As the novel opens Candace is battling the world of showbiz. As a Christian, Candace no longer wants to sing worldly songs and she is unpopular with her record label. She wants her life to glorify God.
After is a novel with God very much at the centre. He is a God of new beginnings and second chances. As Candace is told ‘Man wants to toss you aside after one mistake. God holds you after ten thousand.’
Candace can stand for each and every one of us, as she faces life as a new Christian. Her old life must be put behind her but the world and it’s pressures does not make for an easy ride. She wants to become a new woman of God, totally altering every aspect of her old life.
After shows that we all need people to walk alongside us, to encourage us and to believe in us. Life is not meant to be done in isolation. The theme of friendship and support runs throughout the novel.
The theme of trusting God and letting go is also present in the novel. We all have our ‘security crutches’ that we lean on. After demonstrates that we need to remove our crutches, reach out and trust that God will catch us.. The safest place to be is always in God’s presence.
Linked to the theme of trusting God is that of searching. Many people search for things to fill what is essentially a God-shaped hole and the sooner that one realises that, the better.
After also touches on the theme of forgiveness, recognising the need to fully forgive before being able to move forwards in life.
All the main characters were Christians. They were well drawn, likeable and realistic. Joy Ohagwu showed that being a Christian does not mean being immune to trouble and heartache. However in times of need, one can always depend on God.
The novel showed the importance of setting goals in life. They could be spiritual, emotional or practical but it is good to have something to strive towards.
I thoroughly enjoyed After and was sad to come to the end of the book. I am looking forward to reading more by Joy Ohagwu.