Warning: I couldn’t find a way to write this without spoilers for Me Before You. Which is also why it took so long. If you a haven’t read it yet, consider yourself warned.
It took me a little while to get into Me Before You, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. I thought After You would pick up there and keep up the pace. Me Before You was a wonderful whirlwind of a story and emotions. A good part of way into After You I was still waiting. Remember when I said beware of bestsellers?
A quirky misfit whose never fit in, the guy whose normally the center of the in-crowd, and is unfamiliar with life as the misfit, falling in love. It’s a pretty great concept. I love Clark and her somewhat naive, and incredibly unique personality – she didn’t fit in, and she never cared.
Will was exactly what she needed at the time she needed him. It happens a lot in real life – and we are never the same after, because those people make such an impact on our lives.
The pretty amazing aspect of the book: it looks at physician assisted suicide without the legal lens. Getting into how family, friends and the individual see life, as well as those Lou seeks help from online. I found the group responses incredibly surprising. While they were so happy to help, when it came down to it, and Will was set on ending his life, they all gave in and tried to help Lou understand that was his decision, and as hard as it came be you have to accept it.
The story is so well done, and slowly pulls you in. And then breaks your heart.
But there is something wonderful, that comes from all of this as well. Everything open to her after Will, a new world, opportunity and money to make it happen. Will challenged her, and when he left, he gave her the ability to continue that path forward. But the experience of Will in her life and his death seem to have shattered her deeply.
That actually makes sense – it would leave a deep scar and require a lot to come back from, as well as the strength to follow his request and live the way he’d dreamed for her.
I just can’t finish it. There is so much going on, and so much that a sane person would never take on the way she does. It may speak more to who I am, but her life in a crummy bar, and attempting to parent a teenager she’s never met – who seems to want family but none of the responsibility that comes with it. Neither one of them is terribly likable at this point.
Both have really been given every opportunity and shunned them all. Both women have moved in opposite directions in doing so – one to shut herself off, and close herself in to prevent anyone possibly being as important as she allowed Will to become, and other to attach herself to every stranger, event, drug, possible to fill whatever void there is from lack of family.
I had to stop reading because I just no longer cared what happened to either of them – I don’t care if they pull their lives together and actually take advantage of the options and opportunities in front of them.
My impression is that this is not a popular opinion of the book – that most people really loved it just as much as Me Before You. I assume there is some redeeming quality then at some point. But maybe not, and we just foist the love we had for Lou in the first book, onto the Lou of the second – who to be fair, is not the same character. Just like any person would be different after that experience. I guess I liked the old Lou better, and the new one just can’t find her way back.
What did I miss? Convince me to finish the second book!
Another Jojo Moyes book to check out: Ship of Brides. And not just because one of the characters is named Maggie.