Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes 
Series: Me Before You #1 
Genre: Contemporary, Adult Fiction 
Publication date: December 31, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★ 

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. 

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.
Push yourself. Don't Settle. Just live well. Just live.
This book has had such a big hype surrounding it for such a long time, yet somehow it took me until now to finally pick it up. I strongly wish I’d done it sooner. Somehow I was under the impression that this was just another love story. I could not have been more wrong. It is so much more.

I finally picked up the book because I was on a bit of deadline. I’ve made plans with a couple of friends to go see the movie of Me Before You when it comes out and I can’t do that with having read the book first. Well, technically I suppose I could, but you get the point. The film looks so very promising, my love for Emilia Clarke is undying which in hindsight is not surprising, because this book deserves all the love it can get.

Do you know how hard it is to say nothing? When every atom of you strains to do the opposite? I had practiced not saying anything the whole way from the airport, and it was still nearly killing me.

When Lou Clark loses her job at the Buttered Bun tea shop, her world sort of collapses. Not only does she love her job and does she need the money, she is also the kind of girl who wants to know what’s coming. She likes the small environment of her life and has no ambitions to step outside of it. Lou is perfectly content with the way things are. She has a steady relationship, a caring family and a job she loves. There’s nothing she could possibly want more. The only slightly remarkable thing about her is her clothing. She likes to dress a bit eccentric and different. Colorful, bright and comfy.

Will Traynor is her opposite in every possible way. There’s nothing he likes more than stepping out of his comfort zone. He wants to see the world and feel alive. No adventure is too daring, no risk too big. As a hard-working, successful lawyer he has the ability to live life to its fullest. Until one day that same life throws an entirely different challenge at him. Everything he loved is brutally taken away from him when a motorcycle accident turns him into a quadriplegic. Having lost not only the control over his body, but also every sense of purpose, Will becomes a bitter, angry, sarcastic and lifeless shell of his former self. And really, who can blame him?

The only new job uneducated Lou can find is as one of Will’s caretakers. She is to keep him company and assist him in his daily life. Simple things, like turning on the tv and feeding him. At first they don’t get along at all. Will is really mean to her and from the very first moment Lou feels like the unwanted babysit you just can’t get rid of. But somehow her charming personality finds the little cracks in Will’s body armor and slowly so very slowly they cautiously start to bond. Lou is intent on showing Will that there is more to life than his condition, that it can still be beautiful. She wants to help him find back his will to live, but that’s a harder challenge than she anticipated.
“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. And I told him of the adventures they had, the places they had gone, and the things I had seen that I had never expected to. I conjured for him electric skies and iridescent seas and evenings full of laughter and silly jokes. I drew a world for him, a world far from a Swiss industrial estate, a world in which he was still somehow the person he had wanted to be. I drew the world he had created for me, full of wonder and possibility.”
Yes, Me Before You is a love story. But there is so much more to it. It covers so many relatable and important themes. This is just as much about the power of friendship and family. Of learning to dream, expanding your horizons and fighting for something. Lou brings the light back into Will’s life and he helps her find her future. He shows her how much potential she has and what she could do if only she was willing to try. It’s a story of win and loss. Of hope and despair. Of bittersweet truths and challenging demons from the past. Me Before You is a story about LIFE.

Some mistakes... Just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.

Which means it was an emotional rollercoaster. One moment I was laughing, the next I was crying inconsolably. Ugly puffy cheeks true waterfalls crying. It felt like a knife thrust in my heart and I still feel so much grief when I think about it. There is an important underlying topic and discussion here, one I could see both sides of. I understood, but that didn’t make it less painful.

I will never, ever regret the things I've done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.

If you haven’t read it, please do. I feel like this is the kind of book everyone would benefit from, because it is such a great example of what life has to offer – but also of what life can take away from you in a heartbeat and why you should live every day as if it is your last.

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1 comment:

  1. Heartbreak collides with humor in Me Before You. A big-hearted, beautifully written story that teaches us it is never too late to truly start living.

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