Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

Saturday 10 October 2015
Title: After You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 24th September 2015
Pages: 411
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
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...

I didn't know what to expect from After You when I began reading it. I wasn't all that sure Me Before You warranted a sequel because so many books (and films) in the past have been given a sequel that just ruined everything that came before. My opinion soon changed however when I was just a few chapters into After You as I became hooked on the story. After You is an almost perfect sequel that I just loved. I suppose it boils down to whether you want to know what came next for Lou, or whether you want to stick with the scenario you came up with after finishing Me Before You. Or, you can be one of those that didn't want a sequel but will read it anyway and then have a good moan. There's a few of them out there already.

If you haven't read Me Before You then I wouldn't read my thoughts about After You or the book itself because you really do need to know the whole story before picking this up. Me Before You left me a broken man, I sobbed and couldn't get the story out of my mind for weeks. Even now it's one of the most memorable books that I have read with some truly unforgettable characters. One of them being the lovely and amazing Louisa Clark. Probably one of the best fictional characters I have ever read about, somebody who feels like an actual living, real person and somebody who I was desperate to see get some sort of happy ending after the heartbreak of Me Before You.

Something that stood out to me at the beginning of this book was seeing the grieving Lou, the book taking on an almost sad undertone whereas with Me Before You it wasn't overly sad or emotional despite the story and I think that's because it was balanced out with Will and his need to always speak the truth. And the fact that he was never afraid of speaking that truth, and just saying exactly what he thought. Jojo Moyes soon introduces a character scarily familiar to Will, a character who comes crashing into Lou's life from nowhere and really, she was a true breath of fresh air. It's a small spoiler to say that it's Will's daughter Lily, a daughter that he never even knew existed. Lily is somewhat of a tearaway but I have to say that (most of the time) I loved her. She too goes on her own journey throughout the story, and she is also a character I wanted to see receive a happy ending. I liked how unafraid she was to just come out and speak her mind, and how she so brazenly asked the questions that most people would never dream of asking. She was one of my favourite characters to read about in After You and she provides plenty of drama to the story.

I very quickly went from wondering whether this sequel was a good idea to really wanting and needing to know how Lou's life was going to progress without Will. I felt that it was a truly realistic and believable picture of the grieving process and without going into too much detail I think Jojo Moyes really went about it all in the right way, introducing a number of characters who help with the overall process and who all add something to the story. I think it's obvious to most readers going into the story that there will be some kind of romantic element and whilst the relationship Lou forms didn't feel completely perfect, and there were a few silly moments, it was for the most part a worthy story for Lou. Lou isn't exactly living the life that Will wished she would after his death and I did at times find myself wanting to shake her as she was offered the opportunities that only ever come around in the books and movies. Eventually Lou does start to see sense but unfortunately it happened a little too late for me, resulting in a bit of a rushed ending as I really wanted to read about Lou's new adventures further than we did. I think it was a real movie-type ending which was a little disappointing to me.

I think writing After You was somewhat of a gamble for Jojo Moyes but I think it is one that absolutely paid off. Perhaps it's a book that could divide opinion but I think the majority of people will really enjoy reading about Lou and where she ends up rather than settling for some idealistic ending that they came up with in their own minds. I think that's what stood out to me most reading this book, it wasn't perfect and nor was Lou or the decisions she made or the story itself. It was real, it was believable and it was emotional. And once again it was a story that I won't be forgetting in a hurry. A must-read book for those that have read Me Before You.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Shaun, I think I will wait a while before reading this one...but fantastic review


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