The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black Suit - Jason Reynolds

Who takes a job at a funeral parlor instead of working at a chicken shop where they can hopefully feast their eyes on Renee get their famous recipe? Matthew. Matthew had his mind set on the Clucket Bucket that day, but when Mr. Ray suggested he work for him; Matthew hesitated for just a minute. A funeral home? His own mother’s death a few months ago carried too many memories and working with dead bodies, no, this wouldn’t be a good fit. Yet, a few minutes later Matthew was walking with Mr. Ray to his funeral parlor. This position turned into a remarkable experience for Matthew, a life-changing event for him and an amazing read for me. Like Matthew, I’m not one for funerals but as Matthew sat in on funerals and observed them, it was an eye-opener for me. Matthew realized that funerals are not all the same and while some are sad, others are celebrations of life. People sang, told stories, laughed and their variety lifted Matthew’s spirit. Ever since his mother’s funeral, Matthew hasn’t felt the same. Now, as he attends the funerals of others, he observes, watching the attendees and their sympathy/emotions to the occasion. Mr. Ray and Matthew form a special bond and Mr. Ray becomes more than just his boss. Matthew is not a dominating individual but he is sure about himself and I believe he got that from his mother which we never got to know. She did leave him a notebook titled; “The Secret to Getting Girls for Matty” which she included some of her recipes which I thought was so sweet and Matthew refers to it in the novel. The author use of words added to the composure of the novel, the “lumps of emotions” and “I could tell a lot of people were crying by the way folks were thumbing the corners of their eyes.” I don’t want to give any spoilers but this book was exceptional as Matthew learns to handle his grief and move forward in life.


“Death means finished. Over. Done. That didn’t describe her mother then, and it doesn’t describe me now. I’ve just changed. Like changing clothes, when one outfit get too old, gotta take it off and put on another. Or like changing jobs, once you’re done all you can do, you get a new position. But to say I’m dead means that you’ll never hear me, or feel me…but you will.”           (I loved this)