“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.