THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds
Matt’s mom just died. And he’s coping. Or trying to, at least. He knows he needs to get a job to help his father out around the house now that his mother is gone. So, he works at the funeral home and wears a black suit every day. The Boy in the Black Suit is a tale of how one can find life, even when you’re surrounded by death.
It was the first day of school. Actually, it was the nineteenth day of school, but it was my first day and all I could think about was how happy I was that I had already missed three weeks, and that this would be the last first day in this place I would ever have.
The other thing everyone knows him for is well, cancer. Mr. Ray beat it twice, and the only reason everybody knows that is because after he beat it the second time, he basically became like, a Jehovah’s Witness for cancer, knocking on doors and passing out pamphlets. – page 10
My hands were slick with sweat, and all I could do was pray that I didn’t drop this dead lady’s casket. I imagined some old woman telling my mother on me up in heaven, shaking her head and wagging her finger. – page 68
But even though she could run, she couldn’t run fast enough to beat death. – page 69
In front of my house I asked Chris what he thought of Renee.
“Renee, man. The girl who took our order.”
“You know her?”
“No, not yet. But I want to get to know her.”
“So you stalking her.” – page 81
“See in chess you plan everything. You strategize and all that. And even though we like to believe life goes that way, let me tell you, son, it don’t….Sometimes I win…and sometimes I lose…And sometimes I can lose and lose and I don’t know why. But there’s nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I’ll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you’re find. Now, that’s life.” – page 109
It’s weird to know when people have guns in church. Makes it hard to close your eyes when it’s time to pray. – page 114
Great. I had finally gotten people to stop staring at me for being the kid whose mom died, and then for being the boy in the black suit, and now I was the boy in the black suit whose mom died and who rides around in a hearse. Perfect. I was officially weirder than the goth kids. Even better, I was the kid the goth kids wanted to be. – page 122
I wondered what made her so strong. What made her so different…And maybe that’s why I stayed after. Maybe I wanted to know what she knew that I didn’t–that thing that was keeping her so cool…I had to know what the secret was. – page 131
The lady in front of me said, “You look so pretty.”
She stole my line.
I was totally going to say that. – page 132
I was so much smoother on text message. – page 150
“Well then enjoy your dinner. And if for some reason you feel like having dessert, think twice, son. One slice of her pie could equal of lifetime of your cake, if you know what I mean.”
“What?!” – page 166
“But answer my question…What if she doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies?”
And then, that moment happened. You know the moment when everything fades to black and the soft music comes out of nowhere–violins and romantic instruments, and everything starts moving in slow motion, except for your hearts, which pound faster than ever, and each of you can hear how them thumping in your brain, and all you have to do is take one step and meet each other for that first awkward, electric kiss? That moment. – page 236
Review (My thoughts):
I get too obsessed with characters. Let’s just start there. I know I say that a lot, but I am literally head over heels for Matthew Miller. I wish he was my boyfriend LOL.
I absolutely loved The Boy in the Black Suit. It’s very, very hard to lose a parent. I’m not speaking from experience, thank God, but I could only imagine how it feels to lose someone you’re so close to. One day they’re just…gone. How does that happen? What do you do? How are you supposed to cope? And that’s what Matthew Miller had been trying to figure out since his mother died.
Only three weeks had passed and he was back in school. His father took to drinking again to cope. So, what was Matt supposed to do? Work. He was going to take a job at a fast food place with the cute girl at the counter, but he took the funeral home job instead. (where he wouldn’t have to touch the dead people, by the way). What helped Matthew to cope? Attending random strangers’ funerals. Seeing other people mourn. It let him know that there were people that were just like him out there, struggling to cope with the death of a loved one. He relished in it. He was happy, even.
Until he met Love, the cute girl from the fast food place, who was strong. Who didn’t cry when her grandmother died. Why? Why wasn’t she mourning? Matt had to know and what he found out turned his world on its ear.
Not only is her name strange, but how she copes is strange, too. Matt finds peace in the death of his mother in the most odd place–in Love.
Get this book. Get this book. Read it.
Awesome job, Jason! You’ve done it again!