After reading Me Before You and loving it, I can't wait to start on the next book-After You. I am curious what happened to Clark after the death of Will. There are a lot of possibilities...
Let's find out.
The story picks up eighteen months after the death of Will.
London. Louisa bought an apartment using the money Will left her. The apartment has a roof space where the previous occupant decided to put a small terrace garden to liven it up. Louisa now works on a bar in the airport.
Louisa Clark as a promise to Will traveled around Europe after his death. She went to Paris and sat on a cafe and did all the other instructions Will detailed on his letter. Louisa stayed in Paris for a while and worked in a bar. After a few months, Paris seemed to lost its luster and the appeal to Louisa. She decided she needs to go back to London.
She has not gotten to terms with the death of Will. She felt guilty for not having done enough to make him stay. She loved him and even that was not good enough. She drinks every night to dull the pain and the grief she's feeling. One night, she decided to go up to the terrace which was accessible by the fire escape. This has been a nightly routine, she would drink and then go up to the roof and bask in the comfort of the dark and knowledge that no one knows who she is. She would walk from the end of the ledge and up to the other end. She would feel the air and hear all the noises but she would still feel alone. On this night, while she was in one with the noises, with her arms spread out, feeling like a drunken tightrope walker, she heard a girl tell her that she's not supposed to be standing there. In her shock, she slipped and fell.
My Second Cent
At first, I thought the pacing for this story was slow compared to the first one. When I came to the later pages, I realized that it was actually just preparing me for the series of sad things that are about to happen. Falling from the building, meeting a girl who is supposed to be Will's daughter, realizing she might have been the reason Will might want to live but no one knows she exists, not even Will, knowing Will's parents were still holding his death over their heads, forced to join a moving on meeting to deal with her grief, meeting a handsome and gentle ambulance guy but apparently he's with different women every night... Uh, I am dizzy with all these new developments in the story, new characters which are really annoying, like Richard her very stiff boss and Lily's mother Tanya, who just doesn't care about her daughter.
I've cried more reading this than Me Before You. It's like every line is a jab to my heart. I feel for Louisa. She is true to her character who wants to save everyone else except herself. Yes, I wished for her to meet someone so she can at least feel good again and move on. I like the way how she met Sam. I think it was the most bizarre way to meet someone but it turned out well for Louisa. I like that even if she didn't like attending the moving on sessions, she still kept coming. I think Lily is the most important character (aside from Louisa, of course) in this story. She has brought everyone the closure they needed to move forward after Will's death. She gave the Traynor's reason to believe that Will has not totally left them, he has left a part of him in Lily. Lily also gave Louisa reason for living. She has now someone to look out for and Lily, a teen with self-destructing attitude, needs Louisa to be able to navigate through her life. Lily has given Louisa a renewed strength and purpose for living - to be alive again.
I give the book four and a half stars for all the unexpected bends the story has turned and for a really fitting ending. I was able to sleep happy and content that Louisa has finally found something she really wanted to do and the best thing about it is its in New York. Who doesn't want to be in New York? I think it's great and amazing and she gets to work again with Nathan. I liked it so much because of the innumerable quotes. Each one is so potent and precise. I also appreciate that all the other characters of the story have found their place in the universe. Louisa's Mom and Dad have reconciled and his Dad has finally understood her Mom's need to improve and reeducate herself. For Camilla Traynor's new source of strength and for Lily to find love from her new family. For her boss Richard's change of character. Sam's promise to love Louisa even when they are continents apart and the uncertainty of what the future holds for both of them. For Treena to finally finish her studies and find a job and to move out of their parents house to live on her own. And lastly, for Louisa to discern that she really wanted the job in New York and that she has gotten past the grief and guilt of the death of Will. She is now ready to start living her life.
Hugot is a Filipino slang referring to drawing deep emotions. They're quotable statements that are so sentimental (definition taken from Tagaloglang.com).
Here are a few I really like from After you.
...although we're called the Moving on Circle, none of us moves on without a
backward look. We move on always carrying with us those we have lost. What we aim to do in our little group is ensure that carrying them is not a burden that feels impossible to bear, a weight keeping us stuck in the same place. We want their presence to feel like a gift.
I think people get bored of your grief. It's like you're allowed some unspoken allotted time - six months, maybe - and then they get faintly irritated that you're not "better". It's like you're being self-indulgent hanging on to your unhappiness.
You learn to live with it, with them. Because they do stay with you, even if they're not living breathing people any more. It's not the same crushing grief you felt at first, the kind that swamps you and makes you want to cry in the wrong places, and get irrationally angry with all the idiots who are still alive when the person you love is dead. It's just something you learn to accommodate.
Like adapting around a hole. It's like you become...a doughnut instead of a bun.
The parents are wrapped up in their own stuff, or have disappeared completely, so they exist in a vacuum, and they make bad choices.
...to be freed from our grief. To be released from this underworld of the dead, half our hearts lost underground, or trapped in little porcelain urns.
Depression loves a vacuum. Far better to be doing, or at least planning, Sometimes the illusion of happiness could inadvertently create it.
Curious about Me Before You? Click here.
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