AFTER YOU by Jojo Moyes

AFTER YOU

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Moyes’ sequel to her bestselling Me Before You (2012)—which was about Louisa, a young caregiver who falls in love with her quadriplegic charge, Will, and then loses him when he chooses suicide over a life of constant pain—examines the effects of a loved one’s death on those left behind to mourn.

It's been 18 months since Will’s death, and Louisa is still grieving. She's settled in a London flat purchased with money Will left her and taken a dreary waitressing job at an airport pub. After falling off her apartment roof terrace in a drunken state, she momentarily fears she’ll end up paralyzed herself, but Sam, the paramedic who treats her, does a great job—and she's lucky. Louisa convalesces in the bosom of her family in the village of Stortfold, and Moyes is at her most charming here, writing with a sense of humorous affection about family dynamics among working-class Brits. When Louisa returns to London, a troubled 16-year-old named Lily turns up on her doorstep saying Will was her father though he never knew it because her mother thought he was "a selfish arsehole" and never told him she was pregnant. Louisa also joins a formulaically familiar support group that adds little to the story except as a device for her to reconnect cute with paramedic Sam, who stops by to pick up a group member Louisa assumes is his son. While developing wonderfully nuanced characters like Will’s grieving parents—particularly his mother, who forms a surprisingly deep bond with Lily—Moyes weakens the novel with stock villains like Lily’s narcissistic upper-middle-class mom. As the love interest, handsome, patient, sensitive Sam is too good to be true. Narrator Louisa is not quite as much fun this time around, but the optimistic final pages hint that her adventures may continue into another book.

Moyes is a Maeve Binchy for the 21st century, and she has the formula down pat: an understanding of family dynamics, a nod to social issues, plenty of moral uplift, and a sentimental streak, all buoyed by a rollicking sense of humor.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-525-42659-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2015




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