Monday, May 9, 2016

JoJo Moyes' After You

Here I think I'm soooo informed, yet it took a Facebook friend (thank you Colleen Peckens) to let me know that author, JoJo Moyes, had written a screenplay for her beautiful, thoughtful love story, "Me Before You." Another month and the film will be released. I suspect a full box of Kleenex may be in order.

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How pleased I was to see the sequel, "After You," sitting on the new book shelf at my Maryland library. After a full week of clouds, rain, and cold, this Florida girl was looking for a cheerful romantic comedy to lighten the mood. This novel? The perfect antidote.

Lighter than "Me Before You," which carried the hefty weight of the right to die controversy, this novel still tackles the theme of loss, when our heroine, Louisa Clark, joins a bereavement group at the behest of her dad. It seems that Louisa's parents fear she might be suicidal after she falls from the roof of her London flat during a night of too much wine and too few friends with whom to share feelings of grief and guilt over Will Traynor's death.

Louisa rather reminds me of a modern day Bridget Jones. She has a wry sense of humor about her own situation as a woman at loose ends. She despises her job at a tacky Irish-themed airport lounge where she pours drinks and counsels fearful flyers dressed in a vile, green, mini-skirt and curly red wig. She has a fabulous job offer in New York City but is bogged down by inertia and a new-found sense of responsibility for Lily, a teen-age nymph who has turned up at Louisa's door claiming to be Will's daughter, a child neither he nor his still grieving parents even knew existed.

And now there's Sam, the paramedic who held Louisa's hand all the way to the hospital where doctor's stitched her broken body back together again. Is she ready to put her heart on the line for a new relationship? Is Sam? I know, I know. It all sounds a bit hokey. But, come on. Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned rom-com now and then?

JoJo Moyes is a witty, laugh-out-loud funny writer and her take on family dynamics is generous and spot on. Especially touching are the episodes involving Louisa's mother who, after thirty years of being a stay at home mom in a four generation household, decides to break out. She's taking poetry classes, reading feminist tracts, and refusing to shave her legs. You go girl!

So, if you swooned over "Me Before You," you're going to sigh with satisfaction over "After You." Read it before the film comes out. That's an order.

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