Turn That Page Right Now

What Book's Up, Buttercup?

After You by Jojo Moyes

on September 14, 2017

If you are on this site and like to hear more about my mysteries, do not worry, I have several coming up. I am, however, going to tell about some of the other books I have been reading this summer. Today’s novel is more… romance/self-discovery/I do not know what. Let me set the stage. I was partnered with a book buddy to read a book together from our TBR shelves that we both wanted to read. The other person, said she had done this before, selected one book that we were going to read, and it was not even a book I had on my TBR shelf. I offered up other books that we both had in common, but she was dead set on reading that book. After much discussion, we finally compromised on another one book she chose for us, After You by Jojo Moyes. This is the sequel to the beloved Me Before You, which was made into a movie last summer. I read the book before the movie came out, and I was hooked. With the first book, I may (or may not) have stayed home from my small group meeting to finish. Oh, my. I was a mess when I read the first of the two. I sobbed an ugly cry, sitting on my couch alone in my apartment with only my cats. It is like those quotes or cartoons that say you feel like you have just had a death in your family when the book ends. No one understands. Luckily, my sister was only a phone call away, and she was able to get my pain.

Now, over a year later, I am being forced to read the sequel. Do not get me wrong. This book was on my list of books to read, and I wanted to see what happened, but I was just not ready yet. (Also, the person who insisted we read the book… never even read it. She said she started the first few pages and did not like it. Sigh.) I had heard many times over it was not as good as the first, and was just… different. I was excited to see how Lou was doing, but I was afraid to see how much the tone had changed. Let me give you my initial review I provided on my online book group:
In the follow-up to Me Before You, we see Louisa after life with Will. This book, as I have read before, was quite different from the first, and that was not a plus. I will explain more later.

Louisa is adjusting to her new life, attending a group therapy addressing moving on, and has suffered an accident leaving her with emotional and physical pain. She is not where she imagined, stuck in an airport bar, instead of living the life that Will would have dreamed for her.

Over the course of the book, two people enter her life that will change it drastically. These people will help her realize what it means to love and care for someone else again, and help her to work through her grief.

I do not want to go into too much of a review due to the fact it will reveal too much about the story. I will simply say that, while I liked this book, I did not like this book anywhere as much as I did the first. Due to the theme of grief and pain (yes, there was love too), it was so out of character for the Lou we grew to love and know. Even her wonderful, colorful wardrobe became bland and sad. This was a great read, and I recommend it to others, but give the warning that it is not like the first if that is what you are expecting. Four gold stars. Really 3.5, but I will round up.

So, you see how I feel. If Me Before You was the perfect ice cream sundae, this was a sad, unfortunate plain vanilla soft serve. Do not get me wrong, I love a good vanilla soft serve on a hot summer day, but when you have had the best, it is hard to compare. Lou was a favorite character. I felt like I could relate to her quirky style and thoughts. She reminds me a lot of myself, or how I see myself, around the “normal” everyday people. This book made me ache for her, not just because she had experienced great grief, but because she turned away from everything which made her happy and let her sadness consume her. It affected her attitude, her life, her outlook on her own circumstances, her job, personality, and even her wardrobe. You may think, that is not a big deal! It is just clothes! But for Lou, this was just one way she expressed herself. Imagine someone like me who dresses in all pink and often sequins, feathers, bows, pearls, beading… even in the day for work, and suddenly wearing all black, grey and brown with plain everything. You would get the feeling something is wrong. It is the same with Lou. She transformed completely, and while I appreciate seeing a character grow or change, this felt all wrong.

I am incredibly sorry, I feel like at this point I am just going on and on. I will go ahead and let it go. Great, now the song is stuck in my head… So. Overall, a book I would tell others about, if you have read the first, but with the warning that it is completely different. 3.5 not so shiny stars.

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