Sunday, 3 July 2016

Review: After You - Jojo Moyes

Written by: Jojo Moyes
Published by: Penguin Random House UK
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 407
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Lou Clark has lots of questions.
Like how is it she's ended up working in an airport bar, watching other people jet off to new places.
Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.
Whether her family can ever forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. 
And will she ever get over the love of her life.
What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.
Then, one night, it does.
But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions?
Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.
Open it and she risks everything.
But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in...

So after I cried rivers in Me Before You, I immediately pre-ordered After You so I could prolong my suffering and read what happens next for Lou. Hoping beyond hope that it would be just as good and we would finally get a happy ending for her. But instead what came next was more realistic and way more brilliant than I could imagine. After You, picks up 2 years after Me Before You and when we left Lou, she was more accepting of the situation, still grieving but seeming to be optimistic with moving on and following Will's advice to 'Just Live'. When we join her in After You, this has not carried on. Instead we get the more realistic idea that she is disappearing into her grief. But it does not stay this way for long.
“No journey out of grief was straightforward. There would be good days and bad days.”
What I loved most about this book was the realism of the story. Nothing about grief is straight forward, it never really leaves you and I'm so glad that this was captured perfectly within the story. Not only with Lou's grief but with the people she meets, it was just written fantastically and that is why it is my favourite, if most depressing, thing about this novel. Jojo Moyes has proved what an amazing writer she is with these two books alone.
“I loved a man who had opened up a world to me but hadn’t loved me enough to stay in it.”
As always the characters were perfect. Even the new ones were amazing and woven into the story brilliantly. While I did still have a problem with Lou's sister, which had just manifested itself from the first novel, there wasn't as much of her in this story and that suited me just fine. Another thing I did love was the progression of Lou's mum because to be honest in the first book she was a bit of a wet blanket, in other words boring, but in this one she has a passion for herself and she is doing things because she wants to not because she has to. She becomes more of a character and while there are times she is still annoying at times she has developed a lot since Me Before You.
“You don't have to let that one thing be the thing that defines you.”
All in all, After You leaves you reeling from the very first page. It shocks you and compels you to keep on reading and keeps you involved by the sheer amount of realism it uses. Everything that needs to be tied up and finished did just that and everything left over was for your imagination to unravel and that was brilliant in my eyes. In other words, this book finished with the notion that things are not over and Lou's life continues on. As I was reading I was agreeing with everything that was happening because things are never straightforward as they seem and grief is such a huge emotion that it can't be eradicated, it just has to be learnt to live with and hope that things will get better later on. And this books sums this idea up perfectly to me. Overall, I came for the characters and I stayed for the realism. 

After You (Me Before You, #2)
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