Study Guide

You Should Have Known Growing Up

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Growing Up

The most obvious representation of growing up in You Should Have Known is Henry. We're told over and over again how handsome he's becoming, how tall he's getting, and how long his eyelashes are growing—it'd be pretty hard to miss the 872 times Grace pointed that last one out. Beyond that, he also grows up by becoming more responsible, more social, and more aware of the many sins of his father. On a more subtle level, Grace grows up, too. She releases the "giant Pause button" she pressed on her life the night she met Jonathan, finally leaves her childhood home behind, and starts creating a new life that's all her own.

Questions About Growing Up

  1. Compare Henry's characterization at the beginning of the novel to his personality at the end. How has he changed?
  2. How did Jonathan's manipulative behavior affect Henry's psyche as he was growing up?
  3. The moment when it finally hits Grace that her marriage is over is when she realizes she will never live in her childhood apartment again. Why do you think these concepts are so intertwined for her?

Chew on This

Jonathan's seamless transition from "cheater" to "Dad" both times that Henry saw him with another woman made Henry think everything was normal, which kept him from telling Grace.

For Grace, leaving her lifelong residence is even harder than leaving her career, colleagues, and even her husband.

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