2019 whilst being a little poor on the actual reading front has been a great year in respect of the audio book having followed on from great success I had with this format especially with non-crime fiction genre.
Still Me is the last part in the trilogy written by the fabulously talented Jojo Moyes which started with Me Before You which I read as back in January 2013 where Lou Clark takes on a job being a nurse/companion to a quadriplegic man. This story was so popular, being later made into a film that Jojo Moyes bought Lou Clark back for more adventures. In After You we see her living a new life, meeting new people and coping with grief and her journey kept me company during my walks home from work and preparing food that I missed Lou Clarke so very much when this book finished and felt that the narrator Anna Acton now encapsulated the story for me so despite having a physical book it seemed obvious to continue in audio format.
In Still Me Lou Clarke has takes up a new job in New York through an old friend. New York is new and exciting and although Lou misses her boyfriend Sam in London, at times he seems very far away. With a whole new cast of characters in New York and this really is how Jojo Moyes captures the hearts of her readers – they are so well drawn, multi-layered and as far removed from clichés and stereotypes that lesser authors employ. There is no doubt in my mind when I was listening that Lou Clarke was a real woman, with problems not so very different to those that I have suffered, and despite being a fair bit younger than I am, it still manages to feel relevant as the cast of characters takes in the whole spectrum of people. We have the fussy old woman with her beloved dog, the unfriendly housekeeper, the spoilt rich wife, the personal trainer, the jock, the vintage clothes shop owner to name but a very few.
So although the characters are the chief pull of course even the most captivating of studies can’t stand up without a plot. Perhaps this novel has more of the general romance pitfalls than the previous two books, chiefly misunderstandings that are left to fester rather than spoken about on both sides, but despite this I was still swept along hoping for a good result for Lou whether that be a good man or no man at all. Pleasingly the latter is always a possibility especially as we also catch up with Lou’s brilliantly portrayed parents and sister as they come to terms with life not following the predictable route they thought it would. In fact Lou’s mother and her father’s reaction to life’s changes provided some of my favourite comedic moments in the book.
I finished Still Me quite some time ago but I won’t forget Lou Clarke in a hurry. It takes a special kind of skill to pen a story that has all the ranges of human emotions without it tipping into the sickly sweet arena and for someone like me who has an antipathy to ‘romantic’ tales that is high praise indeed!
First Published UK: 24 January 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books
No of Pages: 496
Listening Length: 13 hours 37 minutes
Genre: Contemporary Fiction