Tuesday, September 29, 2015

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

In After You, Lou Clark is living with the loss of quadriplegic Will Traynor, her first love.  Without him, she's floundering - wondering if she has it in her to live the big life he envisioned for her.  After a startling accident, Lou ends up at home, convalescing with her family.  Lou can't help but feel she's right back where she started.  To propel herself forward, Lou attends meetings of the Moving On support group where she encounters Sam Fielding - a man who feels dangerously like someone she could fall in love with.  And just as Lou is getting back on track, a figure from Will's past shows up at her door, forcing her to fully confront her past and change the course of her future. 

my thoughts:

As a HUGE fan of Moyes' bestselling novel, Me Before You, I was excited to learn about the sequel, After You.  I wanted to find out what happened to Lou after she made her way to Paris - what adventures would she pursue?  Of course, I did have some reservations about a "part two".  Would this book even have the same emotional depth as the first - could it?  Should there even be a second book?  So many thoughts ran through my head, but regardless, I just knew that I had to read the book to find out.  Luckily, I was offered a copy and eagerly accepted it.  So, what did I think of the sequel?

Hmm...that's a hard question to answer.  Part of me loved falling into step with Moyes' terrific writing and engaging storytelling.  She really can spin a good yarn.  And I absolutely enjoyed being reunited with a cast of characters (the Clark family) that I remembered quite fondly from Me Before You.    However, that is all I liked about this new book.  In fact, if I'm honest, a sequel shouldn't have been written.  Finding Lou in such a terrible state was heartbreaking and sad, but understandable considering what she had been through with Will.  Grief can last for ages and can come in a variety of ways - I get that.  Yet, at the same time, I had expected more from Lou.  In the last novel she wound up in Paris about to embark on a new life - she had hope.  With this new story she has lost that hope.  She is a complete mess and living a non-life.  All she does is work, drink wine, think about Will, and sleep.  She hasn't seen her family in ages and pretty much keeps to herself.  Until she has an accident that leaves her in the care of her family.  From that point on, Lou's life becomes bogged down with one concern after another - each one seemingly more ridiculous than the last.  There is her crap job at an airport lounge where she is forced to clean the men's loo and wear a red wig.  There are her meetings at a grief support group which don't seem to be helping.  There is her family which is falling apart due to her mum's new found interest in feminism.  There is the new friend/boyfriend who may be just what she needs or not.  Oh, and there is the teen-aged brat who shows up declaring she is Will's daughter.  Yeah, all of that drama combined with Lou's recovery from her accident is just one cliché too many.  Seriously, it felt like Moyes couldn't decide what direction to go in, so she went in all of them.  I found the story to be rushed, predictable, and rather disappointing.  After You was definitely not what I had expected. 

I feel badly writing a negative review about this book.  Especially, as I love the author's writing.  However, I just don't believe that After You is a good read.  Its a story that was better left unwritten.  I'd rather remember Lou being on the brink of a new adventure in Paris, than the Lou we find in this story.  And for those fans of Me Before You, I hope you enjoy After You much more than I did. 


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Oh no! How disappointing. I will give a shot and hope for the best.

techeditor said...

Sequels, whether books or movies, most often don't measure up to the original.