bit about Annika! Still, I felt she's a significant character, and we see multiple aspects of her, so I thought she needed her own thread , especially now that we've discussed much of the book together.

 

I could move some of those Annika posts over here, but they would create holes in the older threads.

 

Rachel

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Drella
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Annika


vivico1 wrote:

Somewhere on one of these threads we talked about each of these questions on her alot, but I don't remember where. Maybe on the Denny thread? So I won't repost what I said there. I know I am long winded. :smileywink:

 


 I think they are in the whole book thread.  They contained spoilers, so we switched over from the middle chapters thread where the discussion started. 
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Drella
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I'm putting this bit about Annika here instead of the Middle Chapters thread because I have to talk about later chapters....

Objectively, I don't think there was ever supposed to be anything especially wrong or extreme about Annika. Of course her behavior was "creepy" to Enzo--she shouldn't have been trying to seduce a sleeping married man! But fundamentally, she was a precocious girl who had a huge crush on Denny. I've been a 15 year old girl with a crush on an older man (and I'm not saying that anything happened!) but if you get an extended period of alone time with someone you feel that way about, it's really hard to do the right thing. And, I don't really think that I would have gone as far as Annika in that situation, but I do know that 15 year olds have a more difficult time sorting out the most moral or appropriate choice in difficult situations.

When we look closely at chapter 39, when Enzo overhears Trish and Maxwell talking about Annika, we start to see that Annika is just a part of a larger story that is being put together by Annika's father and the Twins. Annika is not an evil doer who came home and accused Denny of raping her.

Trish declares that Annika is not that innocent. Than means that Annika's parents have complained to Trish some time before about situations with guys.

Then Trish goes on to say that the timing of Annika's coming forward seems to be a big coincidence. She even adds, "Why did Pete wait to tell us about it until after you complained so bitterly that you were certain we wouldn't get custody of Zoe?"

So, that tells me that Annika never accused anyone of anything when she got back from Denny's. My sense is that she was probably sad and not very communicative with her father. Maybe her parents asked if anything happened, and she said not really. And that was probably as far as it went at the time.

Then, when Maxwell complained to Pete (Annika's father) about custody, that's probably when Pete thought, maybe there is something we can get out of the "situation" that happened at Denny's house. Possibly, Annika's parents started pushing Annika for more information, and she may have reluctantly started to say something, possibly even a truthful, "I tried to seduce him" without being fully aware of the stakes: that these questions were being posed with the sole purpose of getting Zoe away from Denny. Then when Annika realized what was going on, her parents probably warned her that there were laws involved and that she had to report her story.

So, I see Annika as being manipulated by grieving adults who ended up doing bad things because they were blinded by their grief. A grieving father (Maxwell) complaining to his cousin (Pete) and Pete's misguided attempt to help Max.

I think it is important to remember this conversation that Trish has with Max in their home, because it is easy to be swayed by Enzo's frequent use of words like "Vixen....temptress....seductress...." I mean, yes, she is, kind of..... Especially from Enzo's point of view. But she is also just one small, but key, part of a huge web of chaos that the adults in her life are orchestrating.

Denny's ability to see Annika this way, and not as an evil-doer, is what allows him to undertake the extreme act of grace that he does when he sees Annika at the coffee shop. I agree with Michael's interpretation of Denny's motivation here. And yes, as Mr. Twizzle felt, there were probably shades of grey where Denny could have shut down her growing crush sooner, but he didn't--whether it was conscious or unconscious--and probably Denny doesn't even know the answer to that.

And most importantly, Annika does seem to be moved by Denny's plea to her, and, when Enzo sees her coming out of the courthouse after having recanted, he admits to himself that Annika was not a bad person. Denny can't blame her for having gotten himself caught in a situation much larger that both Annika and himself.

So, as far as I'm concerned, I don't think there is much to decode about Annika being especially troubled. Yes, she played a part, but ultimately, as I believe Denny always understood and Enzo finally learned, she was not the sole cause of Denny's predicament. There were many pieces of the puzzle, and Denny's ability to not place blame on her is what saved him in the end.
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vivico1
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


Drella wrote:
I'm putting this bit about Annika here instead of the Middle Chapters thread because I have to talk about later chapters....

Objectively, I don't think there was ever supposed to be anything especially wrong or extreme about Annika. Of course her behavior was "creepy" to Enzo--she shouldn't have been trying to seduce a sleeping married man! But fundamentally, she was a precocious girl who had a huge crush on Denny. I've been a 15 year old girl with a crush on an older man (and I'm not saying that anything happened!) but if you get an extended period of alone time with someone you feel that way about, it's really hard to do the right thing. And, I don't really think that I would have gone as far as Annika in that situation, but I do know that 15 year olds have a more difficult time sorting out the most moral or appropriate choice in difficult situations.

When we look closely at chapter 39, when Enzo overhears Trish and Maxwell talking about Annika, we start to see that Annika is just a part of a larger story that is being put together by Annika's father and the Twins. Annika is not an evil doer who came home and accused Denny of raping her.

Trish declares that Annika is not that innocent. Than means that Annika's parents have complained to Trish some time before about situations with guys.

Then Trish goes on to say that the timing of Annika's coming forward seems to be a big coincidence. She even adds, "Why did Pete wait to tell us about it until after you complained so bitterly that you were certain we wouldn't get custody of Zoe?"

So, that tells me that Annika never accused anyone of anything when she got back from Denny's. My sense is that she was probably sad and not very communicative with her father. Maybe her parents asked if anything happened, and she said not really. And that was probably as far as it went at the time.

Then, when Maxwell complained to Pete (Annika's father) about custody, that's probably when Pete thought, maybe there is something we can get out of the "situation" that happened at Denny's house. Possibly, Annika's parents started pushing Annika for more information, and she may have reluctantly started to say something, possibly even a truthful, "I tried to seduce him" without being fully aware of the stakes: that these questions were being posed with the sole purpose of getting Zoe away from Denny. Then when Annika realized what was going on, her parents probably warned her that there were laws involved and that she had to report her story.

So, I see Annika as being manipulated by grieving adults who ended up doing bad things because they were blinded by their grief. A grieving father (Maxwell) complaining to his cousin (Pete) and Pete's misguided attempt to help Max.

I think it is important to remember this conversation that Trish has with Max in their home, because it is easy to be swayed by Enzo's frequent use of words like "Vixen....temptress....seductress...." I mean, yes, she is, kind of..... Especially from Enzo's point of view. But she is also just one small, but key, part of a huge web of chaos that the adults in her life are orchestrating.

Denny's ability to see Annika this way, and not as an evil-doer, is what allows him to undertake the extreme act of grace that he does when he sees Annika at the coffee shop. I agree with Michael's interpretation of Denny's motivation here. And yes, as Mr. Twizzle felt, there were probably shades of grey where Denny could have shut down her growing crush sooner, but he didn't--whether it was conscious or unconscious--and probably Denny doesn't even know the answer to that.

And most importantly, Annika does seem to be moved by Denny's plea to her, and, when Enzo sees her coming out of the courthouse after having recanted, he admits to himself that Annika was not a bad person. Denny can't blame her for having gotten himself caught in a situation much larger that both Annika and himself.

So, as far as I'm concerned, I don't think there is much to decode about Annika being especially troubled. Yes, she played a part, but ultimately, as I believe Denny always understood and Enzo finally learned, she was not the sole cause of Denny's predicament. There were many pieces of the puzzle, and Denny's ability to not place blame on her is what saved him in the end.


This is how I see it too. I think she was just a 15 year old with a huge crush and probably hanging all over him at the picnic, we know she was staying all around him. My younger brother has had young girls have such huge crushes on him and hang on his shoulder or arm and altho he doesnt touch them back, he doesn't see that they are really feeling like a much more grown up woman than they are and when a man does not push them away from those initial attempts at touching and stuff, they are in danger of setting up something more disastrous later. Sometimes I think men don't get that to them, not stopping it is the same as liking it or wanting it to the young girls. I think sometimes men feel a bit flattered by it too and maybe Denny did. And yes, then when she goes as far as she did, that is one vulnerable position,literally, to be in, and then Denny rejects her, oh my, talk about breaking a young girls heart and causing very extreme embarrassment! I don't think she was really a bad kid, just one with some raging hormones and Denny did not follow one golden rule, when its late, your alone with a young girl, a teenager, I dont care how tired you are, you do not take her anywhere alone especially your own house, you are asking for trouble, or if nothing else, rumors! You don't put yourself in that situation. Then later, the rape charges, it became obvious she was being used as a pawn in this game. The sad thing is, besides nearly ruining Denny's life and that of his family, this was such a wrong thing to do to a girl who was already hurt and embarrassed by it all to begin with. Her family was not thinking about her at all and ironically enough, at least at the cafe, Denny did.
Vivian
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brontyman
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Re: The Art of Racing in the Rain: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Drella,
The last line in your post says it all, "Denny's ability to not place blame on her is what saved him in the end."
Garth has said "the drama is in the turn." This is a hairpin turn of the story, how he moves through it will determine the finish of the race. Sometimes speed and daring take you only so far, and this is where finesse and the wise use of the throttle count more.
Denny's plea to preserve his family, his desire for Zoe to be with him, an innocent man, was what I think motivated her to recant. Had Annika felt that Denny was the aggressor that night, his plea to return his daughter to a liar, and manipulator would have not made her recant. I think now as a woman of nineteen she would have tried to prevent Zoe to going back to such a man. The recanting of her charges is, in my view, actually a true vindication of Denny if we see Annika in this light.
Thanks for your post
Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
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