Mimi loves flowers, crystal chandeliers, kittens, Céline Dion’s voice, the color pink, swaths of satin, the Queen of England, and chocolate. Far, far too much chocolate. She craves beauty and her own overweight self is emphatically not beautiful, at least in her own eyes. And despite her size, she doesn’t feel whole because all she knows about her father is that he was a sperm bank donor seventeen years before. Mimi is a fractured soul.
Although she knows it could be disastrous, she is drawn to her school’s prom because it will be held in a beautiful ballroom and, for once, she’ll be able to dress up. But her instincts prove to be right and, after merciless bullying, she flees in tears.
Mimi knows that she needs to take charge of herself to find a person she can love within her self-imposed wall of weight. She leaves her doting mother and Montreal behind and heads to Toronto to find her father. What she finds is far more important than anything she could possibly have imagined.
Francis Chalifour’s ability to bring the unforgettable Mimi to life makes this a novel that will touch the reader’s funny bone and heart.
Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards 2005, (Children's Literature, Text)
Fifteen-year-old Francis’s father has committed suicide and nothing will be the same again. Suicide is ugly, unglamorous, and it is never a solution. Its aftermath is dreadful.
At first, Francis feels a terrible guilt. Could he have been a better son? What if he hadn’t left his home in Montreal to go on a brief holiday in New York the weekend it happened? Soon the guilt turns to anger and then to a sadness so profound that he thinks he can’t bear it.
After is the map of a year following the suicide of a family member. In the course of months, with the love of his mother, with counseling, and with the balm of time, Francis takes his first steps toward coming to terms with his father’s – and his family’s – tragedy. After is intensely personal, but it will resonate with anyone who has faced the loss of a loved one.
This brilliant autobiographical first novel is an acute analysis of the grieving process. Although it is steeped in Francis’s sadness, it is ultimately a story of hope.