Monday, 19 October 2015

After You - Jojo Moyes - a humorous follow up

The Official synopsis

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.

My Thoughts

This is quite a difficult book for me to review, as like so many readers I was utterly blown away by Me Before YouMe before you which was deeply emotional and mind blowingly wonderful. I was excited and apprehensive about this follow up especially as one of the leading characters from the first book is no longer present, and I felt his absence yet was really keen to take up with Lou again.

After You follows the life of Lou, after the end of the first book, she finds herself alone and bereft and unable to fully move on after the ending of her intense and quite unusual relationship with quadruplegic Will.

Her story is interesting and engaging and sweeps you up right from the start and I continued rooting for her all the way through as she struggles to overcome her grief and find her place in the world whilst working in a really crappy job and finding it hard to build new relationships or resume old ones.

The first book was very emotional with deft touches of wry humour and thats what worked best for me. Book 2 is essentially a comedy with some emotional moments so it reads very differently for me. I love every book by Jojo Moyes that I've read (and I've read most of them) and this is no different. It's a hugely engaging read with great characters and a storyline that flows like silk, but, and there is a but, Me mefore you is such a huge and hard act to follow I feel the author has tried just a little too hard to inject humour into this book and what should be sweet and amusing at times occasionally spills over into farce, especially the storyline about Lou's parents, and the grief counselling support group.

I've given After You 4 stars rather than 5 as it is a really enjoyable piece of chick-lit but just not quite in the same calibre as it's predecessor. I'd say you do really need to have read and loved Me before you to appreciate this one, it just wouldn't work as a stand alone as you need to experience the depth of emotions in the former to understand Lou's motivation in the second book.

If you loved Me before you - you must read this one it doesn't spoil the former in any way, but do read them in order and be aware that they are very different. I didn't shed one tiny tear in the second book whereas I wept copiously throughout the first.

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