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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

Book 55/100: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit - Jason Reynolds

I have now put off writing this review for a full month.

There was really a lot to like about this book. I think the most moving and intriguing aspect of the story was protagonist Matt's habit of attending other people's funerals after his own mother died, because seeking out the person who was hurting "most" helped him to feel less alone. The sense of grief and loss he felt in the wake of his mother's passing is pervasive throughout the entire story, even after it takes a turn toward a romance. However, I had trouble really "feeling" his girlfriend, Lovey's, grief. She had also recently lost her grandmother, who was also her guardian, and was basically left "alone" in the world. And while both the protagonist and I could appreciate her upbeat, positive attitude, it felt a little disingenuous at times -- I had trouble really feeling that she had suffered the same sort of loss as Matt.

The homeless shelter thing might have pushed Lovey too near Manic Pixie Dream Girl territory, but you can't fault the message.

The writing comes across as a little simplistic at times, which may have been in keeping with Matt's casual, conversational "voice," or which could have been meant to appeal to reluctant readers. The dialog in this book is absolutely stellar, especially between Matt and his best friend, Chris. The funeral home details were interesting too, as was Matt's relationship with the funeral director -- although his advice vacillated between seeming wise and seeming cliche. Still, I was glad Matt had someone who was willing to look out for him.