Sunday, August 30, 2009

After You-Julie Buxbaum

After You
Julie Buxbaum
Dial, Sep 1 2009, $25.00
ISBN: 9780385341240

Since the death of her baby, Bostonian Ellie Lerner has had nothing that turns her on. Neither her marriage to Phillip nor her teaching position matters. Her only tie to the living is Lucy Stafford who moved to England where she married Greg and has a child, Ellie’s goddaughter Sophie.

When Lucy is tragically murdered by a mugger, Ellie’s apparent last tie to life dies with her. However, something whispers to Ellie to cross the Atlantic to be there for Sophie. While Phillip is confused and Greg is hiding his grief with indifference, Ellie comes for the funeral but stays to take care of the hurting now mute eight years old Sophie who witnessed her mom’s death. .

This is a well written contemporary tale starring realistic characters struggling with life after a tragedy. Ellie is terrific as she finds a reason to live in the needs of Sophie whose father has abandoned her as if she mugged and killed his American wife. Her nurturing Sophie through their nightly ritual of reading the Secret garden together brings to her solace that she had not previously found. Whereas the two females forge a deep relationship that helps each move on somewhat beyond their respective trauma by regaining a sense of self, the two males in their live remain bewildered. AFTER YOU is a strong character study that focuses on regaining one’s equilibrium after a tragedy has occurred.

Harriet Klausner

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