49 pages 1 hour read

Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2015

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Important Quotes

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“But at least he had enough heart to come up to me and say something, instead of just avoiding me, like death was some kind of disease that anyone could catch just by speaking to me.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 3)

Matt notices that while other friends and fellow students cannot bring themselves to speak to him on his first day at school after his mother’s death, his best friend Chris Hayes approaches him, expresses sympathy, and apologizes for being unable to attend the funeral. Chris gives Matt a brief “man-hug.” Matt reflects then on how high school feels different now that his mother is gone, as if he is too mature for it. Matt’s feeling of maturity following his mother’s death also appears in his interactions with his father, who has abdicated his parental responsibilities to drink away his sorrows. Matt is no longer the child, but the caretaker.

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“But the way Mr. Ray was talking, hell paid pretty good.” 

(Chapter 1, Page 13)

Matt knows that a job at the Ray Funeral Home might be difficult, considering his raw grief. He contemplates the job, however, when Mr. Ray tells him he will pay Matt at least as much as a job at the Cluck Bucket. Accepting the job propels Matt on his journey of self-discovery and helps him cope with his grief.

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“And from what I could tell, we were both already numb.” 

(Chapter 2, Page 38)

Matt recalls the night his mother died in the hospital. She asked that Matt’s father take her cards and one vase of flowers home when he and Matt left that day; Matt’s father sat up late reading the ironically worded get-well cards aloud and pouring shots of cognac.

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By Jason Reynolds