Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Read a Book: After You by Jojo Moyes {Book Review}

This month has found me with my kindle during those late night baby feedings. As a result I have finished 6 books and started number 7! The only hard thing is putting the book down to care for the kids during the day. I get to engrossed in the story and NEED to find out what happens. Or in the case for this book, to involved in the characters and not finishing will drive me nuts.

The Story
Nothing like it's predecessor, Me Before You, which I absolutely loved. Instead this story follows our main character through the road of healing after the suicide of her charge from the first book. 

One can expect a person's world to fall apart after someone they love commits suicide. But to Louisa Clark, her fall apart is a deep depression. Almost to the extent of the reader developing an irritation in her actions, agitation toward her relationships she develops with others (how she handles those relationships), and a lack of pity and empathy for her situation. Majority of the book I was angry with the character, and in turn upset with the author. It was not at all what I had expected after the ending in Paris from the first book.

The introduction of Lily seemed to come way out from left field, as an attempt to keep the story going. Her selfish, argumentative, combative personality is tiresome. This character's mother only exacerbates the reader's frustration with Lily. 

I had a difficult time connecting with these characters, and in turn had a hard time feeling for the events which took place in the story. The only character I remotely enjoyed was Sam the paramedic, who was living his life; working, taking care of his nephew, and maintaining a 'farm', even after the death of his sister. To me he was real; he was relate-able. He makes sense to me. Despite what happens you keep living, keep doing what you need to do day-to-day. 

Besides my frustrations with the characters and it's affect on my appreciation of the events in the story, I fairly enjoyed it (once I got passed those things). Yes, your main character (Lou) is depressed. Is there any other way for her to behave? No. Her actions fit how the author set up her mentality. Lily is basically an abandoned teenager. Do I expect any better of her other than to combat adults? Not really. I knew 3rd-4th graders who acted in much the same way. It follows reality and I imagine the psychology of someone in a similar position. 

In the end...
The problem is resolved. Our main character overcomes her depression. Teenage Lily finds herself loved (her indiscretion taken care of - hilarious), and everyone moves on. Overall the ending made it satisfactory.

Throughout the book, it had some insightful moments in dealing with loss, healing and parenting.

My Rating
Over all, I rate this a 3/5 stars. But mostly because I got to a point where I needed to finish to see if/how things got resolved. Would I recommend it? no. If you've started reading it, go on ahead and finish. But honestly I don't think to much is missed if you don't read the book.

It did make me realize I need to develop some kind of rubric for scoring books. To teacher-ish of me? Probably, but I feel I need to keep things... hmmm... streamlined... accurate... consistent. Yes, consistency is needed. I'm thinking 5 categories for the 'out of' 5 star rating available on GoodReads. I'm an aesthetic reader, so I will miss things in the writing itself unless I have a hard time following the writing structure. I don't see words and letters. I am transported right into the story. It's great when I'm reading, bad when the kids are trying to get my attention!

So far this is what I am thinking:
     Story Line / Content
     Character development / ?
     readability / writing itself
     Conversation worthy
     Invokes personal thought/reflection

I wanted to go with aspects that are directly related to the book itself and also how it affects myself as a reader. Since not all books are the same, I think it might make it a little more fair? Probably not really, hmm...

What do you think?
What makes a book stand out to you? What makes a book awesome/horrible? What would you add/take away to a scoring rubric for books?

other Books I've read this month:
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
The Third Door by Emily Rhodda

Join me on GoodReads here

Happy Reading!