About the Book

Book Protagonist: Avery Stafford
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Best Quotes

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

The best Lisa Wingate’s quotes from ‘Before We Were Yours’ are so powerful they invoke, in the reader, the spirit of the times during when these merciless acts were carried upon Tennessee children.

Quotea from ‘Before We Were Yours’ are emotional and tear-jerking as they are strong and aggravating. The most important aspect of Lisa Wingate’s quotes is the message and how impactful they are for the reader. Lisa is an artful thrower of punchlines, and some of her quotes may need a little bit of extra thinking to figure out.

True Definition of Family

I learned that you need not be born into a family to be loved by one.

Arguably one of the most powerful lines in Lisa Wingate’s ‘Before We Were Yours’, this quote carries within it the simplest, yet perfect meaning of family. Rill Foss, who is one of the seven traumatized children of Queenie and Briny, gives forth this statement after her experience of being tossed around in-between homes.

Only 12 years old at the time she and the rest of her siblings are subtly abducted from under their parents’ noses, Rill and her sisters are taken to Memphis orphanage – where they’re being sold to rich couples who need children but can bear one.

At first, and from her point of view as a child, all parties to a thing like that are guilty and heartless, later, after having to live with and experience this new foster home, she finds that it’s possible to be truly loved by a family one doesn’t take their roots from.


In my multi fold years of life, I have learned that most people get along as best they can. They don’t intend to hurt anyone. It is merely a terrible byproduct of surviving.

Here’s another hard thought-out line from Rill, who is one of two narrators opted for by Lisa Wingate in ‘Before We Were Yours’. In this mindset, Rill continues to share her understanding of the reality of men; she comes to terms with this thinking through a series of human-relation experiences.

Here, Rill iterates, in defense of bad, exploitative people in the society – such as Georgia Tann and Co., including seemingly innocent rich couples who feign they don’t know that these children are being illegally acquired and sold to them. Rill, sums it all up to the reality of life; which is survival. People don’t start out being evil or wicked, but just so turn out that way to protect themselves, and survive.

The Disappointments of Life

Glorious anticipation has melted into wrenching anguish.

From the first pages of ‘Before We Were Yours’ after Christine delivers a stillborn, the atmosphere turns gloomy not only for her family but for the family of the unlucky children that will be illegally taken away to replace hers.

There must have been a song of praise, a cry of jubilation in the times building up to her hapless delivery. However, after the delivery, all joy and hope slowly melt down – congealing into sadness and depression.

Positive Thinking

Secretly, I’m clinging by all ten fingernails to the best-case scenario. The enemies will be vanquished on both fronts – political and medical.

Avery Stafford owns up to this apt rhetoric gumption. In Lisa Wingate’s ‘Before We Were Yours’, the reader notices Avery from the chapter two as she travels to Aiken, South Carolina, to be with her family – this is important as she has to be around to take care of her ailing father, Senator Wells, and a lot from him so as to replace him in the US Senate.

Avery is smart and intelligent and fears no challenge or obstacle standing in her way. That explains her producing this quote. She strongly believes and is optimistic her father will bounce back and be cute of cancer. She also believes their family’s political achievement will be achieved. She rehashes this to uplift herself during trying moments.

Economic Hardship

…but this Depression has made cash hard to come by. Mostly now he hustles pool and plays for things he can trade off to get what we need.

This quote is directed towards Briny Foss by Rill Foss. These are the times when economic hardship rises to its peak, and the Foss family – along with other poor – are worse hit by it. Briny is introduced as a very hard-working man, skilled at playing pool and pianos, but his industry – just like all the others – has dwindled following the event of The Great Depression.

But the timing of this quote is the ‘now or never ’ as his daughter questions his ability to provide for the hospital bill of his wife Queenie – who must be taken to a real doctor after she fails to deliver easy in their shanty boat.


What is a captivating quote in Lisa Wingate’s ‘Before We Were Yours’?

A very captivating quote in Lisa Wingate’s ‘Before We Were Yours’ is the first two lines of the prelude which reads:
“My story begins on a sweltering August night, in a place I will never set eyes upon.”

How many characters narrate unfold the stories in Lisa Wingate’s ‘Before We Were Yours’?

Two notable characters in Rill Foss and Avery Stafford are utilized by Lisa Wingate for the narration of ‘Before We Were Yours’.

Do Queen and Briny ever get to see their twin?

In ‘Before We Were Yours’, Queen and Briny are lied to that their twin babies are stillborn, but in reality, the babies are delivered healthy and sold to another family without their knowledge.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
Share to...