The first couple of chapters of “After I’ve Gone” present the reader with a nightmare of modern times. Imagine checking your Facebook page and finding posts to your timeline talking about your recent death, all dated 18 months in the future. Your friends and family are clearly devastated at your passing, but you’re still here!
At first, Jess, a normal 20 something with a job she enjoys in a cinema along with her best friend Sadie, thinks it’s just a bad joke, then perhaps, something a bit more sinister – a stalker perhaps or a disgruntled ex-friend having a mean spirited laugh at her expense. However it soon becomes apparent when she shows the messages to Sadie, that Jess is the only one that can see them. Sadie just sees the normal timeline and so starts to have worries about Jess’s mental health – something that has suffered since the loss of her beloved Mum to cancer, several years ago.
Then Jess meets Lee. Handsome, well to do with a good job, Lee is the consummate gentleman who wants to spoil Jess rotten – and is so good that surely, he can’t be true? Jess has her head turned almost immediately and begins to behave differently – missing out on special occasions with her oldest friends to accompany Lee to posh do’s – for which he buys her suitable, expensive clothes as her Dr Martens just won’t cut it. Sadie is worried for Jess, and all the while Jess is seeing more and more messages on Facebook pertaining to her upcoming death – is she going crazy? Is this a warning? Jess just doesn’t know what’s happening, but what she does know is that she needs to find out and figure out if it is possible to change the future that seems to be already mapped out for her.
I thought this book had an excellent premise, and started very strongly, however I felt a little like there were some things that you just wouldn’t do with the evidence that Jess had in front of her. Ignoring something being pointed out to you with a big neon arrow is, unfortunately, a very real human trait, nonetheless it frustrated me. I also felt it a little unlikely that you’d choose to allow your impending death to race towards you for the sake of a future family that may not even exist – but then I’m not the one seeing scary prophetic messages on Facebook, so who knows what you’d do?
All in all a good read, an excellent premise and a great holiday novel!