Jojo Moyes/ Fiction Romance
Publisher-Pamela Dorman Books
[★-lost me ★★-average ★★★-worth a read ★★★★-excellent ★★★★★-amazing]
“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
After the heart-breaking success of Me Before You, Jojo Moyes is back with it’s sequel. While Me Before You took us through Louisa Clark and Will Traynor’s relationship, ending in Will’s death in Dignitas, After You tells us of Lou’s life after his death, after she inherits a significant amount of Will’s money and suddenly finds herself alone, far away from her house in small-town Strotford, unable to cope with her loss. She is restless, unable to stick at one place for long, with the result that she travels, without really taking it all in. As she says,“Without someone to talk to, every sight I saw—whether it was the Trevi Fountain or a canal in Amsterdam—felt simply like a name on a list that I needed to check off.”. She eventually takes up a job at an Irish-themed airport bar in London and becomes an insomniac. One night, out on the roof of her apartment, she hears a voice and slips….and falls…down.. She has suffered considerable damage; her hip smashed into two pieces,two of her ribs and collarbones snapped right through, and a metatarsal poked through the skin of her foot which caused a medical student to faint. The irony is apparent when Lou asks on of the paramedics if she will be paralysed. Thankfully, she is not. The hospital stay leads to a de-estrangement between Lou and her mother. To combat her depression and loneliness, Lou joins a Moving On circle for people who have recently lost a loved one. An unlikely romance starts between Lou and Sam, as Lou decides to move on from Will’s death. One day and unexpected visitor turns up at her apartment and Lou questions everything she had with Will.
Her accident not only helps Lou get her perspective right, but also her families’. Her mother is suddenly confronted by the fact that there is a world outside her small home, a whole wide world. Her father realizes that he can no longer take his wife lightly and for granted. Katrina wants to study further, looking beyond Thomas’ needs. Lou herself wants to move on with her life, find love and a shining career.
Can Lou do all that she wants to do in life? Can she finally settle down with someone she loves? Can she move on?
Plenty of familiar characters pass through. Lou’s parents, her senile Granddad and sister, Treena, are like a comic chorus with their whacky Irish warmth. Her mother discovers feminism, which leads to some super slapstick drama. Will’s grieving parents, now divorced, have a more serious part to play. And always we feel the absence of Will.
After You is most of all about Louisa’s journey, a random, bumpy process of accommodation to loss and the fear of starting over. “You live,” Ambulance Sam cries in frustration at her constant shilly-shallying. “And you throw yourself into everything and try not to think about the bruises.”
“Sometimes I felt as if we were all wading around in grief, reluctant to admit to others how far we were waving or drowning,” Lou muses.
We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.
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