Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Format: Paperback, 369 pages
Published: July 30th 2013 by Penguin Books
GOODREADS | AMAZON
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Me Before You is a story about hope, love, and the harsh realities of the world. I only picked up this book after seeing the trailer for the movie on Facebook– I am so glad I did. This book was a dream to read. The writing is beautiful, the characters are full of life, and the story is tremendously moving. I don’t think I can say enough good things about it.
The story begins in the point of view of William Traynor, a healthy and successful business man. He is happy in his relationship and with his life. On one rainy day, he is involved in a car accident, leaving him quadriplegic, with no chance of recovery. Two years later, he is living a rather bleak life, completely opposite to his previous one. In comes Louisa Clark, a young woman who is hired by the Traynor family as Will’s caregiver.
Louisa has no experience with care-giving, having worked the same job at a cafe for so long. But because her family is going through some tough financial times, Lou is willing to take on anything.
When the two (Lou and Will) meet, they clash. They have completely different personalities and completely different opinions about (almost) everything! Despite this, they find a comfortable middle ground after spending more and more time together. As the story progresses, they begin to develop feelings for each other, the start of a star-crossed love story.
The main character, Louisa, is a bit of a free spirit. She has a very eccentric dress sense, and a very lively personality to match. After a traumatizing event that happened to her, she sort of lives day-to-day going through the motions. She has no ambitions to strive for or goals she would like to complete. Towards the end of the novel, she experiences through Will, what it is like to look forward towards a future, and I quite liked following her character development.
Lou’s family consists of her sister Katrina, her parents, and her grandfather. Katrina is her younger sister, but she is more academically inclined, so she is seen as the more successful one by their parents. The Clarks are kindhearted and caring people, but they seemed kind of disconnected with Louisa; she is the odd one out.
Then we have Patrick, who is Lou’s boyfriend of many years. Quite honestly, he is a bit of a jerk. He only tends to Lou’s qualms when it benefits him. This could also be seen as a fault in their relationship though, which is not solely his doing.
And finally we have Will and his family. Will is arrogant and set in his ways, but he is a very profound character. His life, along with his perspective of looking at life, took a 180 after he was injured. I enjoyed the little developments in his character and how he opened up with each of Louisa’s advances. Despite his rude exterior, he is actually very genuine and loves very wholesomely, which I think justifies his choice in the end.
Each of his family members are very independent and self-involved. They care about Will, but are kind of aloof. They added a certain depth to Will’s backstory, which was nice.
There are a wide range of characters, and I enjoyed the dynamic very much.
WRITING STYLE ★★★★★
The story was well-paced and a fast read. The writing was beautiful. It was just so easy to read. The only thing I’m not totally fond of is that there are multiple POVs. It’s really just a personal thing, though. However, from the varying views of Nathan, Katrina, and Will’s parents, we are given more insight on the situation, which does help the story along.
- Lou’s mum’s overreaction at the end was a bit ridiculous– it wasn’t really to further the story in anyway (not that I could see), but just to add drama.
- I know that there is a sequel (After You), and I will definitely give it a chance, but I don’t really have high hopes for it.
- I definitely sobbed.