Saturday, October 3, 2009

After You by Julie Buxbaum

Let's pretend things are different. That in the last couple of days, I haven't become the kind of person who resorts to wishing on eyelashes, first tears of the night, and the ridiculous 11:11, both a.m. and p.m., in earnest and with my eyes closed.

Title: After You

Julie Buxbaum
ISBN: 9780670066834
Publisher: Viking, Canada/2009
Pages: 336

When Ellie's best friend Lucy is murdered in London, Ellie rushes there from Boston, to be with Lucy's eight-year-old daughter, Sophie. After greeting Ellie, Sophie stops speaking.
Meanwhile, Lucy's husband has withdrawn into himself and the charge of taking take of Sophie falls on Ellie. Sophie had seen her mother mugged and killed while they were going to school. Ellie loves Sophie and will go to any length to get her back on track.

Sophie, like Ellie is a book lover. Ellie thinks she has the right book to share with Sophie and that can help both deal with their feelings. Hence, both starts on the journey of reading The Secret Garden by
Frances Hodgson Burnett. In the process of sharing the secret of that beautiful book, the healing process for both starts in the right direction.

Ellie too has certain issues to deal with in her personal life. Even though her marriage is disintegrating and she doesn't want to go back to her home and husband Phillip, leaving behind Sophie. For a while now, their relationship has gone down the hill. Ellie doesn't know how to deal with it. Sophie and Ellie deal with their griefs in the company of each other. Sophie has nightmares, misses her mother yet loves Ellie and can't think of letting her go. Ellie too can't leave the child even though she knows her marriage will disintegrate. Greg and Ellie become friends, what with Lucy and Sophie being the common bond. When Ellie discovers some secrets about Lucy, she is deeply shocked, about the secret and also about the fac that Lucy didn't trust her enough to share those with her. Lucy knew Ellie would disapprove.

Ellie is the narrator of the story and she understands the value of friendship, and being there at their times of need. She also knows her own deficiencies, although she doesn't know how to deal with it. The sadness is balanced out by the funny, witty moments. The sardonic manner of the narrator is not repelling as that is directed towards herself. And when she away from home, she understands the real value of home and belonging.

The colourful characters of Ellie's parents too take us in, along with her very straight brother. Her husband Phillip, too comes across well. A novel, which totally grips us, the sadness, the funny quirky moments, Gregs' idiosyncrasies, Sophie's childishness, the death of Lucy hanging in the background. And most important of all, The Secret Garden can and does heal Sophie. As it helps Ellie find home finally.


bermudaonion said...

A book about a book helping with the healing process sounds wonderful. Thanks for the review.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I thought this book was pretty good. I really enjoyed your review.

Staci said...

I have this book to read...I'm truly looking forward to it. Great review!

Anonymous said...

Great review. This one was already on my wish list, but your review made me mark a star by it :)