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Before and After

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  846 ratings  ·  105 reviews

Ben Stone is terrified. He's terrified because he weighs 601 pounds and needs his right leg amputating. He's terrified because a crane will shortly lift him from his fourth-floor flat and lower him 44 feet to an ambulance waiting below. He's terrified because he hasn't been outside in nine years a
Kindle Edition, 197 pages
Published January 10th 2020 by Andrew Shanahan (first published January 8th 2020)
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Andrew Shanahan
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  846 ratings  ·  105 reviews

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Andrew Shanahan
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: wrote
I wrote this book, so my opinion is about as valuable as any parent's viewpoint on the loveliness of their child. I do really like the bit with the drone, that was good. I also like the bit with the patella.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
600 lb shut-in Ben survives the equivalent of a zombie apocalypse. And not much happens. Basically Ben and his dog sit around aaannnd that's it until the last few chapters. Should have skipped this one..
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I am no stranger to end of the world stories, but Before and After is different as it frames it in a way that you have (probably) never thought about - what if you're too big to leave the house and the world ends around you, leaving you alive and having to figure out WTF happened, as well as how to carry on?! It's a fascinating and fun story with a whole load of heartwarming details along the way.

This book is written almost TOO well. I had to stop reading to wince at some of
Jane Rees
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Worth reading

Interesting scenario and circumstances that I could never have imagined. Likeable and well rounded characters and a dog as well..good reading .
Jess Pagan
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant!

I bought this book after a few disappointing library hauls and read it in one day! I loved the characters, the dark humour and this is now one of my favourite books. The story is not only indulgently funny but also pulls at your heart strings in some points. The book was fantastic all the way to the end and I’m not ashamed to say I leaked a few bittersweet tears.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to think of this at first but it certainly grew on me and I ended up not being able to put it down and had to take it to work with me to finish the last 4%! A little weird and a little nauseating but different, heartwarming and uplifting. Loved it.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Warning: contains dark humour, nutty behaviour, and a big guy with a huge heart.

Ben Stone is a gloriously interesting character. Not because a vegan with type 2 diabetes is an unusual choice of protagonist, or even that most of his story is set in a fourth floor council flat, but for an utterly brilliant performance on this quirky apocalyptic stage.

The challenges facing someone of Ben’s extreme size pose countless opportunities for life or death to thrive in this open season of ‘viral hostility
Kakuzō Akutagawa
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
My thoughts on "Before and After" (single volume)

Written by Andrew Shanahan

It's a post-apocalyptic weight loss story that somewhat reminds me of the Bradbury classics.

The story:
A morbidly obese guy and his dog have to live through the apocalypse while being confined to his apartment.

For a book that is 90% about a guy and his dog without leaving their apartment it was pretty damn enjoyable. The thing that struck me the most was how well written this book was. like I had to read complete
Marina Johnson
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Darkly humorous and with very graphic detail, this book was such a great read. A hugely overweight man and his dog and the end of the world - quite a combination! Fabulous book, I couldn't put it down, highly recommended.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gore, humour, suspense, heart - just such an enjoyable read. So many twists and turns that I didn't see coming, and a main character that I absolutely adored. I never thought my love of zombie apocalypse novels and Supersize vs Superskinny could ever be combined so successfully, but here we are.
Katie Mouat
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great read. Hard to put down. Empathy, humour, fear and sheer jaw dropping shocking description make this just brill.
Alan Clark
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, I'm not a huge reader so for me to enjoy a book I have to be drawn in very quickly and this did just that. A great main character who is a lovable type of guy and a heart of gold. I liked how the book flicked through time in such a way it made sense. Certain things happening in the near future then it flicks back to the past and gives a little insight into Ben's life. I found Ben to be relatable in many ways and therefore I took a shine to him quickly. You get a sense of a man gi ...more
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a seriously good read. It's fun, joyful, tearful, insightful, and original.

My synopsis of the book is:

"Ben Stone is a morbidly obese man over 600lbs. On the day he is about to leave his flat for the first time in over 10 years to have his leg amputated, the world ends. Left alone but for his pet dog, Brown, in a flat without a wall, strapped to a sled, Ben must learn to survive."

I laughed and cried a few times. It’s a lovingly written story of personal gains and losses, both physical and
The Grim Reader
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I took a punt on this book because I love Bourbon biscuits. Andrew Shanahan's Before and After is a story about Ben; an obese man imprisoned inside his flat whilst the world ends outside his window. As the title suggests, the story jumps back and forth as we follow Ben's journey through life and biscuits. There is a lot to like about Before and After. Ben is a likable chap, no doubt, and the pace is steady. We get a good feel of his surroundings and the writing is solid. A couple of far-fetched ...more
David Winstanley
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic story with such a loveable main character! The Story of Ben Stone is one that grips you from page one and keeps you gripped until the end even the gory bits kept me flipping the pages wanting more and more!

A story centred around an obese man at the end of the world doesn’t sound like my normal genre of book but honestly from page one I could not put it down this book it heartwarming, funny and relatable on every level. I think there is a Ben Stone in all of us!

I cannot recommend th
Kay Smillie
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can honestly say I have never read a book like this. An abrupt unexplained illness brings about an apocalypse which has been sort of written about before, but not from the viewpoint of a very overweight gent who has had a hole knocked in the wall of his fourth floor flat, so that he can be transported to the hospital for an amputation.

Suffice to say the sudden apocalypse has put an end to the trip to the hospital. This is a wonderfully dark take, with some black humour. Not just about the coll
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bought this book 24 hours ago, just finished it. Blackly humourous post-apocalyptic fiction with incredible heart. Super-obese Ben's world is probably about to end when the world suddenly ends for everyone else. The apocalypse turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to him. The relationship between Ben and his dog Brown is beautiful, as they save each other from the end of the world. And I agree with the author, the patella bit is outstanding. Brb just off to get a Manchester Ter ...more
Stephanie Saphier
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing

The shifting narrative, between young Ben and present day Ben, allowed a great sense of empathy to be created for his character. It was this, coupled with his self scrutiny that we begin to understand the modern day struggles (both mentally and physically) of being overweight in society. Whilst, the post-apocalyptic setting added suspense and intrigue. I throughly enjoyed this book, but what’s happens next?
Andy Duff
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great story. Seems like its coming at you from an odd place, and if you ever wanted to know what a super obese bloke would do at the end of the world, when he needs a crane to leave the flat then this is the book for you.
If you don't, but do want to know about the struggle the determination the worry and the humour of how to deal with one hell of a mess then this is the one for you too.
Great stuff from a debut writer who really has hit the ground running.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thought it'd be stupid, was wrong

The plot of this book sounded absurd. I thought it'd be dumb and a waste of time and predictable. I was surprised to actually enjoy it and want to read it. I found the before and after points of view annoying. Especially as I didn't have a good way on an ebook to flip back and see what the weight was or how long it'd been. Other than that I actually enjoyed the book.
Mark Lewin
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly good read. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into, but I can honestly say that it surprised and delighted all the way through.

Without giving too much away, this is a sad story of a morbidly obese man who is housebound, not only by his own physical condition, but also the state of the world around him. How he copes, suffers and finally thrives in that environment is what kept me reading.

Definitely worth checking out!
Mindaugas Mozūras
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
By the middle of the third day I welcome death, but death is busy elsewhere.

A fun, easy, original, gripping light sci-fi thriller about the end of the world and a very big man dealing with all of it.
B.T. Keaton
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first thing that popped into my head after finishing was "28 Days Later" meets Sweatin to the Oldies... I say that because, well, it's got 'zombies' and a main character with a personal journey that is just so likeable. The story's protagonist is essentially a morbidly obese invalid, stuck in his home, but successful to a degree running his own online business. After the death of his mother he found companionship in his sweet dog, Brown and more or less separated himself from the world. This ...more
sarah bayley
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it

Wow loved this book and the in-depth meaning behind it. Had me in tears and laughing. So well written.
Would really recommend this book. Gives you hope especially if your feeling low....
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
You’ll want to binge this like a pack of bourbons!

This is a fun and gripping read. Robinson Crusoe meets I am Legend. My only criticism is the drone was a bit too convenient a solution, I will not say more.
Alison Wright
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. A real page turner. In fact, I read it in just 4 days. Loved the main character and his dog, a real change to read about a man struggling with mental health and weight issues. Lots of humour too. All very real. Can't wait to see what's next.
Susan Shipman
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

Supreme. Ridiculous fast paced story that had me totally hooked from page one.
Read it if you are an intelligent apocalypse buff with a need for something new. Can't recommend it more strongly.
Sarah Chapman
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed

Loved Ben's character and his determination to survive. A bit far fetched re amputation but this is a fiction book after all!
hazel elliott
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unusual, imaginative, addictive.

Just a great read, the back and forth in time gave real substance to the tale which was funny, compelling and compassionate
Mikey Doyle
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I'm hoping there is going to be a part 2. Thanks
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