Thursday, October 8, 2015
After You by Jojo Moyes
Published September 29, 2015 by Penguin Publisher Group
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review
How do you move on after losing the person you loved?
How do you build a life worth living? Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
Last year Moyes' Me Before You was one of my favorite books of the year. Which made it a given that I would read After You. Me Before You made readers feel all of the feelings. And tears, oh my goodness were there a lot of tears shed. It was going to be a tough book to live up to for Moyes.
But readers clamored to find out what happened to Lou after Will's death. More precisely, readers clamored to know that Lou was going to be okay after Will died. And therein lies the problem. One of the great things about Me Before You was that Moyes' didn't feel compelled to wrap everything up with a tidy ribbon and deliver a happy ending. She left us with just enough to know that it was going to be tough for Lou to move on but that her time with Will had given her what she would need to live her life to the fullest.
But if you're going to revisit Lou, you can't come back to her and find that every thing's just peachy. So Moyes gives us a Lou who is struggling. In fact, she may well be in worse shape than she was in when Will came into her life. She can't settle into the home that Will's money paid for, her job is terrible, and she's estranged from her family. And she can't move on from Will's death.
Enter that link to Will's past, a new man to fall in love with, and more family drama and you've got a lot going on here. Too much. The support group could have been left out entirely and very little would have been lost. And that link to Will's past? Let's just say, some parts of that story line were unnecessary and others were a bit tough for me to buy into.
But this is Moyes so After You is a solid read with charm, some really well-written characters, and enough depth to help readers get involved in the story. It's not Me Before You but I enjoyed it. And I'm looking forward to the next chapter in Louisa's life. Because it seems apparent that there will be one.