It all started on the day of my nineteenth birthday. Being my nerdish self, I had more than a couple of books on my wish list. My mother, bless her soul, decided to support my ever-growing addiction to books and bought me a couple of novels as a gift. I, in all my maturity, thanked her profusely and ran upstairs to my room where I proceeded to pick out a book, lock my door, and cease to exist for the next 4 to 6 hours.
The story that unfolded next is permanently etched in my mind.
“Hey Clark’, he said. ‘Tell me something good’. I stared out of the window at the bright-blue Swiss sky and I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”
What You Need to Know
Me Before You is soon to become a movie, read more about it here and click on the links to see which actors will play the lead roles!
Age Group: 18+ Due to controversial topics
Length: 369 pages (Hardcover copy)
What’s All The Talk About?
Louisa Clark is a small town girl living her life day to day without an ounce of ambition or willingness to explore the unexplored. She has never expected much out of life and it seems life has never expected much out of her. Lou figures she’ll marry her fitness-obsessed boyfriend, Patrick, and pop out a kid or two while maintaining her loving if not exasperating family.
Lou has a terrible time finding a job that she can really handle when she comes across a caretaking job for a wealthy man in his thirties. No bathing, changing diapers, or cleaning up puke, how hard can it be right?
Will Traynor, aka ex-Master of the Universe, has been rendered quadriplegic ever since a motorcycle ran him over one cold rainy morning two years ago. The glamor, adventure, hordes of gorgeous women, and enthusiasm that were once present in his life are no more. Bitter and depressed over his physical incapability, he has shut everyone out of his life and has no desire to please or make friends with anyone, least of all his mousy caretaker, Lou.
When Lou and Will first meet, there are no fireworks or seeds of lustful thoughts that take root, only a strong sense of dislike for one another. In fact, Will tries to run Lou off by making her life near to impossible. Not only was this insanely hilarious to see, but Will’s sarcasm is what made him loveable and unforgettable. *sigh*
“It’s not the bloody carrots that upset me. It’s having them sneaked into my food by a madwoman who addresses the cutlery as Mr. and Mrs. Fork.’
‘It was a joke. Look, let me take the carrots and—‘ He turned away from me. ‘I don’t want anything else. Just do me a cup of tea.’ He called after me as I left the room, ‘And don’t try and sneak a bloody zucchini into it.”
Despite Will’s efforts to run Lou off, they form an unlikely friendship that begins to mend wounds, not only for Will but for Lou as well. Lou’s less than extraordinary life soon begins to take a turn. No longer is she content to be with a boyfriend that cares little for her or to put her dreams away to please her family (you go, girl woo!). Will opens her eyes to the world and makes her see that while his life is ruled by his physical disability, Lou’s has been defined by her emotional disability.
Just as Lou is beginning to attain the courage she needs to live, she learns that Will has plans for himself, plans that not only would destroy her but would defy everything he has taught her. Will plans to kill himself in six months, and Lou is determined to make him see that life is still worth living.
What Do I Think?
Despite my love for Will Traynor, and although this novel is generally categorized as a romance, it really isn’t. While there are parts that are swoon-worthy and romantic, romance is only a small part of the novel. This novel is about friendship and acceptance, it is about learning to deal with the harsh realities of life and loving a person enough to let them go. Most of all, this is a story of healing and finding the courage to live your life the way you want it. Really, it just made be a blubbering mess, and if you’re anything like me, it will have you constantly reaching for a new kleenex. *sniff*
Jojo Moyes has managed to enthrall her readers into genuinely caring for the main characters and deals with a controversial subject (euthanasia) with enough respect and thoughtfulness that makes you question your own take on the issue. Not only did I find myself resonating with Lou, but this novel had me thinking about the characters long after I reached the last page.
When I first reached the ending of this novel, I was happy, upset, nostalgic, and joyful. I felt all the feels and may or may not have looked a bit like this.
Unfortunately, Will goes through with his plan to die and does so in the arms of Lou and his parents. Needless to say, I struggled with the ending and as I stared off into nothingness, I realized how much I appreciated the depth and realness of the characters. Life is not composed of happy endings people, authors do not owe us one, and great books do not need to have one.
With that being said, I loved this book, it is extremely rare for me to find a book that causes such turmoil in my soul, and an abundance of warmth in my heart all at once. I laughed, I loved, and yes, I grieved. (cue in the violin music)
I am now almost 21 years old, and as you can see, it is a novel that I still think about, one I knew had to be my first book review, and one that I will continue to recommend. Hopefully, you’ll feel compelled to pick up this jewel, happy reading!
P.S. This book is a part of Oprah’s Book Club. Read it!
P.P.S. Check out this other great review I found!