Study Guide

You Should Have Known Chapter Nine: Who Listens?

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Chapter Nine: Who Listens?

In this edition of the book, Chapter 9 is pages 142-169

  • After discovering that Jonathan left his phone at home, Grace lays awake for hours thinking about her options. 
  • She considers calling the hospital to see if anybody else is at the same conference.  
  • She could call the conference itself...if she knew where it was. 
  • She could call one of his closest colleagues, but that would clue him in to the fact that she doesn't know where he is.  
  • None of these seem like very good options. 
  • She remembers their last interaction on a normal, busy Monday morning, giving each other the rundown of appointments, patients, and errands for the day. 
  • They planned to have dinner that night, but Grace rationalizes (a.k.a. makes up an excuse for) this by imagining that Jonathan realized it would be better to catch a late flight to the conference. 
  • In one tiny burst of common sense, she realizes that Jonathan didn't just forget his phone; he intentionally left it behind.  
  • She believes this is out of character for him because they're close and he likes to check in. 
  • Grace considers Googling the conference but can't bring herself to do it. 
  • She remembers another time when Jonathan was missing for almost three days.
    • She called the hospital and left tons of messages, and he finally came home and said the hospital had been busy.
    • Back then, she told him how worried she was, and he wanted to know why she would be, since he wasn't the one with cancer.
    • Grace felt guilty and silly for feeling worried after Jonathan dismisses her concerns.
    • See also: Gaslighting, manipulation.
  • *Big moment alert* 
  • For the first time in the novel, we hear an omniscient narrator: "Just now, she was so focused on the idea that it had happened before and signified nothing that she utterly failed to note the significance of it having happened before at all. Which, had a patient performed this sleight of hand in her presence, she would certainly have pointed out" (8.148).  
  • Grace thinks about how she never thought Jonathan would leave her. 
  • She remembers when they first met as she falls in and out of sleep. 
  • The next morning she's acting like everything's hunky-dory for Henry's sake.  
  • Seeing a swarm of media outlets in front of the school pretty much quashes her Pollyanna act. 
  • The Rearden moms gossip about this awful situation, but nobody knows any details. 
  • Gossip Queen Sally reveals that she told the detectives about all the men flirting with Malaga at the fundraiser because of course she did.  
  • Birkin Bag Linsey says she saw Malaga's husband, Guillermo, once and assumed he was the janitor. She also thinks he killed her. 
  • Some random lady suggests Malaga's murder may be related to drug cartels. 
  • All of these comments are racially problematic, to say the least. 
  • Sylvia tells Grace that Robert (the principal) was looking for her a few minutes ago. 
  • Once again, Grace invents a story: She assumes he wants her advice as a mental health professional. 
  • Grace goes to Robert's office. Weirdly, he seems startled to see her, won't make eye contact, and isn't saying much. 
  • Finally, he tells her the police asked him questions about Miguel and his scholarship.  
  • She thinks that's bizarre, and Robert is at a loss for words. He tells her has to cooperate fully. 
  • She can't imagine why Miguel's scholarship would be relevant, and he delicately tells her that it wasn't set up through the usual channels.  
  • Despite Robert practically handing her the questions on a silver platter, Grace doesn't follow up. 
  • "Oh my God, she thought wildly, abruptly locating her inner adolescent self: Ask me if I care! (9.155)" 
  • Robert is just staring at her, likely wondering how someone as smart as she is can also be so incredibly obtuse.  
  • She says she needs to get to work unless he needs anything else.  
  • Robert says, "That's kind of you, Grace. But I think we have enough." (9.156) 
  • She leaves his office feeling confused by his behavior, then again invents a story that maybe he wanted to talk to a therapist himself because he's feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Grace heads to her office and goes through the routine of setting it up for the day.  
  • She emails Jonathan, remembering all the times he's missed violin recitals or holidays because he works with cancer patients. 
  • She asks him to get in touch right now. That'll show him. 
  • Grace starts to second-guess whether Jonathan actually told her he was going to a pediatric oncology conference. Maybe it was somewhere else or focused on a different topic, so really, his lack of response is kind of her fault. 
  • OMG we cannot even with her right now. 
  • Grace's first patients enter and the husband immediately starts going through all of the problems in his life and insulting his co-workers.  
  • Hothead's wife looks very stressed and aggravated, but Grace is barely listening. 
  • As Hothead rages on about their holiday plans, his wife stops listening too.  
  • Grace tells them not to discuss it until the next session. We have to give her props for this stellar method of hiding her disinterest. 
  • Her next patient is Lisa, the one with the gay husband. She starts crying as soon as she walks in.  
  • Lisa followed him to his boyfriend's house, and he officially told her their marriage is over. 
  • Lisa says she understands that he's gay, but they still have kids, so what is she supposed to do? 
  • Grace tells her that her husband was probably mostly telling the truth—he really did want to have a family and kids because it would hide his homosexuality. 
  • Maybe Lisa should have seen it coming, but she also needs time to be sad. 
  • "‘You mean I should have known,' she said bluntly. Yes, Grace thought. ‘No,' she said…‘Your ability to see clearly what you might have seen in other circumstances was compromised'" (9.164-165). 
  • Lisa sarcastically says she's so happy that her husband can be a father on the weekends like he always wanted to be, but still be his "authentic self" (9.166) the rest of the time while she takes care of the kids. 
  • Lisa lashes out at Grace, saying she wanted to go with a kinder therapist but her husband thought they needed "tough love." 
  • Grace points out that being sweet and cuddly wouldn't help Lisa. Her job is to help Lisa work through her emotions and learn to comfort herself.  
  • Lisa says maybe that's true, or maybe Grace is just an ice queen. 
  • Editor's Note: Lisa's actual words are a little harsher than that. 
  • Lisa apologizes. 
  • Grace says she'll get over it, but she wants to know why Lisa came to the session if Grace was her husband's choice. She tells Lisa she does think she can help her.  
  • Lisa says that when she looks at Grace, she thinks that she never would have fallen for this. She would have known. Meanwhile, Lisa feels like her "target moronic reader" (9.168). 
  • Grace says her target reader isn't a moron; she just isn't through learning. 
  • Lisa says she should probably read Grace's book before the next session. 
  • This statement makes Grace smile—Lisa will be okay because she can see a future. Plus, she knows where her husband is.

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