Study Guide

You Should Have Known Chapter Twenty-Three: The End of the World

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Chapter Twenty-Three: The End of the World

In this edition of the book, Chapter 23 is pages 404-425.

  • Vita and Grace are now meeting for lunch once a week, and Grace feels like she's being allowed back in to memories she suppressed. 
  • They go grocery shopping and Grace finds a store that makes awesome chicken marbella. In late February, Grace and Henry bring this chicken marbella to Leo's house. 
  • Grace and Leo have apparently been hanging out every few days. Grace wanted to cook something, but she was busy looking at office space that day. She wants all new furnishings for her office besides the mug Henry made her. She loves that mug—further evidence that she's changed from the beginning of the book when she called the mug "unlovely" (1.4).  
  • Leo is so excited to see them, and Grace is so nervous to meet his three best friends.  
  • Those friends are Colum, Lyric, and Lyric's teenage son Rory. They joke about how popular their band is how the roots music scene is growing in New York. 
  • Privately, Leo says Henry's great, and Grace teases him that he'd do anything for another fiddler in his band. Leo says that's true, but Henry's still great. 
  • Everyone loves the chicken marbella, and they seem to be loving Grace and Henry as well. 
  • They discuss Grace's plans to move her psychotherapy practice to the area, Vita's eating disorder clinic, and Leo's memory of a speech Vita gave at Bard about adolescents and social media. 
  • Small world.  
  • The band has its own Facebook page, and Leo jokes that they're just feeding Grace and Henry so they'll become followers. 
  • Henry realizes he's kidding and says he wants to hear some music. 
  • Rory asks if Henry wants to play his fiddle, but Henry says he's not trained in anything but classical music. 
  • He picks up the fiddle and holds it like he's been taught, and Rory says that looks uncomfortable.  
  • Henry relaxes a little and Grace imagines his intense teacher losing his mind over this. 
  • Henry plays the last piece he worked on in New York, the Siciliana movement of Bach's Violin Sonata no. 1 in G minor
  • Everyone tells him it's so pretty, and they wish they had another fiddle so they could teach him that style.  
  • Henry says his violin is in the car, so Grace says she'll go get it. Leo says he'll go get it with her. Yeah, he will. 
  • They kiss. It's very sweet, and it's Grace's first first kiss in 19 years.  
  • She says she doesn't want the band to suspect anything, but Leo says they already do. He really, really likes her. 
  • He confesses that he saw her wearing a blue bikini on her lake house's dock when he was 13. 
  • "That sort of thing stays with a guy" (23.415).  
  • Grace laughs and says she needs to go check on Sherlock. Leo says they'll teach Henry "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" while she's gone. 
  • Grace feels like her relationship with Leo has crossed into new territory. It's different than the immediate, intense connection she felt with Jonathan, but maybe that's not a bad thing. 
  • Grace checks the mail and sorts through the junk. There's a letter from Jonathan, addressed to the lake house.  
  • She throws up in the sink and tells herself out loud that she doesn't have to open it. 
  • But she does. 
  • Here's what it says, along with some italicized commentary a la Shmoop.
    • This is the hardest thing he's ever done, but he won't act like he knows how much she's gone through.
    • Malaga started everything when she had the audacity to get pregnant.
    • He thought he could keep her happy, but instead of her being grateful for him healing Miguel, she went and got pregnant again.
    • Does Jonathan understand how babies are made? It takes two to tango, Murder Doc.
    • Malaga wanted to destroy their family and he couldn't let her do that.
    • "There was not a single moment that you and Henry were not my first priority. I hope you can believe that" (23.419).
    • We do not believe that.
    • He can't even write about what happened in December because it was so horrible.
    • He hopes one day he can talk to her because she's the best listener he's ever met.
    • UGH. This guy is the worst.
    • He asks if Grace remembers the book he was reading when he met.
    • She does, obviously—the one about the Klondike.
    • That's where he is now, but he can't stay much longer.
    • He wants to give her and Henry a chance to join him.
    • How kind.
    • He knows it's a crazy thing to ask, but he doesn't want to give them up without a fight.
    • He gives her very specific instructions on how to get to him without being tailed.
    • He wants her to know he's never loved anyone else, and he'll be okay.
  • Grace drops the letter on the ground like it's poison, but then picks it back up and sets it on the table, "as if it were the inanimate object it was pretending to be" (23.420). 
  • For a moment, Grace imagines what it would be like to go away with him. 
  • In a flashback montage, she remembers their life together, the history of their house, growing up there, thinking her parents had the perfect marriage and they didn't. 
  • She realizes she'll never live there again. 
  • "This was the moment it finally broke through to her. That apartment, that home, was gone. Like her marriage. Like her husband, who was now thousands of miles away in a cold place, asking for her forgiveness" (23.423). 
  • She stops herself and recognizes that Jonathan actually isn't asking for forgiveness. He talks about how hard this is for him and how he lost control, but he doesn't apologize. Maybe he thinks there's too much to be forgiven for, or maybe he doesn't think he needs forgiveness. 
  • We're going with Option B. 
  • For the first time, Grace compares what she thought she knew about Jonathan with what everyone else has told her about him. 
  • She thinks about his little brother, the parents he abandoned, his successful brother Mitchell, the older woman he lived with in college, the time he disappeared as a resident, the money he took from her dad, the doctor he punched, the lawyer he consulted and cursed out, the patients he hadn't admitted, the funeral he didn't attend, the magazine editor who was his patient's aunt, Rena Chang raising his baby, Abigail Elena, and finally Malaga. 
  • Sherlock is standing on the deck, listening for some animal in the woods.
  • She hears Henry playing the fiddle in the distance. She admits that she loved her marriage, but now it's over.  
  • She goes inside and finds Detective Mendoza's business card.

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