After You: Book Review by Dinh.
The conclusion of the first book Me Before You (2012), left a very sad and very emotional ending with the death of Will Traynor.
After You follows Louisa Clark’s life as she struggles to cope with the aftermath of his death.
We find Louisa living in a flat in London, a year and a half after Will’s death. She bought the flat with the money Will had left her.
Louisa works as a barmaid at the Shamrock and Clover, an airport pub.
In a drunken state one night, Louisa falls off the flat’s terrace roof and is taken care to the hospital by a very capable paramedic, Sam Fielding.
Returning to home to her family in Stortfold to recover, Louisa feels like she is where she started.
In trying to jump start her life again Louisa joins Moving On, a support group. Here Louisa see Sam again picking up a kid she assumes is his son from the group.
Louisa’s plans for her future is put on hold as a 16 year old girl named Lily turns up at her doorstep revealing a secret.
After reading the stellar book Me Before You, the sequel After You, by Jojo Moyes was a letdown.
How does one continue with the story of Louisa Clark’s life with the same amount of emotional intensity?
Me Before You was an emotional ride that made you laugh and cry, and a page turner with a great ending. After You lacked all these elements that you love in the first book.
Whilst I do like the breezy way Moyes writes, I found that the story line should have focused more on Louisa than the side characters, and their side stories, that didn’t work.
Take for example, Louisa’s mum who became interested in feminism. It was uncharacteristic and didn’t make her character believable. Louisa’s parents from Me Before You were what you expected them to be – traditional working class, and in the sequel their story just veered off and didn’t make sense.
And what’s up with the character Lily?
I’m not sure whether adding Lily, a young girl that is part of Will’s past, should have been in the book. It took the book a completely different direction from what I had imagine. Instead of Louisa moving forward with her life, she was moving backwards by sorting out Will’s past history.
I was expecting Louisa to be in her new world as Will envisioned.
“Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live.”
She was not living the happily ever after that Will envisioned.
And don’t get me started on Sam Fielding, the new love interest!
How do you go from Will to Sam? Though Moyes inclusion of Sam bought some love interest that gave the story a plot, I was disappointed that it was not a strong kind of love that move you. Sam, on one level seem well fitted to Louisa; a capable ambulance medic who understood Louisa and liked her for who she was.
Louisa liked Sam but not enough to stay with him.
So Will leaves Louisa in the first book, and now, Louisa is leaving Sam in the second book. I predict the next book will be the happy ending that we are looking for her.
Perhaps the trilogy’s focus will be when love is enough…
Let’s focus on the the good points!
What I did enjoy was the depiction of Louisa’s heartache since losing Will. After You, tackled the hard subject of death, and bought forth the theme of death and its aftermath, for the remaining people.
We all deal with the aftermath of death differently. For Louisa, she traveled to Paris as Will had wanted her to do. She then came back to England and didn’t know what she was going to do. She was in limbo and still trying to recover from the loss of Will.
Moyes portrayal of Louisa being lost after the death of Will was realistic and understandable. Louisa is the complete opposite of what she was like in Me Before You and this made it realistic.
My Final Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading the sequel After You. Although it was not as good as the first book Me Before You, I would still recommend Jojo Moyes fans to read it because I was interested in what happened to the girl we loved in the first book.
After You follows the life of Louisa after Will’s death. Although the story line did not compel me, the book’s ending was a set up for book three. Will Louisa fall in love again?
If you haven’t read the first book, check out my review review of Me Before You!
Did you read Me Before You or After You? Let me know if you enjoyed Jojo Moyes’ books.