73 pages 2 hours read

Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After

Fiction | Novel/Book in Verse | Middle Grade | Published in 2020

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Part 2, Pages 91-131Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “The Ever After”

Part 2, Pages 91-131 Summary

Part 2 begins as ZJ’s mom drives his father to a doctor’s appointment in Philadelphia. So far, the treatments have not helped. In the lonesomeness of the house without his parents, ZJ walks around looking at his father’s memorabilia, smelling his father’s pillow, and looking at the clothes in his father’s closet. Then, he dissolves into tears.

ZJ continues to connect with his father through music. The two keep a notebook of songs they’ve written together, and on tough days, ZJ plays the guitar alone and sings their songs to “remember how good it felt to make music / together” (106). Through both music and photographs, ZJ tries to make sense of his past and present. In “Memory like a Song,” he describes the stories he hears in the different instruments played in “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. There’s a guest room with a wall of photos in “Down the Hall from My Room.” ZJ and his mom look at the photos together and reminisce about both his father’s game-playing days and ZJ’s antics as a toddler. In “A Future with Me In it,” ZJ details all the pictures that he knows are at both his grandmas’ houses in Arizona and finds hope by thinking about the photos that will one day be there.