Book review | After You by Jojo Moyes

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rating-3-stars

“You didn’t give me a bloody life, did you? Not really. You just smashed up  my old one. Smashed it into little pieces. What am I meant to do with what’s left?” (8).

Me Before You made me smile and got me to tears. I was really fond of Lou and her family. After the novel’s devastating ending, I was very curious about how the characters’ lives would turn out. I therefore absolutely love that Jojo Moyes wrote a sequel. If you haven’t read Me Before You, please stop reading now and check out my Me Before You book review.

After You basically picks up eighteen months after where Me Before You leaves off. Although after Will ended his life Lou travelled a little, she now works in an airport bar and lives in a flat in London. She is shattered by what happened. Then one evening she finds someone on her doorstep who might change her life. Will Lou be able to pick up the pieces? Will she be able to open her heart again, take risks and truly live?

I expected After You to be a success story of how Lou with some difficulties fulfilled her dreams. I imagined it to be kind of similar to the ending of Titanic where several pictures show us how Rose after Jack’s death lived a full life. When Lou reads Will’s letter in Paris at the end of the first book, her life seems to have a lot of happily ever after potential.  If I hadn’t read After You, I probably would have envisioned Lou having many wonderful experiences. Yet After You shows us life with all its problems and perks. We learn how Lou, her family and Will’s family have a hard time coping with Will’s choice and how his choice influences their lives.

Although After You is nowhere near as good as Me Before You, I really enjoyed it. I loved reading about Lou with her quirks and insecurities again. There were certain aspects of the novel I didn’t like. For example, I had trouble with Lily’s rebellious behaviour and the book might have been too heavy with sorrow. If you kind of liked the first book, I don’t recommend the sequel. However if you, like me, loved the characters of Me Before You, you will find After You a very satisfying read.

Moyes, Jojo. After You. UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa: Penguin Books, (2015) 2016.

Book review | The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan

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rating-3-stars

“The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say ‘Don’t worry, it’s  completely worth it’ ” (1).

Some books you just have to read with tea and mini chocolate muffins  (my favourite) within easy reach on your table or nightstand. Jenny Colgan’s The Little Shop of Happy Ever After is so sweet it will give you a sugar high. If you are not into those happy ever after romance novels, I don’t recommend this book.

I however do on occasion enjoy a good chick lit and, though a chick lit novel does not require deep thinking, it does lift your spirits on the rainiest of days. In Jenny Colgan’s message to her readers, she notes “this book is about reading and books, and how these things can change your life […] for the better” (ix). Some books get you thinking or they teach you something. Others, such as this one, are like security blankets; they make the world a little brighter.

In The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, twenty-nine-year-old Nina loses her job at the local library. Though she was never a risk taker, Nina decides to start a mobile bookshop in the Scottish Highlands. Shy Nina soon finds herself in an adventurous romance, but it might just be her dashing new man is too good to be true.

A protagonist who loves to read. A bookshop. An adventurous turn in life. The Scottish Highlands. Check, check, check, check. All these things excite me. I started and finished this book on the train from Amsterdam to Berlin. Since I travelled alone, this book was lovely company. I suggest to read this book when you want to feel good, because Nina’s story will without a doubt make you smile.

Colgan, Jenny. The Little Shop of Happy Ever After. London: Sphere, 2016.

Book review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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rating-5-stars

“There is a hunger in you, Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do ” (480).

In  Me Before You we meet Lou, a woman with an ordinary and rather unadventurous life. This all changes when Lou loses her job and finds work looking after Will Traynor, a wheelchair-bound man. Will Traynor lived an extraordinary life before his accident and has difficulty accepting his new situation. Lou must step out of her comfort zone to find ways to bring joy in Will’s life.

Sometimes you come across a character that you would instantly be best friends with if he or she would exist in the real world. Lou Clark seems to jump out of the pages of the book and I simply love her.  Not only Lou is charming, her whole family is loveable. Their conversations and actions are incredibly authentic. Although they have their flaws and problems, the Clarks are a warm, tight-knit family. Me Before You was a joy to read, because the lives the characters lead are extraordinary ordinary.

I read this book in July, because one of my friends wanted to see the film adaptation. I am one of those people who always tries to read the book first. I only had two days to read it and I thought it was going to be a struggle to finish it on time, but it wasn’t. This book just flows. The story develops with such an ease. There wasn’t a moment it bored me. It was the first book I read by Jojo Moyes, but it will definitely not be the last. Although it was a few months ago I read Me Before You, I wanted to write a review about it anyway. The story just stuck with me and I know it won’t be long before I decide to read it for a second time. I highly recommend this book to every romantic.

Did any of you read the book and see the movie? What did you think? I loved the book and I enjoyed the movie very much. Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin were perfectly cast. I loved their chemistry on screen. Of course there are differences between the book and the movie, but it doesn’t bother me. The book and the movie each tell a slightly different story, but they are both worthwhile. Both in the book and the movie I loved the scene with the red dress hence the red dress in the picture.

Moyes, Jojo. Me Before You. UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa: Penguin Books, (2012) 2016.