After

After

by Francine Prose

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060080839
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/11/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 674,595
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction, including Mister Monkey; the New York Times bestseller Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932; A Changed Man, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her works of nonfiction include Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim, a Fulbright, and a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, she is a former president of PEN American Center and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.

Hometown:

New York, New York

Date of Birth:

April 1, 1947

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Education:

B.A., Radcliffe College, 1968

Reading Group Guide

After
by Francine Prose

In her first novel for young readers, Francine Prose chronicles what happens when protection goes too far and what it means to have freedom eliminated in the name of safety.

The discussion topics in this reading group guide are intended to spark conversations and ideas about the issues raised in this poignant and provoking book.

About the Author:

Francine Prose is the author of eleven highly acclaimed works of fiction, including the National Book Award Finalist BLUE ANGEL. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, GQ, and The Paris Review; she is a contributing editor at Harper's, and she writes regularly on art for the Wall Street Journal. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, Francine Prose is a Director's Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City.

About the Book:

The shootings at Pleasant Valley were fifty miles away, but at Central High a grief and crisis counselor is hired, security is increased, and privileges are being taken away. If you break the new rules, the punishment is severe. And the rules keep changing every day. It's for the protection of the students, yet fifteen-year-old Tom Bishop learns that things are far more sinister than they seem. Students and teachers begin disappearing and, with few people aware of the danger lurking, Tom and his friends must make a decision that will change their lives forever.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. How do you thinkthat the subject of this book -- the line between sacrificing personal freedoms and protecting people -- can apply to what is happening in the world today?
  2. Nearly all adult characters in the book, teachers included, are reluctant to stand up to Dr. Wilner. Why do you think that is? Can you think of other times in history when people have been reluctant to confront authority?
  3. In light of the changes at Central and his mother's death, in what way is it significant that Tom eats his donut at the fair "in the tiniest pieces, crumb by crumb, and not waste one grain of sugar or on speck of cinnamon"?
  4. Tom, Silas, Avery, and Brian bring up Invasion of the Body Snatchers several times in the book. It's their favorite movie and on the day before Silas leaves for Operation Turnaround, the four boys watch it. How does this movie foreshadow what's to happen by the end of the book?
  5. After Silas is sent to Operation Turnaround, Tom remarks, "Right after that the weather changed. It was if Silas's absence made everything go cold and gray, as if his not being there caused the snow to start falling." How did the author use these few descriptive sentences to foreshadow what was to come for Tom and his friends?
  6. Dr. Wilner calls Tom into his office because during a random locker search Tom was found to be holding "questionable materials" in his locker -- a copy of Catcher in the Rye and a CD by the Tuff Knox Girls. How is the dialogue between Tom and Dr. Wilner regarding these items a turning point in the book?
  7. After Becca reveals to Tom that she was behind the graffiti incidents in school, Tom says he wasn't sure how he felt about knowing that Becca committed a crime he wouldn't have had the courage to commit. What does this comment reveal about his character and how can this relate back to his mother's death when he was younger?
  8. Chronicling the beginning of the book to the end, how are the students treated throughout? What kinds of rights do young people have today? Do you think some of our methods of "protecting" teens, such as random drug tests, mandatory school uniforms, etc., impinge on personal freedoms?
  9. During an assembly, Dr. Wilner praises the success of Jerry Gargiulo, who had been sent to Operation Turnaround a couple of months before. None of the other students seemed to know who he was, and they infer he was sent there because he was an "outsider," a profile assigned to the killers at Pleasant Valley. Do you think it is right or wrong to profile kids in terms of characteristics; does this perpetuate stereotypes?

Also by Francine Prose:

Blue Angel
Guided Tours of Hell
Household Saints
The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired
Primitive People

Customer Reviews

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After 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sam R- After- Have some books every just jump out at you? Don¿t they make you want to never stop reading? One of these books is After by, Francine Prose. It happens to be one of my favorites. As soon as you start reading you are sucked in. After has an unbelievable plot, deep characters, and twists and turns on every flip of the page. Boom! As soon as you open the book you are dropped into a hectic high school classroom. Everybody¿s cell phones are buzzing. Nobody knows what is happening but soon as they do they will wish they had never of heard. There had been a school shooting at a nearby high school. There was many fatalities including the gun men. This later affects their school. The state tries to deal with it by sending a crisis counselor to the school. But he doesn¿t live up to his title. He is more of a mind controlling evil person that takes over the school with gloom and despair. Soon things go crazy, the school security becomes tighter than one of an airport. Students get in trouble for the most ridiculous things. Soon some start to disappear. With everyone being watched no one is sure who they can trust. One of the students under the eye of the ¿crisis counselor¿ is our main character Tom. His new goal at school is to stay out of trouble. Along with his friends Silas and Brian he tries to understand why the school is turning into a prison and stay out of the light. I like these three characters. Tom is sort of the leader the one with the plans, guts, and the most smarts. Brian would fit well under the trusty sidekick category. He is very loyal to his friends and watches their backs. Silas, well what can I say about Silas. He is very paranoid about everything. I think he is mostly this way because he is a drug addict. These friends call themselves the ¿smart jocks¿. These three characters fit together perfectly. Although I would have to say my favorite is Tom. He is also the most similar to me. I always try to be the leader, I get pretty good grades, and I like to play sports. After is phenomenal book with an outstanding plot line, complicated characters, and makes you long to know what will happen next. It is one of my personal favorites that can put your life in perspective. It is an exciting drama and mystery that anyone can get into. This is a must read that reached out to me. I bet you will want to read it over and over again.
Erika3 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The novel, After, encompasses the theme that one should only take extreme measures with probable cause. In the beginning, Tom, the protagonist like many of the other students in his classroom receives a phone call from his father. Everyone suddenly become aware of the shooting that took place in a small high school. Throughout the middle of the novel, the schools Greif councilor is introduced and in attempt to control the students he terrorizes and threatens them. By the end of the novel it has become apparent that Dr. Willner has mental issues; for when he expels students from the school he leaves the impression that those students are no longer living. The story ends with Tom, his girlfriend and his friend leaving the city with his family to get far away from the city they once called home. (330/330)
meggyweg on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A truly terrifying, edge-of-your-seat, if slightly over-the-top thriller. Those who find it farfetched may want to read the book Help at Any Cost, a nonfiction study of the "troubled teen" industry.
xxsquigglesxx on LibraryThing 8 months ago
MY REVIEW: I loved every minute of this book. The subject matter is so scary based on the fact that something like this could actually happen, and how easily it would be to accomplish something like this. The only thing that I would say I didn't like was the ending of the book. It seems as though it was left open for the possibility of a sequal, but I don't think it was. Now, if a sequal ever does come out, I'll be the first one there to buy it. Basically, this book is worth your time to read.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When a Columbine like shooting occurs at a small high school, a neighboring school administration takes drastic measures to ensure nothing like this could happen to them.As the rights of the students for the "good of all" begin to dramatically disappear, it is obvious that brave new world has taken over and the school soon becomes prison like.When students learn of the heavy handiness and experience the fear generated by a particular administrator, they know it is out of control and there is no turning back.
airdna on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A high school administration overreacts to a school shooting at a neighboring district, and implements a set of increasingly restrictive "security measures." Stark, chilling, dystopian. A good way to get teens thinking and talking about the civil liberties they take for granted, and what can happen when you sacrifice certain freedoms for a sense of security.
MrsHillReads on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I loved this book. As a teacher, I can see how some of this could happen. I would have liked a different ending or at least a hint of what it was all about; however, parts of it rang all too true.
davidabrams on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Francine Prose's novel After opens with the news that three students at Pleasant Valley High School just killed five kids and three teachers and critically wounded fourteen others. As word of the shooting spree spreads through nearby Central High School, the students are understandably shocked. Little do they know the worst is yet to come at their own school. In her first book written for young adult readers, Prose (Blue Angel, Household Saints) paints a terrifying picture of conservative politics run amok as overzealous adults try to strip away civil liberties. Out of grief comes a witch hunt designed to root out non-conformity and individual expression. Heady stuff for a novel geared to teens, but Prose pulls it off masterfully with a plot that tightens the tension as it goes along. The 330 pages can be read in one sitting, but the nightmarish paranoia continues to cling long after you've set the book aside. As the title suggests, it's what happens after the Pleasant Valley shootings that's at the heart of the book. First, a grief and crisis counselor named Dr. Willner arrives at Central. Then come the metal detectors, and the strict dress code (no Commie red is allowed), then the random drug tests and the subversive "Bus TV" where students watch ultra-patriotic "Great Moments in History" every day on the ride to and from school. The story is chillingly familiar. We read about these things in our newspapers all the time¿for every catastrophic event, there's an equally catastrophic overreaction. For Tom Bishop, the novel's narrator, and his best friends Brian, Avery and Silas (part of a sub-clique known as the "Smart Jocks"), life gets increasingly more rigid and unforgiving with each ring of the school bell. A far cry from life at Central before the school killings: Everyone had a place; you were allowed to be who you were. I mean, whoever you were. It was totally live and let live. But after Pleasant Valley, all that began to change. It all starts with Willner, the creepy counselor. Dr. Willner was very tall, with a beard. He looked a little like Abraham Lincoln, but without the sweet-natured saintly part. He reminds Tom of the Lincoln robot at Disney World, which should remind astute horror fans that the Hall of Presidents is where one of those Stepford husbands used to work. In one way, Willner wants to turn the entire school population into robots. The Stepford Students. Willner speaks in a stream of psychobabble and, in nightly e-mails sent home to the parents, he encourages them to start lacing their conversations with "sharing," "reaching out," and "exploring our feelings." Those parents who succumb to Willner's suggestions soon begin acting like pod people straight out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (a movie which becomes central to the novel's plot). The repression begins cloaked in good intentions (as most repression does) as the adults merely want to prevent another Pleasant Valley tragedy from happening in their town. At his first school assembly, Willner tells the student body: "We can no longer pretend to ourselves that it can't happen here. And so we must change our lifestyle to keep our community safe and make sure that it won't happen. It means sharing our feelings, becoming better people. Beginning the hard work of healing and recovery. Working through our fear and grief. And in the process maybe giving up some of the privileges that we may have taken for granted. I am afraid that circumstances make it a virtual certainty that some of the privileges that we all have enjoyed may have to be taken away." Remind you of something someone in the echelons of our government might have said in the past two years? Under the Willner Plan, students are expected to put the good of society before their own individual well-being. After echoes with the loud goose-steps of civil-liberty threats from McCarthyism to the Patriot Act. (I have to be careful what I write¿I never know when They might be listening) After only lo
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Good read but what's with the ending?? HUGE let down!!! Unless there is a book 2 coming. Is there??
Elijah-James More than 1 year ago
I was pretty dissapointed with this book and also by all the "good" reviews it had. I didn't even finish the book. I was about two chapters away from the end before I said, "Alright, I've had enough." In my opinion, everything about it was unrealistic. I understand schools have to take extreme measures when a school shooting occurs only 50 miles away, but this would never happen. I'm sorry if you liked this book and you disagree, I'm just trying to help somebody out who was planning on reading this. If you like unrealistic books, you'll love this one. But I would never recommend this book to anybody (unless I didn't like them.)
thight217 More than 1 year ago
One interesting thing about the book After is that Tom, the main character, does not go to the high school that had the shooting. In fact he went to a school 50 miles away from Pleasant Valley, the school with the shooting. Tom goes to a high school called Central outside of Boston Massachusetts and when the shooting happens at Pleasant Valley Central takes multiple actions to keep that from happening at their school. One action was bringing in a grief and crisis counselor named Dr. Willner who has made Central seem like a complete prison with guards, metal detectors, random drug tests, and all new rules such as not being able to wear or read certain things! I really enjoyed reading this book because of the emotions expressed by Tom and his friends! Mrs. Prose made the book very intense with the views of the students and their feelings about Pleasant Valley and Dr. Willner. The one thing I didn't like about the book is she made some characters seem vacant minded about the situation going on at Central. This novel made me think a lot about how much family and friends mean to people because Tom lost his mother and now that his father is dating Clara he doesn't have a lot of time for Tom and also when he finds out that Silas could be sentenced to the highest extent of the law for doing drugs you can only think of how depressed Tom and the rest of the gang become! Over all I really enjoyed reading After by Francine Prose because it was very thought provoking and very deep! If there was ever a sequel to this book I would love to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
somebody_who_is_bored More than 1 year ago
The novel After is a gripping novel by Francine Prose. It's a book that you can never let go of. The novel is full of suspense and the plot has twists and turns. After tells about a school, Pleasant Valley, however, most of the major conflicts are happening at a school fifty miles away called Central High School. Cell phones are ringing and people are frantic about their children. Central High School is a school fifty miles away from the shooting site. Central High School hires a grief and crisis counselor, Dr. Willner, who ruins and enforced the lives of the students at Central. The major action and conflict with Dr. Willner revolves around four friends: Tom Bishop, Brian, Avery, and Silas. There many twists and turns in the plot of After. I thought After was a novel with a great plot, very descriptive settings, and interesting characters. The author, Francine Prose, was very good at planting the visual images of the novel in our brains. When I was reading this book I couldn't put it down because of the vivid scenes in the book. To me, After was like a movie inside my head. I highly recommend this novel to anyone. It is very entertaining, gripping, and descriptive. I can truly and fully confirm that After is a great novel for everyone to read and enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book was ok. I still would have liked to know of what actually happened to the kids from different schools.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book looking for a thrill with a great ending that u never saw coming but this book did not have that. the writing was good, the charaacters were good and the begginign and middle were very good but the whole time i was reading i was so excited for that ending that i never would have guessed...but that didn thappen. the ending didnt explain anything and just left you hanging with tons of questions that should have been answered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awsome book...i would recommend it but i felt kind of sad at the end like what happaneds know...what happaneds to the school and the chracters parents...i feel there could have been a litlle more writing tords the end or at least a second book cause i really enjoyed it. I liked the fact that it was a thriller but there was still comedy and romance.
Paige_Morgann More than 1 year ago
I think after was a really great book. it was deff a page turner. I kept reading the whole way through but i felt when it was finished i was just left hanging. i wish it ended a little better. but other than that great let down it was a amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
After was a very quick read, easily finished in a short amount of time but what I found was the chilling was the realism. Yes, the topic and the way it's written would appeal to teens, ages 15-18, but parents should be encouraged to read it first to screen it. (I tend to do this for my children, just because I'm, well, the mom). I couldn't put the book down, and read it during a medical procedure so it is very easy to follow. I could see how it would come about after the Columbine tragedy, but it plants a seed in the reader's mind, like could we really be so controlled by mail, email, news, etc.?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
im not the reading type.. but i just couldnt stop readin .. in colombia i could imagen my self in that situation. i enjoyed every min of it even though i think the ending could of been different
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
According to the summary, this book did not really seem too interesting. I somehow started it, and realized it was very, very unique. The story is so plausible and it makes you have to read more of it.
A_FELLA_SO_HEARTLESS More than 1 year ago
Even though I'm just a boy living in the ghetto of Chicago and i never read, this book got me into reading. It's THAT GOOD. I just loved the emotion from the characters from the fear of the students at Central High to the love between Becca and Tom. So many high schoolers can somehow relate to this story. its easy to compare to because it somehow teaches how there are changes and how far it gets taken. And how major changes can make students react in different ways. Also, how easy something can be taken away from you. You learn to aprreciate what you got before its gone. It's just great and perfect. Because you never know whats going to happen After.