Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Will Traynor has everything going for him–he’s rich, good looking, powerful, adventurous, cultured, vibrant, and successful.

Until one day, a tragic accident takes all of that away leaving him with nothing but memories of  a previous life. Will is now a quadriplegic who must rely on others to fulfill his basic needs.

Naturally he is depressed and hates that his once fulfilling, active life is now nothing but a series of doctor appointments and catheter changes. He simply wants to die.

After the accident, Will moved from his posh London residence to his parents house near Stortfold Castle in the English country side. He is miserable.

Louisa “Lou” Clark has known nothing but the small town surrounding Stortfold Castle her whole life. Her life is simple and uncomplicated until she loses her job. Some wouldn’t think of waitressing as a fun job, but Lou likes it. She gets to meets lots of different people and basically live vicariously through them.

But then the cafe owner decides to close up shop, Lou finds herself jobless and as the primary wage earner in her family….being jobless makes her desperate. She is willing to take just about any job that comes her way.

When the employment agency asks her if she would be willing to be a care provider for a quadriplegic, she is less than thrilled but with the higher wage it’s a job she can’t refuse…..plus the advertisement says it’s only for six months.

Will and his family realize that Lou is quite different from the average girl. She is vibrant, cheerful, quirky, and full of color….literally–Lou loves dressing in bright, unique ensembles from the second hand store.

The Traynor family hopes that Lou will be more of a companion for Will, someone who will help him find himself again and find his will to live…..perhaps not fall in love with him, but simply to help him adjust to his ‘new’ life.

As Will and Lou get to know each other, Lou discovers a dark secret that will change all of their lives forever.

I am having a hard time classifying this book, I’ve seen it listed in a couple of categories but I can’t say that I would agree with some of the classifications….I don’t know that I would call it  a romance novel….there are surly romantic themes and relationships but that is not what this story is about. I wouldn’t call it chick lit either….chick lit implies that this is a story told in an airy tone….almost whimsical if you will, and it is anything but that. I would have to say I would put it under the general category of contempo lit.

This novel was truly heart wrenching….not a light read by any means. I say that not to discourage anyone from reading it but I think the reader should be aware this is not a light easy read. This book really made me think about what it would be like to have your life alter drastically. I found myself wondering what I would do if I were in Will’s position…or if he were my boyfriend what would I do? How would I cope?

The book addressed a lot of questions that one might have about being a para or quadriplegic and ones I never thought about before, for instance…..I had no idea that a wheelchair could be fitted with different tires for various terrains….it makes sense but I just never had reason to think about that before.

I really felt Lou’s anxiety over taking Will out places….after their first outing, I too started actively thinking of various obstacles they might encounter on their next trip….when I am actively engaged like that, that is how I know it’s a well written book.

One of the things I loved best about the novel was that it was also a beautiful fairytale of sorts. I loved having the story set in the shadows of the Castle, for me that added a lot of charm and romance to the tale. Then we had Lou, the poor ‘commoner’ and Will the rich ‘prince’.

Will’s character was so well written that after a while I started to forget that he was handicap. He was charming, witty, charismatic, and tender. The relationship dynamics between Lou and Will were powerful, I loved how they evolved as a couple….employer/employee to friends, to love. A very moving, heartfelt love.

I thought the ending was appropriate…..I struggled with it a bit when I finished the book, but I have to admit, Will convinced me in the end.

There was one small thing that bothered me about the book and that was the cover. This cover doesn’t capture the magnitude of this story at all. To me it says girlish and childish.  I think it attracts the wrong kind of reader, without knowing anything about the story or reading the summary, I would instantly think chick lit and would probably pass on it if I saw it in the bookstore. I think there must be a better way to market the book. This is such a beautiful story and I don’t think the cover conveys that to the audience.

This is one of those books you simply must read. It is though provoking, enlightening, powerful, moving, insightful….there are not enough adjectives for me to describe how wonderfully written this novel is. Not many books make me cry but this one is a tearjerker but yet it didn’t leave me feeling sad, I felt oddly at peace.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  • ebook
  • Published January 2nd 2012 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2011)
  • ISBN 0141969180 (ISBN13: 9780141969183)
  • Copy provided by: Publisher (Penguin Books) via NetGalley

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 5 out of 5 (a deeply moving story about life and the human spirit)

Genre: Contempo lit, Gen Lit, Chick Lit, Romance

Memorable lines/quotes:

The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life–or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window–is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.

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11 Comments

  1. techeditor

     /  August 16, 2014

    I finally read ME BEFORE YOU. I hate romance books, but this is special.

    As a handicapped person, I can tell you that Jojo Moyes does successfully relate the frustrations felt by a man trapped in a handicapped body. So, this story ends up being more than a romance. I didn’t want to put it down.

    Only one criticism: Will, the quadriplegic man, is pretty much left to rot for 2 years before Lou comes on the scene. His parents could have come up with things like different wheelchairs and voice recognition software, yet nothing happens until Lou.

    That is not realistic. But it does serve the story well.

    Thank you to http://www.thelitbitch.com, where I won this book along with THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER by the same author.

    Reply
  2. techeditor

     /  August 16, 2014

    You”re right about the cover. It IS inappropriate.

    Reply
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