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Before the Ever After

de Jacqueline Woodson

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4783250,901 (4.37)10
ZJ's friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 32 (següent | mostra-les totes)
ZJ’s dad is a football hero to the fans, but to ZJ – he is “my every single thing”. Father and son share a deep bond and the reader glimpses wonderful memories of father and son sharing music, food, and fun. But, there are changes happening with ZJ’s father. His headaches, emotional outbursts, and confusion initially cause embarrassment, but later are frightening. ZJ and his mother find that he is slowly slipping away from them. His mother explains that it is from all of the hits his father received playing ball. While not named in the novel, CTE is slowly stealing ZJ’s father from him. As ZJ tries to understand what is happening to his beloved father, he turns to a tight group of friends. Adult readers will know what future awaits the family, Woodson does offer hope for ZJ with the support of those closest to him.

Once again, Woodson delivers. Reading her verse is a wonderful way to peel back the layers of this story, learning a little bit more page by page. This story is set when the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on NFL players and other athletes is only beginning to be studied. We learn that other football families are also experiencing similar situations. ( )
  AnnesLibrary | Jan 28, 2024 |
I feel like it'd be too much to say much after reading this middle grade novel-in-verse.

By turns, it's joyful, poignant, scary, heartbreaking, and hopeful, while being as altogether beautiful as the spot-on imagery depicting father-son love on the book cover.

I'm quite an American football fan, highly enjoyed the days when one of my family members played, and I've been watching the rule changes and new protocol coming to the game in recent years.

This book is a deftly resounding reminder of what the changes are for. ( )
  NadineC.Keels | Dec 4, 2023 |
This book is written through a series of poems, each one describing a different day with ZJ and his dad. It is a chronology of time before his dad's brain injury and after. It is written from ZJ's point of view and demonstrates his love for his dad, a famous football player and world's best dad. We witness ZJ's hope, confusion, and hurt around his dad's deteriorating condition. Beautiful penned story addressing social and medical issues that will have you thinking further. Great book for a Book Club-lots to talk about!

2021 Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner! ( )
  kristenhauser | Jun 28, 2023 |
What a story. Jacqueline Woodson is a master at her craft. She can write stories in prose at such a level that I only reserve for two other people (Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander).

This story follows a older elementary aged boy, ZJ, who idolizes his father. His father was a football superstar. Until the father starts experiencing headaches....and bouts of memory loss....and mood swings....and random bursts of anger.

Life has ceased to be what ZJ remembered it being, what his friends LOVED about his dad. Who is this stranger that his father has become?

This book will resonate with those who battle, or know people who struggle, with CTEs or TBIs. I do appreciate that this book wasn't about knocking the sport of football due to its concussion potential. That isn't the point of "Before the Ever After." Rather, it is about finding a way to reach those we love....even when all seems lost. ( )
  msgabbythelibrarian | Jun 11, 2023 |
I love poetry and try to get at least one poetry read in April each year. This novel is verse is suitable for middle-school-aged children but deals with a serious issue – brain injury resulting from multiple concussions while participating in contact sports.

ZJ is the only child of professional football star Zachariah Johnson, but to ZJ, his father isn’t a star, he is “Just my dad.” The action takes place beginning in 1999, before doctors had clearly identified chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and the role that repeated blows to the head played in development of this degenerative brain disease. ZJ and his parents struggle to make sense of what is happening to the formerly strong, happy, loving father and husband. ZJ is helped by his best buddies: Darry, Ollie and Daniel. These boys comfort and distract ZJ when things get tough.

I am in awe at how much information Woodson can convey in so few words. The poetry format allows the author to get straight to the emotion of the situation. But make no mistake, she paints some vivid pictures and fully realized characters.

At the end of the story, Woodson includes a note about CTE and the efforts of the medical community (and professional sports organizations) to combat it. I recall recently seeing a news article about a newly designed football helmet specifically for quarterbacks. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 3, 2023 |
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ZJ's friends Ollie, Darry and Daniel help him cope when his father, a beloved professional football player, suffers severe headaches and memory loss that spell the end of his career.

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