Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Year Published: 2012
Source: I purchased this book.
Jojo Moyes’ novel Me Before You has been labeled a romance novel or chick-lit.
However, the book tackles some very serious issues: What if your life is irreparably changed in an instant? What if you suddenly have no control over any aspect of your life?
Louisa Clark gets a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic, Will Traynor. Will was a man who lived big – he was a financial wheeler-dealer, he climbed mountains, jumped out of planes, and loved traveling the world. All that changed when he was hit by a speeding motorcycle and his life was changed forever.
At first Will and Louisa don’t like each other. Will is understandably bitter – the former daredevil now only has very limited use of one arm. He needs care 24/7 and is completely dependent upon others.
Will was a corporate type and Louisa is more of a free spirit, at least in the way outrageous ways she wears clothes, but is far more careful in her personal life where she prefers things to be simple and safe, due to a traumatizing personal incident that happened years earlier.
But as they get to know each other, Will and Louisa learn to understand each other more than they thought they would. Will is intrigued by her kooky dress sense and her warm spirit. Louisa gets to know the charming, playful side of Will that he rarely displays to anyone anymore. They grow to care for each other and depend on each other. But is it enough?
What I Liked: Even though the subject matter is so sad, I thought that the book was well written and was completely immersed in it right from the start. I was curious to see how the book ended. I liked Louisa very much – she’s spunky and fun, but she does need to expand her horizons.
What I Didn’t Like: At first I didn’t like Will very much. He is very, very bitter, which is completely understandable in his case. He has made a certain decision that will not be changed by anyone else. He also never really tells her how he really feels until the very end.
His mother is rather cold, but that may just be her way of handling trauma. We all have different ways of handling stress and tragedy in our lives, and that just may be her way.
Also, as some feminists have pointed out, why does Louisa need a male figure to expand her horizons for her? Can’t she do it herself?
However, because of the dark incident in Louisa’s past, she needs to learn to get past that fear and learn to live again – to live big. Will helps her to do just that.
Conclusion: I believe that this book is worth reading. It does raise serious issues that need to be discussed, which is why I believe this book is a favorite of book clubs.