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After You

May 2, 2011

After You

by Julie Buxbaum

There is a fine line between chick lit and meaningful chick lit. While I have nothing against the light, airy nature of chick lit, I often find myself looking for something with a bit more substance. You know how it is, there is a time and a place for different genres, depending on your mood, your time, and your attention span. Well I was in the mood for something serious but relatable as well and I found exactly that in this engrossing novel.

Ellie Lerner’s best friend (Lucy) was murdered, leaving behind a devastated husband (Greg) and eight-year-old daughter (Sophie). Ellie quickly leaves her crumbling marriage in Boston to fly to London and take care of Sophie and Greg. She stays on after the funeral to address her own demons – her inability to move past a stillborn child, her parent’s marriage woes, her own seemingly insurmountable insecurities.

I was very interested in the unique premise of this novel. Sophie won my heart over immediately as a very likeable and sympathetic semi-orphan. As a mother, I couldn’t imagine how traumatized a child would be after seeing her mother killed. The author does an excellent job of fleshing out Sophie’s adult-like character.

Initially I did not take a liking to Ellie. Her character wore on my nerves with her indifference to her husband and job and responsibilities back home. I guess I am the kind of person who moves on from negativity pretty quickly and the fact that Ellie couldn’t get past a tragedy she AND her husband shared really bothered me. I wasn’t fond of her needy nature. As the novel progressed, however, Ellie became a lot more likable. As an impatient mother I appreciated the seemingly endless attention she showered on Sophie…from taking her to counseling to reading The Secret Garden (one of my favorite novels of all time) together. I don’t want to give anything away so I will say this – with a few unexpected turns in Ellie’s life and surprising information regarding Lucy, the novel quickly became a page turner.

This book left me thinking of all the different messages the author conveyed through the novel: how to move past a tragedy, how to value the people in your life, and how to remember what is truly important in the grand scheme of things. I highly recommend this novel, if not for just a temporary escape into someone else’s problems, than for the sole reason of reminding us what really matters in life.

Since this review was copied from my original blog, I am pasting relevant comments below:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 7:22 pm

    I know this is old but I am looking for a book to read or try not to read the book that I am supposed to (cutting for the stone, the first 150 pages are not inspiring to read more), so I am looking through your book shelve and just wanted to tell you that Secret Garden used to be my favorite too, together with Little Princess of course.

    • July 7, 2011 9:36 am

      I hear amazing things about Cutting for Stone so I’m surprised that it’s not interesting! But isn’t that usually the case with hyped up books? I LOVED Little Princess. I can’t wait for Maya to be old enough to read it because I know it’ll be one of her favorites too.

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