After You by Jojo Moyes
Over the last few years I have quite settled down to the idea of sequels. The moment I fall in love with a book I begin to hope a sequel will come along and that I’ll never have to say good-bye to the characters I’d grown to care for.
And so it was that I picked up After You quite eagerly, given that I’d completely loved Me Before You. I reviewed it here. I was eager to know what Lou makes of her life after Will, specially since we’d left her at in such an unhappy place.
After You begins 18 months after Me Before You. Louisa, Lou, Clark is drifting through life. She has left home to escape the bad press after Will’s death and has bought a flat in London from his bequest. However, she hasn’t quite moved on. She is stuck in a job in a pub at the airport.
Then one night she falls off her terrace.
Her family rallies around her as she recovers and at the insistence of her father she joins a support group for people dealing with loss. Around this time, two new people enter her life – a young delinquent, Lily who is Will’s illegitimate daughter and a handsome paramedic, Ambulance Sam. The duo make up the centre of Lou’s new story.
First, the good bits: I loved that I could rebond with all my favourite characters from the first book. Lou’s warm and crazy parents and the sensible Treena as also Will’s parents, reserved yet affectionate. The new characters are also likeable – Lily and Sam.
The way Mr and Mrs Traynor handle Will’s death in very believable, very different, yet that’s so much within their respective characters.
There’s also a track where Lou’s mom takes to feminism – that made for a fun read.
What I didn’t like:
This new Lou has lost her mojo. I kept looking for the funny audacious Lou but couldn’t find her at all. Perhaps that does happen in real life when someone loses someone close to them, but I wish she’d picked up the pieces. I wish she’d made something of her life as she’d promised Will instead of simply hanging around for Lily. This one ends up being more Lily’s story that Lou’s.
I missed Will. I missed the Will-Louisa chemistry. Louisa holds imaginary conversation with him but they’re too few and without much character.
I found the support group meetings boring: Louisa joins the Moving On Circle and we are introduced to a group of new characters. Each of them has a story but none are engaging enough. In fact I skipped bits of their conversations, quite like how Lou tunes them out during the meetings.
The romantic angle didn’t quite grab me. Her connection with Sam is tenuous at best and just as they are warming up the book comes to an end with Louisa flying away for an assignment.
The book is slow. A slow start was expected considering that Lou was recovering from her loss but I was hoping the story would pick up as it progressed however that didn’t happen. In fact, there isn’t much of a story at all. It seems to meander between Lilly and Sam and go nowhere.
There’s one positive thing though – After You could serve as a decent beginning for a third book. Wonder if that’s what the author had in mind.