Tag Archives: julie buxbaum

AFTER YOU by Julie Buxbaum

Buxbaum I picked up After You on a bit of a whim the other day – it seemed like a relatively light read, which I was in the mood for. In that respect, it didn't disappoint. It's the story of Ellie, a thirty-five year old woman from Boston, whose best friend Lucy is murdered in a tony London neighborhood in front of her 8 year-old daughter Sophie. Ellie, who is at a crossroads in her relationship with her husband, flies to London – for several months – to help take care of Sophie and process her friend's death. While there, she is forced to confront the problems in her marriage and learns about some problems in Lucy's marriage that she didn't know about.

I had heard of Julie Buxbaum before I bought After You. She is a fellow Harvard Law School alum who, like me, appears to have left the law for greener pastures. Her first book, The Opposite of Love, got good press, and I was curious to read one of her books. While I enjoyed After You and found it readable and compelling, I also thought it was kind of predictable. I don't want to give away too much, but there were some plot twists that seemed cliched to me, like I have read them before. Ellie was also frustrating to the point of irritation at times. I don't have to like all the characters I read about, but if I can't understand why they are acting as they are – if even they don't even seem to understand what they are doing – then I get turned off. There were also some plot points that got short shrift here. They had the potential to make the book more interesting – Lucy's double life, for example – but were left relatively unexplored.

I liked the London setting and Buxbaum's clear, fluid prose. i just wish she had taken some more risks with this book and gone in some directions that didn't feel like well-traveled paths.

I just did a search for other reviews of this book, and am finding that I am in the minority here. Several bloggers whom I respect a great deal – such as Heather from Book Addiction and Swapna of S. Krishna's Books, enjoyed After You a lot and had very positive things to say about it. So you might want to check out their reviews to get a balanced view of this book.

Relax, FTC, I bought this one myself at the Strand.

Treasures from the Strand

I just returned from a very quick trip to NY. The weekend didn't turn out as planned at all – one of my daughters got quite sick while we were there, and we ended up in the hotel room all day yesterday instead of at the Broadway shows we had planned to attend. However, when she finally went to sleep last night, I had an hour-long window to get out of the hotel and go to the Strand before it closed. I halved that hour by taking a cab to the Strand, discovering that I had left my wallet at the hotel, making the cab driver take me back to the hotel to retrieve my wallet, and then returning to the Strand in the same cab. That's how badly I wanted to go.

So I walked in the door of the store around 9:55 PM, and it closed at 10:30. However, while I was there I was able to find half-price hardcover review copies of three books I have had my eye on (and have written about here): Hello Goodbyeby Emily Chenoweth, The GIrls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow, and Sitting Practice by Caroline Adderson. I also picked up a copy of Julie Buxbaum's After You (she's a fellow HLS alum and I have been intrigued by her), and a used copy of Matthew Klam's collection of short stories, Sam the Cat. The latter was an impulse buy from the used fiction section. I rarely read short stories, but these looked good.

Because I really needed five new books to add to the TBR piles.

But it made me so happy to go there and browse and find those books, at the end of a pretty long day, so it was totally worth it. And I was in the checkout line by 10:25. And, I took the subway back.

I love the Strand.