After You Left by Carol Mason Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of After You Left

Plot Summary Part 4

She saw it as a character flaw.

Back in the present, Alice's friend Michael tells Alice that he has "gotten close" to a married woman, but assures Alice he is not boned the married lady. Right.

And then Sally, Alice's other friend, tells her she is in a loveless marriage too. It won't be long before Sally finds a married man to share her frustrations with. It seems everyone in this book is married and shacking up with other people.

Still in the present, Evelyn, who is an shriveled old  prune of a woman, reveals to Alice that she, Alice, is the daughter who Eddie abandoned. It turns out Alice never knew her Dad and Eddie was her Dad. This revelation, while surprising, doesn't seem to have any effect on the story.

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Alice goes to visit Eddie, who is an old vegetable, and they have a conversation like one would have with a two year old. It is emotionally very unsatisfying because Eddie can barely hold a coherent thought in his mash potato brain.

Alice gets an epiphany. Evelyn's story has made her realize that people should be free to bone whoever they like without consequences, even if they are married. She wishes Justin good luck boning his girlfriend and many happy returns.

The book ends with a flashback to the time Evelyn met Eddie at a friend's wedding. It was love at first site. They kissed. Then Evelyn  promised Eddie to see him again. Then she promptly moved away.

The end.

That's the great reveal. That's what we waited until the end of the book for. To see the scene where they first meet, and nothing of consequence happens. It's a real let down for what should have been a climactic ending.

Literary Criticism:

I had this story figured out by page 2 and you probably did too. It was that predictable. Carol Mason's literary style, to spend half the book in the present and half in flashbacks to reveal the great mystery of the story, is trite and overused in literature.

The basic love story is simply unbelievable. Eddie and Evelyn have no history together. They kissed once. That was it. Instant romance. For Eddie to be obsessed with Evelyn because of one brief encounter makes no sense. And why didn't Eddie try to track her down sooner, rather than wait 20 years?

If the basic love story makes no sense, neither does the rest of it.

Watching Eddie and Evelyn try to twist their adultery into something virtuous was also unconvincing. Eddie spun a story that leaving his wife would actually be good for their daughter.  Evelyn reveals her adultery and dares her husband to end their marriage.

The whole book seemed to be filled with loveless marriages. There simply wasn't much to the story, or stories.

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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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