I have just finished reading “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes and if I say so myself it was not what I had expected. I first heard of the book far before the movie came out but I did not get around to purchasing and reading the book until after the fact. Even if I have not seen the movie, I was still very much aware of the storyline due to the major hype the movie received.
Firstly, I just want to say that this is my first book review that I am writing on the internet. I am by no means a professional critic for books; this is simply my opinion. That being said I was quite happy with the book even if it is not normally the genre I am used to. Prior to “Me Before You” I was reading the classic “Wuthering Heights” written by the lovely Emily Bronte. Therefore, you can tell that these two books are overall polar opposites. I am used to reading classic English literature – notably some of my favorites include the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen. Also, at the time that I decided to start this book a tragedy occurred in my family and I was looking for a something out of my comfort zone in terms of reading, just to distract myself. So now that you have the background story to which I began reading this book, I will stop babbling and start with the actual review.
Cut to the chase, I am giving it a solid 4/5 (as opposed to the 3/5 I had thought it received prior to reading it). I truly went into reading this book with the mindset that both the movie and the written work were too hyped. As per usual, I prefer reading the book over watching the movie so this mindset definitely played a role in giving it a higher score.
Basically, this book is about a 26-year-old woman who is stuck in a rut of a small English town with an equally mundane life (i.e. long-term boyfriend who puts more importance on his fitness rather than her, living with her family along with the struggles this brings on, and maintaining the only job she has ever occupied at the local coffee shop). In comes Will Traynor, a quadriplegic man at the age of 35 years who was the former CEO of a successful company and who now sees no point to his life. Without telling too much, Lou gets let go of her job and is forced to accept being a caregiver for Will in order to support her family. Without spoiling the ending for you (like I did myself), Lou tries her utmost to make Will see that his life is worth living even if he cannot live it to the fullest like he was before his accident.
Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the style and language that Ms. Moyes employed throughout the story. As a reader, I am quite peculiar. I am a slow reader due to the fact that I like to digest what I am reading. I love to fully immerse myself in the book’s era, atmosphere, character’s lives, etc… That being said, reading Jojo’s book was truly a pleasure because it catered to my reading style. Her ease with which she describes emotions and landscapes truly made me feel like I was living Lou Clark’s life. I felt as if her employment of imagery worked really well to complement the dramatic atmosphere that seemed to linger throughout the story. Due to the drama that was going on in the book, it was really important (for me at least) to understand what the characters were experiencing. This is something that Jojo really delivered at a constant rate throughout the book.
I had read a review from a quadriplegic saying something along the lines that it was not credible because despite her limitations she still sees the joy in living and would not imaging going through with what Will did. I see her point and I too thought the same at the start of the book (even if I am an able body or AB as Jojo Moyes called it many times). However, through reading this book I got an understanding of what this character was going through and his reasonings made sense for HIM. Even if this book is fictional, it touches upon a very serious topic – Euthanasia, which is something that I endeavour to learn more about. This is a very touchy topic and in terms of Jojo Moyes’ way of going about it, I agree that Will’s case is an isolated one and should not be universalized.
All in all I think Jojo Moyes really delivered with “Me Before You”. This reading experience has taught me to not rule out a book just because of the hype. Also, I feel more intrigued to read outside of my comfort zone of classic English books. Though these books will always be the golden standard for me, I will now be less judgemental when perusing the “Fiction” isles at my favorite bookstores.
(P.S. There is always a quote that sticks out for me in a book, and this one was no different. In Will’s letter to Lou he mentions the following : “…live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle…Just live well”. )
Here are two pictures I took myself – as you can see by the highlighting and bend to the cover, I enjoy to really dissect my books.
Hope you liked my first book review. Please leave a comment below for constructive feedback. Also, let me know if you have any book recommendations.
Header image is not mine; found on Google.