After You… There Was No Point To Anything

after-youSo it’s a few days after Valentine’s Day, so I feel like it’s safe to kvetch about a romantic book I didn’t enjoy: the utterly unnecessary sequel to Me Before You.

I have to say I almost dnf’d this at page 37. So far it had been pretty uneventful, I didn’t like the downbeat tone and then this sentence happened:

“Now, when I read newspaper stories about the bank teller who had stolen a fortune, the woman who had killed her child, the sibling who had disappeared, I found myself not shuddering in horror, as I once might have, but wondering instead at the story that hadn’t made it into black and white.”

So there’s a nice bit of moralising that wasn’t in the first one- let’s break down everything that’s wrong with this statement:

  • Moral equivalence between theft, murder and assisted suicide- which somewhat lessens the evil of a mother who kills her child
  • Oh great, the main character sympathises with child murderers now… I shouldn’t have to say this, but the horror of a mother who kills her child is pretty “black and white”
  • Using these really shitty examples to “prove” your point actually undermines it (and kinda proves why moralising doesn’t work)

Now I’d like to say that after this the book got better, but the plot of this was a hot mess (just like the main character). I mean, really- I felt like the story had ended at page 300– I was like “well that’s that then”. But it just kept going and going and… *spoiler alert* all that happened in this book was for the mc to end up back where she started, about to jet off somewhere else, moving on and living life.

If you’ve read the first one, you’ll know it had no need for sexual coercion, weird confrontations, dramatic accidents and shootouts because it was all about the people. But here the people and their relationships were left behind. I didn’t feel connected to the romance in the same way. I didn’t like or dislike the characters- I just didn’t care. Not even about the protagonist, Lou.

Obviously I get that she was a hot mess- I mean grief can do that to you. But the thing I had liked about her was her bubbly, quirky personality- which was completely gone in this book- it just didn’t feel like the same person.  And that was ultimately my biggest problem here- it could have been a separate story about entirely different people. The author easily could’ve left well enough alone- just like I should’ve.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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So have you read this book? What did you think about it? And what romantic book have you read that didn’t hit the mark? Let me know in the comments!

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54 thoughts on “After You… There Was No Point To Anything

  1. littlebookynook says:

    To be honest I haven’t read/watched the Me Before You, because I know that it is going to make me cry and I don’t feel like crying at the moment lol. I have heard its good though. I’m sorry you didn’t like the second book, it sounds like the portrayal of her grief wasn’t done very well and she just ended up coming across as bland.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    That sucks! I really enjoyed the book and movie Me Before You, and I’ve heard people having similar reactions after reading this. That indeed is a disturbing quote, I had to read it over a few times to make sure I got it right lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) says:

    Great review! That example definitely warrants a white flag. Wouldn’t have blamed ya for dropping the book and moving on. It definitely sounds weird. It’s like the character wanted to say that the reason behind the actions of each of those people can be justified but journalists decided to hide them. But a mother who kills their own child? How did your MC go on thinking a potential explanation to make killing your own child reasonable… Anywaaaayss, after the events of the first book (yeh, I was spoiled and didn’t mind at all hihih), I can see how it could’ve and SHOULD’ve stayed a standalone story.

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diana says:

    Agree that it wasn’t near as good as Me Before You and that it also wasn’t/isn’t necessary at all but it was supposed to show the aftermath of what happened. So while it might have not been a great book it made sense to be that the plot was dragging and that Lou was so different, because ultimately isn’t that what grief can do to people? It can make a completely different person out of you, with no desire to do anything. In that way the book made sense to me, because it didn’t pass over grief and its effects for the sake of plot or the sake of having a sympathetic main character. So in my perspective it’s legit that the book is hard and frustrating at times to read because that’s how grief feels too.
    Anyhow it’s been quiet a while since I read it so I don’t remember much details, as for instance to quote you mentioned. And I totally get your points and I know that A LOT of people agree with you. But for me, since plot isn’t that important to me, I do like books like these once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      I can understand that. But I felt like she kept putting in a lot of action to counterbalance the grief- which really muddled the story up and confused what she was trying to do. What with all the falling off roofs and getting caught up in the life of will’s long lost daughter, I felt like the book really drifted away from that message. Plus, I felt disconnected from her as a character- I think one of the issues is that the first book focused more on her outward personality, so when that was gone, I just didn’t recognise the character. I actually think it makes sense that with grief she would be less bubbly- but without enough depth for the character, it felt like there was nothing going on underneath. But this is just my opinion, you’re totally entitled to feel differently, and I’m glad you got more out of it than I did. Just wanted to explain why I wasn’t so keen on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nicola Alter says:

    😦 It’s always disappointing when a sequel doesn’t live up to the original at all. I haven’t read Me Before You, but from what you said and from everything I’ve heard about it, it sounds like it was a story that really didn’t need a sequel!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Marie says:

    I’m sorry to hear you were so disappointed in this book – I think I could be, too. I read and enjoyed Me Before You, but I didn’t see the point of this second book and I haven’t even read it ahah. I think I’ll stay away from it then 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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