Review: He’s After Me by Chris Higgins

His smile faded and our eyes held and that’s when it happened. A charge passed through me, like an electric shock.

Anna meets Jem when her life is falling apart. He is everything Anna needs him to be. Her dad may have run off with a younger woman, her mum may be a wreck and her younger sister, Livi, is swerving off the rails – but as long as she has Jem, Anna will be OK.

And for the first time in her life Anna falls. Deeply and truly and intensely in love.

The end? Not quite…

Review

In He’s After Me, Chris Higgins has portrayed the disturbed, obsessive, young man and naive and slightly deluded girl with low self-respect well. I found it interesting to go through the Goodreads reviews while reading He’s After Me as a divide is there about whether this is a good story or not. Personally, I thought the relationship was written appropriately and the reason I bring up the reviews is because of how many mention the main character, Anna, being an idiot.

Now, there are different levels of idiot and I think being an outright idiot doesn’t suit Anna. I prefer the term ignoramus in this case. She’s seventeen and I know you can have some life experience, not necessarily be swept away by a wild romance at that age, but with the combination of elements that is Anna’s life, character, and experience, I think it’s of no surprise. An unhealthy infatuation such as the one between Anna and Jem can happen in real life. I know because I have been around and involved with disturbed and obsessive individuals. When the defensiveness, including saying people are jealous, crops up, my impression is she’s reached the point where she is in denial and justifying Jem’s behaviour. It’s more so apparent to me when she’s in the process of internal justification and it becomes clear just how low her self-respect is.

Jem on the other hand, poor, disturbed Jem, is the right amount of possessive, obsessive, and needy. His view of the world portrayed via Anna’s perspective of him adds even more of a skewed slant to his actions, while at the same time adding an endearing element to his character. I say endearing as it is a sad tale and you can’t help but feel a level of pity for Jem, but that doesn’t mean I think the other characters (and people in real life situations akin to this) should be giving into him or showing certain types of sympathy. The only type of sympathy for people with conditions like this is to seek help, at times in the form of the police, there’s nothing else you can do. Following the downward spiral both Jem and Anna go on when it comes to the mixture of pity and sympathy Anna has for him was engrossing.

From the beginning He’s After Me is a sad story. It’s clear the relationship will end badly, which is why I don’t feel as though I’ve given away spoilers at this point. What I found kept me reading is wondering what exactly happens by the end, how far this whole sorry tale will go, and the pace of it. Definitely a page-turner, if it wasn’t for how tired I was (started reading it at night didn’t I) and my new addiction (Boogie Bunnies), I believe there’s a good chance I would have read He’s After Me in one sitting. While it’s a short time filler it doesn’t make it any less of a meaningful read and I feel this is a story that should be read with only the characters in mind, not with projecting your own experience over theirs.

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About Bonnie Sparks

Between a blogging addiction, hosting reading challenges, reviewing, writing novels, and overcoming a neuro-immune disease, Bonnie attempts to do as many awesome things as she can and has a good dose of daily bunny cuddles. She resides in Western Sydney with her rabbit, Winston.

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