Study Guide

The Usual Rules Chapter 8

By Joyce Maynard

Chapter 8

  • Wendy and Amelia walk to the library and notice that the pictures of Billy are gone now. When they pass a fire station, Amelia asks about him and pretends that she knew him; the fireman there tells her that there's going to be a funeral service tonight and gives her the date and time.
  • Instead of going home, Wendy and Amelia go straight to the funeral. The church is totally crowded and a lot of people talk about what an amazing person Billy was.
  • At the end, Amelia says they probably won't ever live in Pennsylvania like they planned and Wendy admits it was always just a dream. Then Amelia asks her if they're going to have a service for her mom.
  • When Wendy gets home, Josh is waiting for her, upset that she didn't tell him where she was going. He says he's been worried sick.
  • Wendy tells him about the funeral service that she went to and says they played his favorite music. She tells him they should think about what song to play for her mother's memorial service.
  • When she says that, Josh tells her that he's not ready to talk about it and that if he stopped believing Janet was coming home, he doesn't know if he could keep living. This frightens Wendy. Dude's kind of all she has, after all.
  • Wendy is freaked out that Josh says that he wishes that he were the one who died instead of Janet. She also can't help but think about how it must have been for her mom after the plane hit the building.
  • She thinks about how her mother was wearing a new dress on 9/11—a dress that Wendy convinced her to buy—and how maybe it made it hard for her to run down the stairs, especially with heels on.
  • In her mind, she keeps imagining the plane hitting the building and yelling at her mother to run faster… but there's nothing that she can actually do.
  • Then from her bedroom, Wendy hears music and wonders if she's hallucinating. When she creeps out into the hallway, she sees that Josh is sitting by the stereo and listening to her mother's favorite music. He's sobbing.