Book Review: After You (by Jojo Moyes)

22nd July, 3:10am

In my last post about Me Before You movie review, mentioned that the disabled rights group got angry because of how disabled people were portrayed in the film. If that is the case, then I urge them to read After You, the sequel to Jojo Moyes’ bestselling novel, Me Before You. Like, really. I think they’d be quite happy about the backlash of everything that Louisa Clark and Will’s parents – Camilla and Steven Traynor did (or didn’t do).

I gotta admit, After You is no better than Me Before You, partly because Lily was such a brat and I still can’t get over Will myself, but it strangely reminds me of myself after my Mom died. It’s true, you know. It’s so hard letting go of the person you love after they passed away, and that it’s okay to feel sad and angry for a long time, because you will never be able to move on from losing them; you just get used to the feeling of their absence. Still, it doesn’t have to stop you from moving forward with your life.

To be honest, After You is kind of predictable. I knew what she was gonna do in the end; her options, the possibilities. But perhaps it’s because I kind of went through the same things Louisa did in a weird, fucked up way?

After You by Jojo Moyes quotesIt’s funny because when I was reading the first few chapters of this book, it almost felt like I was reading my very own life story. But by the end of it, I couldn’t find my story in it anymore. Somewhere in the middle, the similarities stopped. I’m not saying I wish I could end up like Lou did, but I hope I could also get there in time… Whatever that is, or where.

The day after finishing the book, I watched a couple of Me Before You movie reviews on YouTube and finally realized why I can relate to the story so much. It’s not just because of my Mom, but because I have actually been there before, in Lou and Will’s parents shoes, that is.

A few years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with Cancer. It came to us as a shock because she’s the type of person who doesn’t look sick. She looked so healthy and then bam, Cancer hits her. When we found out that she had Cancer, the family discussed treatments with her doctor but you know what she said? She told everyone to “just let her die.” She refused chemotherapy and radiation and all that Cancer-related procedures. She just stopped wanting to live, which was a huge disappointment because she was a faithful servant in our church. Her children tried talking some sense into her, but as much as we want her to stay, live and fight for life, we can’t really do anything because she doesn’t want to help herself. A couple of months later, my grandmother passed away with all of her grandchildren and kids surrounding her, praying for her soul’s safe passage. Does that make us weak and bad people for letting her do what she wants? I don’t think so. At least I hope not.

I know what you might say; “she’s old, it’s okay to let her die.” Well, no. A life is a life and it’s still precious, but just like what was said in Me Before You, you can only help someone who wants to be helped. Me Before You is just one side of the coin, and definitely does not represent the entire disabled community. But it also doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Will was suffering through depression. He tried to kill himself more than once, and it was what he was feeling that drove him to off himself than the physical pain. If you or anyone you know suffers or have gone through depression, you’d know the emotional turmoil it brings to a person. However, in After You, Lou finally found someone who is willing to stay. Maybe it pales in comparison to what Will went through, but just like its predecessor, both Me Before You and After You tells us that we all still control our own fate. That no matter what anyone says, or does, it is our choice whether to stop living or go on in life with the help of the people who care about us.





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