Review of Life after Joe by Harper Fox

Life After JoeLife After Joe by Harper Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5-4 stars

This is a difficult story to summarize without giving too much away, as it is not really a story of a lot of action, at least not from outside factors. It is a story about people and emotions, about second chances and moving on.

“My life had died,
and simce then I had haunted its old scenes and routines,
bloodless and unreal”

Matthew is a ghost. Well, I guess not really, technically he is still among the breathing population, but he is definitely not living after his lover Joe left him 6 months earlier.

Joe was, literally, the love of Matthews life. The boy he grew up with and the only love and lover he has ever known. So when Joe decides to ‘go straight’ Matthew have no way to cope.
He is spending his days drowning in booze, the occasional recreational drugs and sex with strangers, in order to fill up the void Joe has left behind.

“I think I tried to kill myself last night. […]It’s all right. Nobody noticed.”

It is at the very lowest point of his life that Matthew runs into Aron. Aron who treats him with respect and understanding. But Joes’ betrayal runs deep and when Aron seems to have secrets of his own, it is very hard for Matthew to find a way to trust and believe. Both in Aron and in himself and his own worth.

This is not an easy read. Matthews decline is heartbreakingly sad to witness, especially as the story is told from Matthews head, so we not only witness it, we experience it. Joe truly did a number on Matt. He has no self respect, no feeling of self worth and really no reason for living.

The reason for this not being a 4-5 star read is due to the fact that it ends too abruptly for my liking. I needed more. I had been through hell with these characters and although I was left with a note of hope, it wasn’t enough for me. I needed to see them truly on the other side. Matthew was still not sure enough about his own worth and Arons feelings for me to leave them yet. I needed an epilogue.

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