Title: After You
Book No: 46
Author: Julie Buxbaum
No. of Pages: 340
I read Ms. Buxbaum’s debut novel the Opposite of Love and really enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to her latest book and was not disappointed.
Ellie Lerner’s best friend Lucy is murdered, right in front of her daughter’s eyes. When Ellie learns of this tragedy she drops everything to run to her goddaughter Sophie’s side. What we don’t know at first is that Ellie is also running from her life, her own tragedy and possibly using this as an excuse to escape reality.
As in her previous book Julie Buxbaum does not always present characters you immediately identify with. Ellie can be self-absorbed, prickly and dare we say it – stupid. Yet she is a bit of a lost soul trying to find her way through the loss of her child while trying to help her best friends child come through the loss of her mother as unscathed as possible. When Ellie stubbornly refuses to return home to her husband and he begins divorce proceedings, and when she learns some unpleasant truths about her best friend, she slowly comes to terms with the mess that is life.
I like the way the author doesn’t make everything cut and dried, good or bad, black or white. There are so many shades of grey – like life. Sometimes you love Ellie other times you wonder what the hell she is thinking. There are some predictable plot lines yet you still want to know how it will all turn out. It doesn’t all end in a neat little bow, but the ending is hopeful and more on the realistic side than usual. Enjoyable, often thought provoking; I don’t think Ms. Buxbaum has hit her stride yet, but she is getting there and I am looking forward to more from this author.