After You is the continuation of Jojo Moyes bestseller Me Before You. I was unsure going into After You as Me Before You was so beloved and I thought it was fine. Not fantastically sparklingly wonderful the way I saw most reviews. And I am here to say I felt the same way about After You. It was good; the world built was real and the pacing was fine. But the characters just didn’t spark for me. I found them to be more like caricatures then real people dealing with serious topics like assisted suicide and grief. With books could have had such depth to the plot I found them edging to the comedic and that dissonance just made me not able to get into the book. Set six months after the death of Will, After You joins life in progress for Louisa. Working at an airport bar, Louisa is deep in grief and unable to move forward. Then a series of slapstick comedy and movie of the week dramedy things happen. Then the world rights itself and so on. In particular I found Louisa’s sister to be very abrasive; she was not supportive of any other people but expected support no questions asked for herself. These things did not make After You a bad book instead they held After You down from being a great book. It did have plenty of emotion and I wish more attention had been paid to the members of the grief support group, they were fantastic characters. While I did enjoy After You, I wish I saw what others see. For me Jojo Moyes’ books are a step above average but not spectacular.
Favorite lines – “There was a peculiar scent to grief. It smelt of damp, imperfectly ventilated church halls and poor-quality teabags. It smelt of meals for one and stale cigarettes, smoked hunched against the cold. It smelt of spritzed hair and armpits, little practical victories against a morass of despair. That smell alone told me I did not belong there, whatever I had promised Dad. I felt like a fraud. Plus they all looked so … sad.”
Biggest cliche – “My grief is not the same as yours. You cannot possibly know how I feel.”