Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

“Far easier for you to just stick with that depressing little job and complain about it. Far easier for you to sit tight and not take a risk and make out that everything that happens to you is something you could not help.”

How do you move on after losing your loved one? How one builds a life worth living when a person you loved truly leaves you in the midst?

moyes-after-you

Photo Collage: After You

Losing someone you love is very painful and grief is a natural response to loss. On top of grief and pain, you are forced to make changes that you are not prepared to make. It becomes hard to keep your life in line. You are supposed to look forward and let go of the past. You have to move on without feeling like you are betraying the one you have lost.

I was very anxious to read the sequel after reading the first novel ‘Me Before You’. In the first book, the quadriplegic Will wish to end his own life. Louisa Clark worked as caretaker of Will. Both fell in love for each other but probably not hard enough to change his mind.

In the second novel ‘After You’; Will’s death devastated Lou and she had no idea what to do

with her life.  Lou tried to cope with her loss and how grief had consumed her? How did she tackle Will’s death?

All these questions were brewing in my mind. ‘After You’ is an answer to all my answers about Lou’s life. It’s true that we cannot forget our love but once a person dies we cannot die with that person. We have to move on for our sanity. We need to take chances because we are still alive and life is short so to speak.

The novel is all about Lou’s journey, a bumpy process of accommodation to loss and the fear of starting over. She is stuck in a bartender job which she abhors; she wallows in her apartment in London until an accident forces her to be around her family and to try to move on.

There are two new characters that change her life. Sam who works as a paramedic who disentangles her from downstairs neighbor’s canopy and Lily, the teenager who barges in her home and in her life unexpectedly, claiming to be a daughter of Will. These two characters help her emerge from the dark place she is in.

‘After You’ has taken me on yet another roller coaster ride of emotions. I don’t know how the author does it, tackling death and the void it can leave us but Moyes has created absolute gems; she has a knack for breaking your heart before restoring your faith in love. Her innate ability to describe damaged people with complex lives is just brilliant. One would fall in love with weepy bits and witty bits.

The first series is a tear-jerker where the love evokes a  sense of desolation whereas the second one helps in making peace with the past and moving on and in doing so, it reminds us that ‘Life goes on!’

As per Moyes in her own words: “That’s life. We don’t know what will happen. Which is why we have to take our chances while we can.”

Book: After You

By Jojo Moyes

ISBN 978-1-405-90907-5

Pp 406

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Book Review: Me Before You

“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

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Photo By Me

When I start reading this novel, I thought it to be another love story but I never know that it would provoke an emotional typhoon within me that is just beyond my imagination.

Me Before You is a page-turner that gives the reader one hell of an emotional ride. This book spun its magic around me and encompassed me in it. While delving into the lives of Lou and Will, I was overwhelmed with emotions; there was not one line in the whole book I didn’t love.

Reading about the six months tenure that Louisa Clark and Will Traynor spent together made me laugh and cry. I laughed on many occasions and there were times my tears would roll down my cheeks and this would continue till the end of the story.

It is a moving tale of two lives that intertwined in such a way that both Lou and Will never realized. 26-year-old Lou is a simple girl who needs a job after she was being laid off from the tea shop ‘The Buttered Bun’. Will’s mother requires a carer for her son who is suffering from quadriplegia after an accident- a condition caused by severe injury in which patient is unable to move any part of his body below his shoulders. Because of his condition, Will longs for death and wants to go to Switzerland to put an end to his misery.

Enters in Lou in the gloomy life of Will who tries to brighten up his life with her quirky nature and weird fashion. Both change each other’s lives for good. She elevates his mood and he introduces her to the finer things in life such as classical music and foreign films. She chides him to be more positive as she communicates with other quadriplegic online to learn their special needs and expectations. He encourages her to live to her potential and expand her horizons.

During her six months stay, she gets to know about Will’s motive of taking up his life. Horrified by this discovery, Lou sets out to improve his life and give him a reason to live and look forward to each day.

As an outsider probably I would not agree with Will’s decision to go for euthanasia but then

me before you

Can’t stop reading!

going through his life before his accident, would justify his motive. He was a debonair man who could sway over anyone with his smile and easygoing attitude. Unfortunately the accident took away his everything and he could not accept to be weak and dependent, bound in some wheelchair for his whole life.

Meanwhile, Louisa’s character somewhat goes beyond that of a struggling middle-class girl. She may be light and cheerful on the exterior, but inside there’s an unshakeable tinge of tragedy about her. She’s never really ventured beyond the small town she lives in. There are economic restraints, but it’s more than that. It’s a phobia of not playing safe. Louisa was sexually assaulted by a group of men in her teenage days, and in an emotional moment in the novel, she returns to the scene of the assault with Will and explains her trauma. It’s this plot line, perhaps in the novel that gives the most insight to Louisa as a character.

It was a tear-jerker read; what struck me was their love for each other. Love doesn’t destroy you rather it tries to make a better and improved version of you. Love doesn’t suffocate you, it let you fly high and let go of the fear and this is what Lou and Will did for each other! The relationship between them is told in such a wonderful way and develops through several stages, each filled with hilarity.

me before you 1

Just Live!

Jojo Moyes has beautifully crafted the story which is funny, utterly engaging and blissfully romantic. The novel is also adapted for the major motion picture starring Emilia Clarke (Louisa) and Sam Claflin (Will) however,  I am kind of person who does not believe in making a movie out of an enchanting and heart-wrenching novel.

To be honest, I have not stopped thinking about this book since I put it down!!I know it will stay with me for a very long time. And I want to give warning to all those readers who want to read this book, it’s better you avoid reading in public because crying in public is apparently a weird thing to do.

I rate this novel 4.5 out of 5

Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes
Penguin Random House, UK
ISBN: 978-0-718-18118-5
481pp.

You Mean a World to Me!

It’s your birthday, you are just about to cut the cake, but your eyes are fixed on your mobile and in that instant, a blink of light is flashed through the screen that indicates ‘Abbu is calling’; excitedly you pick up the call to hear the birthday wish from your father.  This is one of the best gifts for your D-day.  There are some children who live with their father and then there are those who have lost their fathers, but there is also one more facet-those fathers who have to live apart from their family due to monetary incentive.

My father lives in another country because of his job. It has never been an easy ride. There are moments when you miss your father but he cannot be there with you; even though you are one call away but this does not make up for his presence. I remember during my school days when I used to receive any award, I always wanted my father to see me but it was never possible because of holiday problems. Even in my last convocation where I received a shield and my name was called out, I got teary eyed with happiness and longing for my father to be here and see me receiving an award.  In my birthdays, small gatherings and even in an evening cup of tea, I miss his presence… it’s not like I cannot talk to him but yes as the time passes, you wish more of your father’s company.

It is always those little moments that count a lot, like sitting with him and talking aimlessly about your favourite ice cream or movies. However my father still manages to make his presence felt by his calls, letters and infrequent visits to his home. When I was small, it was always about chocolate and gifts but then as I grow up and after spending a four month long time with him I found a very good friend in him with whom I can joke around and share my secrets. He understands my worries from my voice although I put up a smiley face in front of everyone, but he is the one who recognizes the concealed hesitation in my voice.

It is true that a relation of father and daughter shares a special bond-we are the apple of their eyes. He makes me feel like a princess and for any daughter; his father is an ideal man who supports her, look after her and gives her courage to face the harshness of the world.  He stands tall with full strength to protect you from any evil eye.

Whether it’s Eid, Ramadan or any special occasions or even any outing you plan for, you miss your abbu in those moments. It is true that father does not show love to their children like my abbu cannot express his utmost love to me and he never says that he loves me but his small gestures of care reflects the love he has for me. My father is very bad in giving blessing because of his struggle to choose right words, but deep down in my heart I know that words don’t matter, what matter is his pure love and support for me.

We are two sisters, and I remember my grandparents wanted a grandson but my father felt proud of having two little angels in his life. He used to ride on his shoulder on way back to our home. We have grown up and busy in our lives and get less time to talk but he always make it a point to call us so many times that we did not feel his absence.We love to watch TV and I vividly remember that we used to have a race that who will grab the remote first—this is what our relation was. He is witness to all my stories of first crush, my favourite teacher, my favourite movie and my horrible nightmares. He remembers the birth-date and religiously send the birthday card every year. To keep up this relation he makes all his efforts; I remember I made a burned chapatis and he ate all of it and even praise my effort… The time when he cried alone when he was not able to fulfill our wish, but only beamed with pleasure while making our wishes true.  We miss this beautiful relation that has made our life blissful.  I know he feels that we do not love him because we have a long distance relationship but for now, I want him to know that he is the best dad and will always be.

Today is not any father’s day but what difference does it make? It is all about appreciating your loved ones on each day and to make them feel special because after all you are their inspiration. Thank you Abbu for all the love and encouragement, you are the best father in entire world:)

Misunderstanding…

Misunderstanding is basically the lack of understanding between two parties. They can be best friends or any blood relation and even in the relation of love among two people. It all initiates from a small grudge and lands into a big quarrel. The outcome is the bitterness in the relation that only brings the irreplaceable loss of your loved ones.

Normally confusion arises when there is lack of communication with each other. Whereas ego is the driving force that apparently creates a gap among people and instead of reducing this space, it amplifies the misapprehension. It may happen anywhere and at any place whether at home, at university or at workplace. We do not listen to other party and make our minds on the basis of bias against that group. This may happen with me and even with you and at that time you do not know what to say and do to soothe the tension.

It is true that everyone has their own way to perceive any situation and you could not mould someone’s perception but once you become to dislike someone, everything they do begins to annoy you. Though it seems small but the effect is long-lasting. It’s better to talk to each other and solve the matter beforehand otherwise time passes by and you may feel the regret of losing your dear ones for a minute reason.

Unconditional Love

What happens when everything seems to fall apart in your life? You are confused and the first thing comes to your mind Why me? At first you feel sad then the anger takes charge over you and in that whirl of resentment, you begin to lose temper and unintentionally hurt your loved ones. Those loved ones who are part of you, your endeared parents! But you take them for granted because you know they won’t ever leave you.

The needs of fulfilling our wishes make us self-centered. We start to overlook our beloved ones.

True Relation

Sad but true! We do not give time to our family because we are ‘busy’ in our stuffs. I remember when my mother was injured in a road accident and the day before this particular incident I had a huge argument with her. Only because she needed my company and I had no time to listen her for even few minutes. She was upset and even I apologized for which she forgave me. Next on the day of accident, forgetting all what happened last night she accompanied me for my assignment. While finishing my work, we headed towards home and while crossing the road she was hit by the bike in front of my eyes. I saw her thrown away on the road from where she was. It was like a bad dream that came true. The entire world around me seemed to collapse, I was aghast with terror. She was lying on the road and me and my sister picked her up and took to the nearby hospital. She was unconscious but there were no tears in my eyes because I was in the state of shock. It was like life was slipping away from my hand. Whole one week I was in the status of uncertainty, but once she regained full conscious, she said,” I am sorry beta, I could not go with you  for your assignment but do not worry I will get fined soon and then I will take you.” I was out of words and tears started running from my eyes. If anything goes wrong in our life we hurt them either voluntarily or involuntarily but here she is, trying to console me.

Together, we find happiness

We all are in a rat race for something and we think that if we achieve that ‘amazing thing’, happiness will knock our door. We are never satisfied with whatever we get because we want more. We just crib about what we do not have rather being thankful to Almighty of what we have. Our family is the one that supports us in our trial times no matter what happens they are always with you. When you do not acquire what you want, they are there to encourage you. However we forget all this because we are so busy in trying to win the contest that we fail to see these loving gestures.