The future Facebook timeline of Jess Mount is terrifying. Jess does not know why she is the only one in her present able to view her future in this way and she wants desperately for the events the posts describe to never occur. In about 18 months time, Jess's FB page will become another tribute board written by those who mourn her, by those who faux mourn her, and by those who know the truth of how she died.
Jess learns that in the next year and a half she will be married, become a mother, and then be killed. It seems a blisteringly short time to have had such life changes, especially considering Jess has only just met the future father of her baby. Increasingly invested in the welfare of a baby she hasn't yet given birth to, Jess's timeline is frighteningly and prophetically laying out all that will happen and that the end of her life is inevitable. Or is it?
You'll need to clear a little time in your schedule to read AFTER I'VE GONE as it is quite likely that you will not want to put it down once you've dived in. This novel battles between hope and hopelessness in that the stakes are so very high; Jess has seen the face of her child and she desperately wants that little life to come into the world. Thinking a little too pragmatically, it would definitely be easier for Jess to let the fantasy go and to seek out safety for herself, letting go of the possibility of a phantom future child. AFTER I'VE GONE soon becomes ridiculously compulsive reading with unexpected depth and does at novel's end send the reader down quite a few "what if?" pathways.
There is initially a little of the "ghostie in the machine" feel here. Events in your life being engineered and directed by such a shallow and vacuous device as your social media platform is a deliciously creepy possibility to consider. AFTER I'VE GONE thankfully does not delve too much into the paradoxes of this concept though and instead relates the poignant personal drama of Jess's conviction that she must do right by her child, at whatever the great personal cost.
AFTER I'VE GONE is a novel about the dangerous battleground of intimate relationships but it is also a novel of conviction. Jess is a young person in jeopardy who has little resources to draw upon but makes firm and brave decisions of what she must do in order to save her child.