Friday, February 09, 2018

What we're reading: An anticipated sequel




Many have by now read the popular book Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes, about the lower class girl living an ordinary and rather stultifying life, who first works for, then falls for the upper class guy who happens to be a quadriplegic. Both of their lives are transformed (and also derailed) by their relationship, and hankies are passed at the end. I'm sure some have also seen the movie.


Although the first book was wildly popular, the second book, After You, got fairly short shrift by some readers, who apparently didn't think that Louisa Clark was a compelling enough character to carry the story on her own. I differed with that opinion, and though my first judgment of the book was "adequate and somewhat endearing sequel that wasn't quite up to the first book," upon rereading it recently I revised my opinion upward. The thing I particularly enjoy about Moyes's books is her character development; she doesn't just flesh out her protagonist and other main folks, she makes sure to create a complete and usually quirky personality for everyone who appears for even a moment. The result is lively and specific interaction on every page.

I will say that the first third of the book bored me a little, and I was just about to opt out when a couple of new and unexpected characters showed up and put some pizzazz into the story. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit more than I initially expected.


The third book, Still Me, took Louisa out of her British background and environment and put her up against a new life in New York City, which finally gave her the chance to expand beyond Will Traynor, beyond the essentially small-town girl she remained in the second book, despite her travels and new relationships. It still, however, highlighted the gaping trench between the classes, with the difference that in New York City, it's all about the money. The glimpses of city life and how much it differs for the rich vs. the poor were intriguing, the ups and downs of romance were good, but where this author shines, again, is in the creation of her characters. Although they were all compelling, I particularly enjoyed the old lady Margot, and her pug dog.

If you liked the first but hated the second, you might enjoy the third. If you liked both books #1 and #2, then you definitely should get you some more Louisa Clark. And if you never got around to reading any of them, maybe you will want to give them a try!





No comments: