It has been an exciting week for After lovers like myself as the newest movie After Ever Happy hits theaters only on September 7th and 8th at 7 pm. As this is the fourth movie in the series, it is getting deeper and deeper into Hardin and Tessa’s complicated relationship.
I have been an avid reader, lover, and supporter of the After series since Anna Todd was writing it on Wattpad. I am lucky enough to say I have witnessed the Harry Styles pop punk edits and fan castings. I had to wait for her to publish the next chapter, rereading scenes over and over again just to live in their world a little longer.
I have used After as an escape for as long as I can remember. My books carry the weight of laughs, smiles, tears, and an absurd amount of dog ears. I can’t explain it but when I have an itch to start the series, I can’t put it down until I have read all five.
Now, what makes the After series so controversial?
The love exhibited in this series is undeniably toxic and gut-wrenching. Period.
However, when I think of the drama that ensues over the course of the five books, I have a hard time saying that it isn’t a form of love. Who am I to say what is love? Does it make my head spin and hurt my heart to watch what unfolds? Absolutely. But I have to constantly remind myself that real people experience this kind of back-and-forth, lust-filled relationship every day. I don’t read the novels for the drama, though it is hard to miss. I read it for their connection, small acts of kindness, and indisputable draw towards each other.
The struggle that I face with this series I believe many other readers experience. There are some that are outright disgusted and have never read a page. I absolutely respect that; I’ve read the books enough times for myself and 10 others.
Over the years when I began to realize the complexity and controversial nature of the series, I tied my obsessive and compulsive rereading to my childhood. These books have watched me grow for almost 10 years now, they themselves growing from words on a screen to physical copies I could hold in my hand. At times, I’m not even sure what I am reading is good! I just love to know what happens and reread it like I don’t. It connects me to a time in my life when things were similar and I had the time to wait for the next chapter.
However, that doesn’t mean I gloss over the destructive language and behaviors just because I enjoy some specific scenes. This series has its dark side just as it does its light. If you want to read more about what’s wrong with After click here.
Though I know what this next movie will be about, I am interested to see how the directors and beloved cast highlight this novel’s both hard-to-watch and lovey-dovey moments.
If you were able to catch the release of the fourth film in theaters, I am jealous. If you are like me, waiting to stream After Ever Happy from the comfort of your bed, you can binge-watch the first three films on Netflix, and read more about the new release here!