Jojo Moyes did not plan on writing a sequel to her popular best selling book, Me Before You. The book chronicled the relationship between Lou, a caregiver, and Will Traynor, a quadriplegic, who had already planned on dying in six months. Me Before You, took on the controversial topic of assisted suicide. I remember crying like a baby for all involved, when Will stuck with his decision to end his life.
While I did wonder what became of those Will left behind, the people who loved him the most, I didn’t need a sequel. I didn’t believe it was really a necessity. When I found out that Jojo Moyes was writing a sequel, I was not sure I wanted to read it. I am a caregiver myself, taking care of my mother, and I can’t (or don’t want to) think about the ‘after’.
I never thought about assisted suicide before, but it hurts to see someone in pain all the time, and watching them look at others with envy, because they are doing things they only wish they could do. I was thankful that my mother was still able to walk, albeit with a walker, but still walking nevertheless.
However, you do have to think about the ‘After’ part and how one’s death effects everyone in their life. Life has to go on after a loved one dies, and it’s hard no matter how it comes about. I think a natural death is an easier pill to swallow. I found I really wanted to read After You, to find out how Will’s planned death effected those who loved him.
After You picks up 18 months after the events of Me Before You left off. Everyone handles grief in their own way and this fact was very evident in the sequel. The book is told from Lou’s point of view, who is still grieving over the loss of the man she loved. She is also dealing with the guilt of having helped him end his own life.
She is not really living up to Will’s request that she ‘live life well’ because of the guilt and grief she still feels. She works in an airport lounge/bar and drinks heavily. She traveled but didn’t really enjoy where she went or what she did. She was walking and talking, but not really living. When Lou accidentally fell off the roof, and couldn’t feel her legs at first, I was horrified to think that she could now be paralyzed.
While I loved the idea of a sequel, this book fell a bit short in some areas. I didn’t really care for the character of Lilly and I wanted to love her, because she was Will’s daughter but she made that very hard. It was hard for me to believe that the Will we came to know would be such a jerk before the accident. Granted, we didn’t know much about him before he became a quadriplegic.
Lilly was my main area of disappointment, along with her mother as I felt nothing really genuine from either character. She didn’t seem to be grateful for anything. Lilly just came off as a spoiled brat and nothing was good enough for her. Lou being who she is, put someone else ahead of her own needs. I would have loved to see more of her relationship with Sam develop. There is so much more that could have happened there, falling in love again would have been good for Lou.
While I loved the book and would recommend it to fans of Will and Lou, I wish that there wasn’t so much going on at once. I felt that too much time was spent on Lilly rather than Lou herself. I know the purpose of Lilly was to help Lou heal but I myself didn’t get that impression.
I was fine with where Me Before You ended and didn’t feel the need for closure. Lou and the Traynor’s, while devastated and heartbroken, accepted Will’s decision and agreed to his choice to end his life in a dignified manner and to not be a burden. Isn’t that what we all want for our loved ones? It was still nice to revisit the characters, to see how they are fairing but I was hoping for something a bit different.
With that being said, I still give the book four stars because JoJo Moyes listened to the majority of her fans and let them back in Lou’s little corner of the world. I just think it would have been much better if Moyes had originally planned a sequel in the first place. However, that us just my opinion. What did you think of After You?