I was intrigued, reading in the description for Before and After ‘he hasn’t been outside in 9 years’ as I have anxiety and have had my struggle with agoraphobia. I was concerned for the potential fatphobia. Before and After was so much than I was expecting it to be.
This is the story of an apocalyptic present-day world, in which Ben and his dog must try to survive. The story of Ben’s past was told in between the present-day chapters, that told us a lot of the story because there is not much to do at the end of the world, day to day, bar surviving. Ben’s past involves his relationship with his dad, the love his mum gave him and his subsequent weight gain, and agoraphobia. Ben becomes, gradually, imprisoned in his own home. There were astute observations on how easy it can be in our modern world to never need to leave home. I was able to empathise with the character of Ben, and I liked the subtle humour, similar to my own. I did not like so much the horror part of Ben needing to amputate his own leg and feeding the flesh to his starving dog, Bear.
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For those who are curious