Book Review #24 – After You

We want their presence to feel like a gift – Jojo Moyes. 

At first, I was determined I wouldn’t like this book as much as its prequel. Me Before You was such a love story, full of heartbreak and mischief that it just didn’t seem fair to replace it. On the other hand, I was eager to find out what happened to the once happy care-free woman who wore bumblebee tights in her late twenties. 
I have so many different feelings about this book that it is hard to know where to start. Jojo Moyes once again took me on a rollercoasterthat built and built and built to an amazing height and then plummeted to the ground. I cried with the characters once again,with their grief and their happiness, with their frustrations and their joy. 

Between the beginning and towards, perhaps, the first third, I definitely preferred Me Before You. Some of the sequel was a tad too out there, as if drama constantly surrounds Louisa Clark and her now extremely mundane life (despite Will’s money he left for her). However, once I got past the Oh My God No Way point, I fell in love with the new additions to Louisa’s extended family – there are a few – and I rekindled my love for the Clarks.

Louisa as a character is just phenomenal, as I probably said in the Me Before You review. She is flawed; she has her ups and her downs and she is the perfect imperfect human being who, I think, a lot of women – in their twenties or not – will identify with. Underneath all the grief and the hurt, her character has not changed. Yes, she has changed in ways that losing someone you love will change you, but she is still as sarcastic and blunt as ever with the very British sense of humour. And she still wears her heart on her sleeve. 

After You is set eighteen months after Will’s death. Louisa is still in a state of shock, a grief that will not subside, and her life – after travelling a great deal – has come to a standstill. She goes to work. She goes home. She drinks. She sleeps. That is her routine. One night, she is so wrapped up in her grief whilst drunk on her rooftop, she falls off her building and into a neighbours balcony. From there, the next whirlwind of Louisa’s life occurs. 

Moyes transcends the meaning of love once again. Love is everything in this novel: the sheer amount of it between many of the characters is what brings it to life, not only those who are living but those who are being mourned for too. Love is the reason why After You is an emotional rollercoaster. After Will, you really want his entire family to be okay again, including Louisa too. And you really want her to grab life with both hands as Will had expected her to.

I love the fact that Will is almost omnipresent throughout the sequel. He may not be there physically but with every turn of the page he is imprinted between the lines, in the thoughts of Louisa and her peers, in your own thoughts too – he was the catalyst that started it all and it’s pretty hard to forget a character like him. 

The ending of After You is exactly what I had hoped for. It is the beginning of the next chapter, almost of a new life, for Louisa. Her life is once again – after perhaps a lifetime – her own to indulge, excite, enjoy and to JUST LIVE, in the words of Will Traynor, and Lily who is a welcome addition to the family. 

Honestly, both books are feel good stories that will make you look at your own life and wonder “How can I make this better?” 

I 100% recommend these books and I am so glad that I saw the theatrical trailer a few months back, or I would have never thought to buy them. Following Louisa Clark through extremely difficult moments that may happen in anyone’s world is eye opening and life affirming. 

Have you read these Jojo Moyes’s novels? Which do you prefer? How did you feel about After You?

Love, Faye x 

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