jo mo's Reviews > The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
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Jan 15, 12

bookshelves: dramarama, family, school-life, young-adult, artsy-character, animals, 2-stars, reviews, bleh-or-snooze, new-adult
Read from January 14 to 16, 2012


“What can you give your parents and Toby for Christmas?” Suzie had asked me a few weeks earlier.

“Give them?”

“I don’t mean a traditional present. More like, some way to honor them. Or honor the gifts they’ve passed on to you, as a person.”

I’d thought long and hard. It was the toughest shopping list anyone could hand me, but I wanted to do this.

For Toby, I emailed Emily Heinz to tell her I wanted to come back to help her run the Tutoring Club, and asked her to look for a student to match me up with.

For Dad, I bought an intermediate crossword book and started on the first one, with the goal of eventually completing every puzzle without looking at the answers.

For Mom, I began work on my first-ever portrait of someone I didn’t mind mangling in the process: myself. So far it was just a sketch of the shape of my face and my hair, done while leaning over a mirror on my bedroom floor. Don’t erase too much as you go, Mom said in my head. Let your hand channel your impressions of what you see.

Joy to the world, a little.
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Reading Progress

01/15/2012 "“So, you liked it?” Joe asked, taking my cue. “Yes. You were right about the comfort part. There’s something about hearing someone else moan and wail that makes you feel a little better. Like—” “They have it worse,” he said."
01/15/2012 "My mother hated any day that didn’t involve sunshine. She’d seek it out wherever she went, moving her plastic lounge chair around the backyard as the bright spot traveled. She sucked up sunlight like a plant in photosynthesis, and never saw the beauty in bad weather."
01/15/2012 "“Don’t you think that we have something to do with it too? Like we can unscrew ourselves, if we do things a certain way?” He laughed a little. “Unscrew ourselves. You mean I actually have to do some of the work? It’s so much easier to be a victim!”"
01/15/2012 "don’t sweat it about megan dill. doesn’t sound like you’re ready to fix things yet anyway. i’ve found that letting something stay broken for a little while helps me understand it."
01/15/2012 "And then Nana looked at me with such love. The kind of look that feels embarrassing, and unnecessary, and maybe like it would be better spent on someone else because how could I possibly deserve it?"

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