Just a Song Before I Go

Young Adult

*Harsh Language warning*

Makia, a single mother struggling to escape the Ghetto, is ordered by a judge to provide community service at a predominately white, upper class, nursing home in Chicago.  Makia is initially suspicious of white people but her time at the nursing home begins to force her to open her eyes to others. She meets and befriends Joseph Scallettio, a reclusive composer, who tells her stories of his life in the 1940s and the love that started and inspired his career;  first as a Big Band composer and later a Blues songwriter. "Just A Song Before I Go" alternates between the life that Makia leads and Joseph’s memories.  It addresses age differences, race, religion, and other stereotypes.


A wonderful Nicholas Sparks-type read reminiscent of The Notebook, "Just A Song Before I Go" is a fabulous novel and worth the read. Makia is stuck in a tough situation with a son she adores, a mother who makes her life miserable and is content to live on Welfare, and a boyfriend she loves but who is trapped by stereotypes himself. Her entrance into the white nursing home on court orders is understandable bumpy. Still, once she starts talking to Joseph Scallettio, The Big Band Era comes to life, bringing the reader back into his memories along with Makia. Both Makia and Joseph’s stories resound with readers, one of hope for a better future, the other of love lost. Yet when it ends, readers are left with a contented sigh.


Sarah E Bradley