After You, Jojo Moyes

I’m always wary when I approach books like this. I fell head over heels for the first one, Me Before You, because of the beautiful dynamic between Lou and Will and wondered how the next one would suffer.

Obviously Lou has changed significantly, the grief impacting her in the way I pretty much imagined it would. So the overall story arc follows her surviving and dealing with what she did, and the effect that it had on her and everyone around her. In small ways she is still the clumsy, awkward girl that we all grew to love; but with a darker side to her as she shuts people off and is stuck in a rut.

I admired the twist of using Will’s daughter popping up and demanding to know answers, and all the trouble that she brought with her. She was a really wild character that brought the light and life back to Lou’s life. She may have had difficulties and struggled a lot making it through, but that’s what made her an interesting and dynamic character. I much prefer reading about those types of characters, because they are not unimaginative and stock; they are relatable due to the way they express and deal with real emotions. The female friendship between the two of them was one of my favourites that I’ve read in a long time!

I started off liking Sam, liking the dates that they begun to have together and thinking it was rather cute. But it wasn’t long before my feminist mind started to kick in. I didn’t see exactly why he was relevant to make a happy ending, because Lily had already changed Lou and her offer to go to New York. His chemistry with Lou wasn’t as good as Will’s, but maybe that’s because they didn’t spend as much time together? I guess everyone’s happy endings are different, but for once it would be nice to have a novel showing that a relationship doesn’t always have to be the goal. (Thank God she still went to New York though, otherwise I would be raging!)

Also, on a side note – the ‘Feminist’ awakening that Lou’s mother had was a shockingly embarrassing portrayal of feminism and made me cringe every time I had to read about the fact that she was not shaving her legs. Feminism has so many layers and is more deep, like the fact that she wanted to leave the house without her husband and expand her world, which should have been the focus. Not a lousy portrayal of shaving preferences – attempting to garner humour about something that is a life choice for some people.

I don’t really know what else to say about it. It was a sweet read, with a lots of twists and turns, all designed to propel Lou along until she was finally ready to let go of Will. The symbolism at the end with the balloons was beautiful. And while it was nice to read about those characters again and see how everyone got on after Will, there is that question – was this sequel necessary?

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