Tammara's Reviews > The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
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Sep 23, 11

Read from September 22 to 23, 2011

All reading is affected by what the reader brings to the table. That was particularly true for me with this book. Yes, the subject matter is depressing and has been done/will be done again. Why? Because people die. People you love have or will die, and sometimes it's not far out in the unforeseeable future. Sometimes it catches you unaware and unprepared to deal. And sometimes, all the time in the world to prepare doesn't help.

My little brother contracted AIDS in his late teens. He didn't get a positive HIV diagnosis. It was the 80s and no one knew crap about how to test for it - by the time he got a positive test, he had full-blown AIDS and was given 4 months to 2 years to live. He was stubborn, my brother. Determined to prove those doctors wrong, he signed on to every possible new drug test he could. He lived 17 more years, though the last 10 of that he was in hospice/long-term care.

He'd been a gorgeous 190-lb man before he got sick. During those 17 years, he literally wasted away, bit by bit. The boy I knew, my only early playmate and best friend, disappeared, and I had trouble remembering him. My brother became the guy in the wheelchair with Tourette's, who couldn't speak clearly, couldn't stand to be touched, and looked like he came from a concentration camp photo.

When he died, something unexpected happened: I got my memories back. They came flooding in, and like Laurel in The Beginning of After, remembering her brother Toby (and her parents), the memories came whenever they wanted, without regard to what I was doing or where I was. I was frequently floored by them.

People around you don't know what to say. And then they want you get past it, so they can go back to normal around you, when all you WANT is to go back to normal. But that's the thing - there is no normal in that space between Before and After. It's limbo. AFTER is a good place to be. And getting there is hard. Castle's The Beginning of After illustrates that very well.

It's not a happy book. It's got a little romance, but that's not the gist of it, and isn't meant to be. This is the story of Laurel and David, two very different people who each lost their individual families in one horrific accident, and have to learn how to cope and how to trust anything to ever last again. If you can handle that, read it. I lost my little brother. And this is how it feels.
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Quotes Tammara Liked

Jennifer Castle
“It was like how people find other people to be in love with, all random and accidental and lucky.”
Jennifer Castle, The Beginning of After


Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Jenny - TotallybookedBlog This one is on my to read list, will have to get to it soon. Sounds heartbreaking.


Marie This is probably the best review of this book I've read.


message 3: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Good review. Makes me want to read this book, some other reviews were making me wonder if I should read it. You should read the book A Monster Calls, also a book about coping with the death of a loved one, fantastic book! :)


message 4: by Tammara (new) - added it

Tammara Danielle wrote: "You should read the book A Monster Calls, also a book about coping with the death of a loved one, fantastic book!"

Thanks, Danielle. I'll check that out.


Sharon wow, thanks for your sharing this Tammara, so sorry for your loss...I always appreciate what you have to say, whether in your books, or your reviews, etc. thanks!!


message 6: by Iqbal (new)

Iqbal Al-Zirqi Wonderful touching review. U are damn right is that ppl comfort to u is mainly to make them feel better !!!


Anthea I am so sorry for your loss


Victoria This review made me cry. I loved it. Thank you for posting it. I'll make sure to read this book.


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