Study Guide

You Should Have Known Chapter Five: Access to the Quick of Things

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

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Chapter Five: Access to the Quick of Things

In this edition of the book, Chapter 4 is pages 79-96.

  • Grace goes upstairs to join the party. 
  • The uber-wealthy homeowners are not there, and Sally is beside herself with their absence. 
  • Sally's panicking as she tries to network with everyone there and make sure they're happy. 
  • The space is beautiful and the staff is efficient, but Sally was hoping the "media titans of global stature" (5.80) would be there to regale guests with personal tales about their fancy decor and possessions. 
  • Sylvia and Grace notice that Malaga Alves is surrounded by men.  
  • Many of the women in the room are "celebrated beauties" (5.83) with perfect nails, designer outfits, expert makeup, etc., but Malaga captivates everyone in her simple dress and cross necklace. 
  • The auction begins. 
  • Jonathan is still not there and is seriously late. 
  • Grace assumes the shiva call is running late and thinks about how amazing and heroic her husband is to stay with a grieving family. Doesn't she warn all her patients not to invent stories about their partners?  
  • She feels slightly resentful for his absence but then immediately guilty since he's doing such a good thing. 
  • The auctioneer gets things going by asking everyone to bid on a glass of New York city tap water. 
  • Seems random, but this isn't his first rodeo. He reminds everyone that they don't really need any of the items up for auction, but they're bidding because the money is for their children's school. 
  • Bidding on the glass of water gets up to $11,000. Oh, gross. 
  • This exorbitant display of wealth sets the tone for the evening. They've raised their total goal for the auction before they're even halfway through the items. 
  • Grace slips out to use the bathroom, marveling at all the expensive art in the home. 
  • She finds the bathroom at the end of the hallway but hears someone weeping. She imagines that it might be one of the nannies, crying because she's separated from her own children while caring for these ultra-wealthy kids. 
  • Ping! Grace gets a text from Jonathan, who says arrived to the auction late because of the shiva call, but now he has to go back to the hospital because a patient is having a bad night. 
  • That's...convenient. 
  • Grace returns to the auction, which is ending and bringing in tons of cash. 
  • People start to leave, and Grace notices Malaga is covering her face with the auction catalog. 
  • The principal (Robert) compliments Grace on a job well done. They chit-chat about their husbands and how difficult Jonathan's job must be. 
  • Sally Morrison-Golden is sloshed and still very annoyed the rich homeowners did not show up. 
  • Robert says the auction was still wonderful. 
  • Sally asks Grace if Malaga found her—apparently she was looking for her earlier. 
  • Sally and Grace discuss how many men were swarming around Malaga.  
  • Grace asks Sylvia if it's okay to head out. She wants to be home when Jonathan arrives in case he needs her.

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