Over the last couple of years, I have shared book reviews with you on occasion. Last April was the last time I posted one about The Paris Wife, and told you I was about to dive into Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. And then I dropped the ball… that was the last of my 2016 book reports! Major fail. Many of you have expressed interest in hearing those reports again, and I always love interacting with you on books you’re reading. Books are a great connector, don’t you think? I decided to pick the book reports back up and am kicking off the year with the sequel to Me Before You with this book report: After You. (You may, from that, have figured out that I did in fact read Me Before You, just failed to tell you about it! And if you haven’t read that yet but you want to, you may want to skip this review for now so it’s not spoiled for you).
Last week Emmy stayed home sick. We thought she was on the mend, so she and I took a trip to the library. In my effort to spend less this year, I’ve decided to reconnect with my local library. We perused the shelves, and I picked up a copy of After You, not sure yet if it was my selection. I had heard mixed reviews and didn’t feel compelled to read it. A moment after taking it off the shelf, Emmy looked at me and said, “Mommy, I don’t feel good. I want to go home.” I didn’t think any more about what book I wanted, and ran to check it out and get her home… just in case. I didn’t want to be the woman with the child who puked in the K-M aisle of adult fiction.
Because I had been hasty in my choice, I accidentally grabbed the large print. A friend teased me about my old age after seeing this photo on instagram showing my cozy day at home with Emmy on the opposite sofa under a blanket, and me with my tea and book on my blue sofa. Notice the “LP” on the book!
Now let’s get to the good stuff… I wasn’t sure how Moyes would follow up, Me Before You, a beautiful novel about loving and letting go. In that book, Louisa Clark falls in love with the quadriplegic man for whom she is caretaker, Will Traynor. She’s given the task of trying to make him change his mind on taking his own life at Dignitas in Sweden. If you’ve read that novel you know (spoiler alert!) that in the end Will ends up dying at Dignitas with Louisa and his family by his side.
After You picks up a couple years later, when Louisa is living on her own in a London flat, working at an airport pub, and just existing, but not truly living. She’s afraid to move on, unwilling to truly let herself feel joy or love, and she hasn’t spoken to her family since Will’s passing since they didn’t agree with her being by his side at his death (in the manner of taking his own life). An accident which leaves Louisa in need of her family’s help sets her life in motion again, and she starts attending grief support groups, where she begins to develop new friendships. She also meets Sam, a handsome and strong paramedic, who sparks her interest. This novel really picks up when someone from Will’s past shows up and forever changes Louisa’s life, and shows her how to truly feel again.
Was After You as good as Me Before You? No, but that was a touch act to follow. Was it worth the read? Yes. I laughed and cried along with Louisa in this book, through all of her uncomfortable adventures. Perhaps because I am a little dorky and awkward myself, Louisa’s character resonates with me. If you are, like I was, on the fence about picking this book up, give it a chance! Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Literally. I spent Thursday organizing my kitchen and clearing out the clutter, reading pages in between… this was honestly my day: newly organized and mainly utilitarian shelves, green tea, dog toys on the floor (I promise you that is Chewbaca!), and the book by my side.
After I finished it so quickly, we took a little family trip to the library this weekend and I picked up Truly, Madly, Guilty by Lianne Moriarty and The Girls by Emma Cline. Have you read either of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations from you! Next time I need to go with a list of books I want to read… this time I just sort of perused and grabbed.
It’s freeeeeeeeeezing here today, so it’s a perfect day to snuggle up and read. Stay warm, friends!
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