Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: After You

After You (Me Before You, #2)After You (Me Before You #2)
Jojo Moyes 
Romance (I guess)


Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

Wow. So unfortunately, I read Me Before You two summers ago at a very tumultuous point in my life, and I never got around to reviewing it. 

Back then, I didn't want to read this sequel. I was mad that Will killed himself, and I felt that the story missed its own point and I did not care to read further. But then last week, I thought of this for some reason. I'm dealing with a breakup right now, and something about that sense of loss from choice called to me. I picked up a copy of After You and started right away. 

After You was not what I hoped it would be. I wanted to hear a tale of moving on, of learning to live without someone you loved so much and changed you. I'm not sure that was the case. The book centers more than anything on Lou meeting Lily, Will's long-lost daughter. It was about bad parenting, and Lou always doing the selfless thing out of fear of doing anything different or brave. An interesting concept, basically what everyone kept telling her in Me Before You. But no, not exactly what I was hoping for. 

The whole presence of Lily seemed a bit weird to me. Everyone felt like they got a piece of Will back, Lily felt such a connection to him - but she never knew him, he knew nothing of her. It seemed a little unrealistic to me that the Traynors just accepted her so quickly. If he had been alive they probably would have freaked out, right? However, the circumstances were beyond normal so I sort of accepted it. 

Lou, understandably, wasn't her adorable, quirky self. While totally understandable, I was hoping to see her regain some of that. 

The whole Sam thing didn't thrill me. It was just so.... nothing special. I didn't read them fall in love.. just into a relationship. 

The most moving part for me was The Moving On circle (no pun intended). There I related to the heartbreak, and was angry at the characters but also sympathetic. I wanted them to discover happiness again. Sadly though, Moyes never fleshed out Jake, Fred, Daphne, Natasha, Marc. I felt that it could have been a good framework around which to tell Lou's story. 

Lou's family had an interesting arc though - Josie Clark discovers feminism, Bernard doesn't know what hits him, and Treena deals with her jealousy of Lou. However, I feel like even this wasn't done fully. Josie goes from totally content traditional housewife to on the brink of divorce in the space of a few months. Specifically the leg-shaving thing- that's a point that even hardcore born feminists usually do anyway.  So you're telling me small-town Josie Clark jeopardizes her marriage on it after a few books??  

I actually came to like Treena a bit more this time though. In Me Before You, she is the supposedly 'smart' one that because of her Lou has to take jobs she doesn't like and hand her paycheck to the family. In After You, the strain between the two sisters shows up and I liked how that was realistic. Treena also rightly pushes Lou to live - what she would be doing if she could. 

Overall, there were too many small plotlines in this book, none of them fleshed out enough. However, the writing was superb and despite all my criticism, After You sucked me right in. 


2 comments:

  1. I've yet to read (or watch) Me Before You and I had no idea there was a second book so it looks like I will have to get to it soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! I hope you weren't spoiled! Me Before You is a truly beautiful, thought-provoking read.

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