After bawling my eyes out reading Me Before You and seeing the movie, my friend had suggested that I try the sequel. I was really hesitant because I thought it might just rip my heart out all over again, because you never know, but it turned out making me feel a lot less sad after the first. And, just like its predecessor, it left me feeling kind of inspired.
**Warning: this contains spoilers for Me Before You and if you have not read it yet (you should) or seen the movie (which you also should, but read it first) then you should probably stop here**
After You is about a year and a half after Will dies, and follows Lou as she works a dead end bar tending job and is battling with a depression from losing Will. She hates her job and is drinking heavily and is living alone in an apartment bought with money will left her so she could branch out and move on. Except the apartment is hardly unpacked, let alone decorated, despite having lived there for a year and a half, and she’s working a job she doesn’t particularly like.
So she basically is living a safe life similar to the one she lived in back home, except it’s much more lonely and she stopped wearing her fun clothes. She ends up falling off a balcony and people think she was so depressed she tried to commit suicide, so her parents force her into a support group to better deal with all her feelings.
Then she meets someone tied to Will’s past and feels the need to take care of her, despite the fact that other opportunities are making themselves available to her. And she meets a handsome paramedic, but she feels guilty liking him because she still misses Will, and it kind of hurts the heart a little bit.
I really liked the book. It made you feel a lot less empty after seeing how she goes from being so depressed to growing and learning to cope with it and keep a healthy balance of memory and moving on.
Lou is kind of struggling with how to hold on to the past and move on, and I think it’s kind of an inspired novel on how people feel when they lose loved ones. You feel like doing anything extraordinary after they die will make you seem like you didn’t care, but going about boring daily life just feels exactly the same and hardly helps to cope.
I also really related to Louisa in that she gets offered an amazing opportunity in New York, but she’s afraid to take it because she met someone in London and her family is there and she feels safe. Why leave a good thing, right? And that’s kind of how I feel sometimes. That I should just hop on a plane and head to New York and see if I’m meant to do something bigger out there, but I’m just so scared to follow through with it because everyone and everything I know and love is here. So her dealing with that kind of hit a soft spot with me.
But just like the first, it did leave you feeling like “I can’t let my life turn into the same thing every single day. I need to do what I want to do while I still can.” #LiveBoldly, if you will.
Should you read it?
Me Before You is incredibly hard to top, but I still gave After You 4/5 stars on goodreads. It’s still inspirational. At least it was to me. And it makes you feel a lot better after being so sad from the first one.
Plus if you loved Lou, you’ll love watching her next adventure. She’s still the sarcastic, witty girl she was in the first one, but she grows a lot more and you see another side to her. I loved it.