Bingo Square: So Shiny!
Picking up after Me Before You and After You, Still Me finds Louisa Clark in New York, working as an assistant for the Gopnik family. Specifically, Lou is there to help Agnes Gopnik, the much younger (very unhappy) second wife of Leonard Gopnik. She handles Agnes’s schedule, attends swanky events with her, and keeps her secrets. They’re friends you see. Lou also attracts other ‘friendly’ attention in the form of Josh, a man who looks strikingly similar to someone Lou loved and lost. Meanwhile, she’s left her new love, ambulance man Sam, back home in London, with promises of visits to keep their romance going. And while her love life may not be going all that smoothly, Lou finds herself falling head over heels for the city that never sleeps.
Louisa finds out the hard way that a line has to be drawn between employer and employee, that long distance relationships are hard bloody work, and that appearances can be deceiving. Can she navigate all that life is throwing at her, and make her lost love proud?
I enjoyed Me Before You (and if you haven’t seen the film Emilia Clarke is quite delightful in it, she should be allowed to be funny more often) and wanted to see how things turned out for Lou. I found the second book so-so but figured I might as well finish off the trilogy. But urgh. It was a bit of a slog. It felt much longer than its almost 400 pages. So little of consequence seems to happen. I think maybe it’s tough coming from the first book where it had huge events (SPOILERS: her falling in love with Will and his decision to end his life), that anything coming after would seem a bit…flat.
Here Lou is still, three books in, trying to find herself (and doing quite a poor job of it for most of the book). She’s in New York because Will inspired her to try things and go on adventures but she’s stuck working for the Gopniks in a pretty miserable job, and then they screw her over and she just takes it. It’s infuriating. Then there’s her relationship with Sam, who doesn’t do much to endear himself further, followed by Josh, who she ties herself in knots over when he’s not even that nice. Where is your spine, Lou?! Why are you dithering about so much?
Given she’s thousands of miles away from her family they don’t appear that much and this is a shame, as a lot of the story’s warmth and humour came from her interactions with them. Things do pick up in the last 50 pages or so as she finally starts to assert herself and find her way, but it’s a long time getting there and not hugely worth the payoff. I’d like more for Lou. I kinda hope she’s left alone now.