I’ve been reluctant about this book ever since I knew it was a thing. I couldn’t even decide whether to buy it or not. I only ended up getting it because it was half price. And I know they’re pretty biased terms to start on, but I couldn’t really help it.
And how did it work out? Well, that’s what we’re here to see, right?
Let’s talk about After You!
Title: After You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Series Status: The 2nd book in the Me Before You duology
Number of Pages: 407
(Found on back cover & Goodreads)
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 . . .
There is such a huge love/hate relationship with this book in the bookish community, it seems. And I, for one, completely understand why.
Which side am I on?
Well, if you’ve heard me ever mention this book, there’s no doubt you’ll know. And if you haven’t…you’ll figure it out soon enough.
So, bit of backstory. I read Me Before You at the beginning of the year. I decided to give it a chance after seeing the movie trailer, despite it not being anything like what I usually read. And I fell in love with it. I sped through it, I felt all the emotions, and I swiftly added it to my “favourites” shelf on Goodreads. It was the perfect not-so-perfect book.
And then I discovered this one existed. And quite frankly, I was beyond confused because Me Before You would have been so incredibly beautiful as a standalone. So I resolved not to read it, I didn’t want an “after you”…and yet here we are. Because as Alice said when lost in Wonderland; “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”
This should have been left as a standalone. I know it sounds harsh for me to want to erase an entire book, but really. Me Before You left me with such a bittersweet feeling. After You stomped all over that. Again, I don’t mean to sound harsh but it’s so hard when a favourite book is tinted with this image you didn’t want to see.
The thing is, this wasn’t a bad book. I’m actually glad of the way it deals with important issues – relationships, sex and manipulation, loss and grief, feminism. All these things I feel were handled quite well. And there was a huge pull on the fact that everyone has their own problems, even (or sometimes especially) when it doesn’t seem so.
And I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate to this book in some way. I mean, it covers that many topics, it should be impossible not to relate somewhere.
But still. I didn’t want it.
Honestly, I feel like a spoilt child. To read a book and think “no, this isn’t what I wanted to happen” –
well guess what Ashleigh, it’s not up to you. This is the story and this is how it is. But every “event” that happened seemed to chip away at the story I previously loved, changing my opinion of every character. I no longer loved Louisa. Instead, I found her so frustrating and pessimistic about everything. Of course, she had reasons to be sad. Trust me, I know. But when there’s an entire book written about a character’s problems, and the character’s family’s problems, and the character’s friend’s problems…well, it can get tiring. It goes from being a book about getting over problems, to a book 92% dedicated to them.
This isn’t a bad book. Really, it isn’t. There’s character growth, it’s somewhat realistic (though Louisa’s life seems way too dramatic with bad events), and the relationships – family, friends, colleagues – all felt lifelike.
I just can’t help feeling resentful. Because where I once saw a bittersweet, not so perfect story that stole my heart…I now see this story, the one I didn’t want.
Rated 1.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
If you haven’t, have you read the first? Do you plan on reading this one?
Have you seen the movie?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!