Study Guide

You Should Have Known Chapter Three: Not My City

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Chapter Three: Not My City

In this edition of the book, Chapter 3 is pages 54-68

  • As she waits for Henry to get out of school so she can take him to his violin lesson, Grace reflects on how Rearden has changed since she went there. 
  • She considers her era the "last of the school's innocence," when it had a more Bohemian vibe than it has currently with the children of super-rich "Masters of the Universe" (3.55). 
  • Grace reflects on a time when Henry was invited to a birthday party in a ritzy Park Avenue penthouse.
    • The party's hostess, a tall blonde named Linsey, had a ton of Birkin bags. Grace only has one, and she really wanted to see all of Linsey's.
    • She fondly remembers how Jonathan just naively assumed he could walk in to the Hermes store and buy a Birkin bag. Apparently this is not how it works.
    • Linsey thanked them for coming and told Grace the doorman would be glad to hail a taxi for her if she needs one.
    • Judging from Grace's reaction, this was the insult of the century. Since she's lived in New York her entire life, she knows a doorman could hail a cab for her. Why, she's even been to parties in Linsey's building, back when it was full of "Jazz Age opulence" (3.58).
    • Hate to break it to you, Grace, but Linsey may not have known all that. 
  • Henry finally shows up with his violin and says, in typical middle-schooler fashion, that his day was "fine." Such detail. 
  • Henry's violin lesson begins, so Grace listens to her phone messages. 
  • The first message is from Jonathan, who says he'll be home late because he admitted two new patients to the hospital—a likely story.  
  • The second message is from one of Grace's patients, who's canceling an appointment.
    • Grace thinks about this patient and her gay husband—she should have known when he told her about his experimentation in college.
    • Her thoughts drift to her college advisor, Mama Rose, who lived on this street, was super personable, and opened every advising session with a hug.
    • Naturally, uptight Grace thought it was unprofessional, but she stayed because Mama Rose was notorious for giving out A's. 
  • Henry's violin lesson ends and he's pretty down about it. 
  • She compliments his playing, and he says his teacher doesn't seem to like it as much any more. 
  • Then Henry drops a bombshell: His dad told him he could quit if he wanted: "Life is too short to spend time on something I didn't like. He said my main responsibility was to myself" (3.66) 
  • Grace reels from this news because that doesn't sound like Jonathan at all. 
  • She assumes Henry must have misunderstood.  
  • At this point, we'd like to take a break to bang our heads against a wall. 
  • Okay, we're back. 
  • Grace asks Henry if he wants to quit, then suggests he take some time to think about if he wants to switch teachers or instruments, even though she personally doesn't like any other instruments. 
  • Henry says, "Whatever" (3.68). #teentalk

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