The After series by Anna Todd runs smoothly. The third movie of this New York Times The best-selling series has just been released and fans are eagerly awaiting the next movie.
What’s After, and how did it become so popular? Let’s dive deep into it.
The origin of After
After started out as a One Direction fanfic on Wattpad. Anna Todd wrote it under the username Imaginator1D and posted a chapter a day of her story. It slowly gained popularity on the platform and eventually had millions of reads and many, many fans.
In fact, it was so popular that Wattpad himself reached out to Todd and wanted to help her find a publisher for her book. After she deleted the One Direction content to create After her own work (a process known as “archiving the serial numbers”), she published the story at Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.
Then it started to get really big. This is where the After series by Anna Todd begins.
After explodes, and the After movies
Once the books were published, they started to gain a more mainstream audience and ended up on The New York Times bestseller list. People were swarming with this series and the other books came out slowly. There are five books in this pentalogy: After, After we collided, After we fell, After ever happy, and Before.
A feature film adaptation was eventually made. the film After was released in 2019, After we collided came out in 2020, and After we fell just released last month (September 2021). The movie version of After ever happy is currently in production.
Why is After problematic?
The main problem with the series is that Hardin exhibits behavior that is typical of abusive people. He lashes out and threatens those around him, blames others for his bad behavior, and is nice one day and angry the next. He justifies the traumatic things he does to others by blaming his tragic childhood, and makes no effort to change himself for the better. Tessa makes her behavior possible and justifies it because he is a “rebel”. Bah.
Now we understand that fanfiction is a fantasy realm, a place where things can happen that don’t happen in the real world. And the fantasy of redeeming and helping a “bad boy” can be very appealing to many, because we all want to believe that people can change with our intervention.
When such text is transferred from fanfiction to novel, context matters, and what started as a satisfying story, “I Can Fix It When No One Else Can” turned into a book that seems to justify abuse. It is critical that these things are thoroughly investigated, and it is an unfortunate problem that has happened Fifty Shades of grey, another fanfic-turned-novel story.
Speaking from experience, we can understand why people are triggered by this book and don’t like Hardin or Tessa. However, we must then ask the question: why is the After series by Anna Todd so popular despite it all?
Why is After so popular?
As we said before, the fantasy of fixing an abusive person is alluring. It’s comforting to fantasize that love can solve even the worst problems life can throw at people. And let’s face it, bad boys are hot. There’s a reason it’s a popular archetype.
We also disagree with those who hate writing this series. Sure, there are some cringe-inducing moments, but overall, it’s not a bad piece. Todd had talent in her words and her pace. For that reason alone, we can see why her series was a hit.
So put good writing and a popular trope, and it makes a hit? Perhaps. We think Todd happened to be in the right place at the right time when she started posting on Wattpad, and she hit gold.
Good for her, but also be aware that the “fix him” fantasy should be just that: a fantasy that stays within the pages of a book. If you’ve ever been in a relationship as described in the After series, it is insulting and you should get help immediately. Call 1-800-799-SAFE for more information, or locate your local hotline or abuse center.
That’s pretty much today’s look at the After series! What is your opinion about these books? Let us know!
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