Book Review: After You

When I reviewed Me Before You, the first novel in this series by Jojo Moyes, I decided to review the whole series. I, however, didn’t anticipate it taking it so long for me to read but I have finally completed the second novel!

After You was about, as you can assume, on Louisa’s life after Will’s death. Then novel begins 18 months later where we find Louisa in London, living in a flat purchased with the money she was left by Will, having left her home-town as a result of the gossiping, accusations and general reminders of what happened. It is clear to see instantly that she is in a dark place, struggling with what occurred, as she is stuck in a dead end job, drinking lots and simply appears to have no personality, certainly not the loveable, excitable one we grew to love in the first novel.

At the end of the first chapter, Louisa falls off her roof resulting in severe injuries, meeting paramedic Sam (who is very clearly going to be a future love interest) and a trip back home. Louisa returns and decides to turn her life around, she agrees to attend a grief counselling group where the characters give more depth to the plotline and allows us, the readers, to continue to see Louisa’s emotional development. During this town a 16 year old appears at Louisa’s and it is discovered that she is Will’s daughter (which he wasn’t aware of as the teens’ mother hadn’t told him about her existence).

Lily, the 16-year-old, is in a very bad place, similar to that of Louisa and we watch how they grow and learn together. They argue and struggle with coping with their lives but we see how they support each other and watch them grieve their losses. Lily is a turbulent character turning Louisa’s life upside down. We later learn the cause for this behaviour, she is being blackmailed over a sexually explicit photograph, which was a good inclusion in this novel. It’s an issue common in our society and it was good to see that it was handled and Lily got out of this situation. While this plotline was being developed, so was Sam and Louisa’s and the book ended in an almost fairytale-like style with a happily ever after.

I do wonder how this is going to link up to its sequel and I wondered if some of it was written more for the screenplay than for the book itself. For those of you who don’t know, Me Before You is a film, and After You is planned to be adapted too. This was known to  Moyes while she was writing the book and I wonder if that was the causation for some of the dramaticism, in that it would be reflected well on the screen, while it wasn’t fantastically done in the novel.

Throughout the novel, we have meetings of the old characters we loved including Louisa’s family and I adored Moyes creating Louisa’s mother a feminist, it was an interesting detail and was one of the things that kept me going through the more boring parts!

I’ll be honest and say I hated this novel initially. I found the first part so mundane and boring but as the story progressed, whether intentional or not, it helped me understand the monotonous, sad life Louisa was living and the pick up of the plot mirrors the pick up in her life and emotions. By the end of the book, however, I found myself really enjoying it and I’m keen to read the third book ‘Still Me‘.

 

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