Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Polly Williams - Afterwife

Sophie Brady is a force of nature—funny, beautiful, and devoted to all the people in her life—even in death. After a traffic accident cuts her life tragically short, Sophie finds herself attending her own funeral (on time, no less) and watching the reactions of those she holds most dear.
Sophie’s darling, gorgeous husband Ollie is heartbroken, trying to father their young son while working out how to use the washing machine. Furthermore, he’s absolutely clueless about his new status as most eligible bachelor in the neighborhood. Sophie is determined to help her husband find love again, with the right sort of woman, of course.
Luckily, she’s not the only one looking out for Ollie. Her best friend Jenny is ignoring her own pain by helping him navigate the murky waters of widower-hood. But as she grows closer to Sophie’s husband, Jenny unearths secrets that make her question how well she knew her friend, and where the line between loyalty and love ends…

Comment: I got this book in a used books shop and I was captivated by the white color in the cover (my favorite color) and after having read the blurb I imagined a sweet and funny but also emotional story and because it was cheap, I bought it. This happened last year and now I finally picked it up. This story is labeled chick-lit and more, British! Having had different experience with this sub genre (if one can call it that), I was apprehensive but looking for to read it.

This book tells us the story of Sophie, a mid-thirties woman, married, with a young son who gets killed in an accident with a bus and parts of the story are told from her perspective as dead, watching what others say and do after she's gone.
The story is also told in the third person narrator and it's how we follow the lives of Jenny, Sophie's best friend, Sophie's widowed husband Ollie and their son Freddie, and Sophie's group of friends too.
Basically, this is the story of all the characters after Sophie's death and how they cope and what they do when she's not there anymore.

This was an interesting story. I do like the idea, the concept of it, even if it's not original.I liked Sophie's POVs on things, how she just accepted her condition but not the fact those she cared about are devastated -some more than others - and how will their lives be now that she is gone forever. Sophie's voice was a good one, not too dramatic, not silly... of course we don't get her thoughts very often but that is clearly to let us make our own minds about certain things, although I did feel sometimes her words and thoughts about people were too handy, so we could understand quicker what was going on, so in certain parts we would know before the living characters why things were happening and that d9istracted me from being invested in the others's parts instead of only Sophie's.
The thing is, the change from one POV to the other (Sophie's and third person narrator) wasn't very smooth and got slightly annoying to guess after some sentences who was telling us things.

The story focuses mostly on two things after Sophie died: Jenny's life and feelings after her best friend died in such a sudden way and the attempts of the other friends of Sophie to help her widowed husband with the house chores and just moving on... yes I think Ollie moved quite fast even if his responses were natural and rationally understandable. There's a certain comic side of things too but I wasn't very amused by it. I wanted things to focus on the emotional impact all this had. Freddy's scenes were so cute and adorable, it really added a good emotional content to the plot.
Jenny has a boyfriend, someone we get the feeling isn't good for her somehow, we get to know why but the development wasn't original and we can easily guess what happened ad that Jenny is more perfect for Ollie. I get this is where things are supposed to go but in a way yes, it was weird they developed feelings for each other. Not that it shouldn't happen but honestly I wasn't convinced of it, not properly, not completely.

The writing isn't bad, it's actually easy to follow except the narrator switching, but as it happens with many British authors there's a certain feel of focusing on details which I don't think are that important. Maybe this is cultural thing... which we get even more by the use of certain expressions and words not seen in books by authors of other nationalities. In a way it makes it authentic but harder to get used to as well! And it's not all authors, only authors more focused on chick lit... this is an interesting detail that someone could study!

So, basically this story is about how Sophie's best friend should realize her boyfriend sucks and she should just accept Ollie and his love for her. I just don't think this worked out very well because I never really believed they had such strong feelings for each other and didn't believe in the fact it happened. It wasn't a smooth passage from barely friends to being in passionate love...
Oh well, it was entertaining enough but not the best book ever, for sure. I've added points because I could read it quite easily.
Interestingly, this had been published before with a different title...I think this one is more appropriate...
Grade: 7/10

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