If you haven’t read Me Before You or seen the movie made from the book, you may not want to read this review. Spoiler Alert – turn away now. You’ve been warned. If you did read Me Before You and have wondered whether or not to read After You, the sequel, this review is perfect for you!
But First, Let’s Chat About How Me Before You Ended
First of all, I have to tell you, I was super hesitant. It took me over a year to get to a place where I felt mentally and emotionally ready to dive in to the sequel.
I haven’t loved a fictional character as much as I love Louisa Clark since I was about 9 years old and met Anne of Green Gables. If you know me, that’s really saying something. What Jojo Moyes created in Louisa is more than just an interesting character in a story. Louisa’s quirky personality just jumps off the page. And her difficult backstory adds depth to her character. While reading Me Before You I felt like I experienced it all right along with her. The frustration, the determination, the love, the heartache that comes from having fallen completely in love with Will Traynor kind of just knocked me off my feet. And I felt all the hurt and sadness when Will, after everything Louisa did in an effort to change his mind, still chose to end his life.
When I reached the end of that book I felt angry. I was mad as heck at Will Traynor. I know it was complicated. For someone like Will who had been so physically active to end up as a quadriplegic so early in his adult life was horribly unfair. I can’t even fathom the pain and hardship he experienced. But even with all the empathy I had for his situation, I still was left feeling bitter with his decision to commit suicide. And then what truly sent me over the edge was the fact that he wanted Louisa to be there with him in his final moments.
It wrecked me. It really did. Even now, just writing those words, my eyes fill up with tears.
So, I needed some time. I wasn’t sure I could trust Jojo Moyes intentions for my girl Louisa.
But Then Curiosity Got the Best of Me
But as per usual for me, my bitterness, sadness and anguish, gave way to curiosity. That nagging wondering made me add the book to my cart one day.
And then I looked at it sitting on my nightstand for what felt like ages, before I finally grabbed a glass of wine, pulled the covers up and dove back in to Louisa’s life.
After You isn’t as great a book as Me Before You…..but really, how could it be? About 3/4 of the way through reading, I wanted to quit. I was starting to feel like Jojo Moyes had betrayed my girl. I was beginning to feel like maybe this sequel wasn’t going to give me the closure I so desperately needed. But I kept trekking through my feelings, reading as fast as I could in the hopes that Jojo would deliver.
Upon reaching the end, I’m not sure if what I got could really be classified as “closure”. There’s some unfinished business for sure. But really, there will always be unfinished business. That’s the way it goes when life and love ends far too soon. Though what I came away with was hope. Hope that my fictional friend Louisa will get the happy ending she so very much deserves.
I’m glad I mustered up the courage to find out what happened next. Now I’m not so angry at Will. I can now appreciate who and what he was in Louisa’s life without the bitterness overshadowing the love. And I think that’s a good thing.
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts! Grab a glass and pour out your thoughts in the comments section. This is one we really need to discuss!