Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: January 2012
Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Adult fiction
When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed.
Will Traynor used to be Somebody with a capital S. He lived his life making big deals, traveling the world, and living on the edge by participating in extreme sports. He was loved by his girlfriend, his co-workers, and pretty much everybody he came in contact with. That all changes when he’s involved in a horrific accident, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. Will loses everything — his job, his girlfriend, his life, even his will to live. He now lives with his parents, wheelchair-bound and dependent on somebody for everything. But he won’t let them take away the one thing he’s able to decide for himself.
Louisa Clark is a nobody — she’s an ordinary girl with an ordinary job just trying to make ends meet. She’s happy right where she is, working the same cafe job for years, living with her parents in the only town she’s ever lived in, dating one man for seven years. But one day the cafe is forced to close, and Lou is out of a job. With her mom staying at home taking care of Lou’s elderly grandfather, her dad dangerously close to being laid off, and her sister deciding to go back to school, Lou can’t afford to be out of a job. She is forced to take a job caring for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic man who is rude, bossy, and extremely moody. But Lou doesn’t treat Will like damaged goods, and when she finds out what Will has planned in six months, she is determined to change his mind. What Lou doesn’t expect is how much Will’s life – his happiness – means to her.
So I finished this a couple days ago but haven’t been able to blog because I’ve been busy moving back home for the summer and getting back to work. It’s been crazy. But in between all that, I was able to finish this fabulous book that I’ve been hearing so much about lately. The novel is told in first-person from Louisa’s POV; however, there is one chapter from Will’s mother’s POV, one from Will’s father’s, and one from Nathan’s, Will’s nurse. It’s a pretty lengthy novel, but it’s a fast read. I was surprised at how quickly I blew through it; it usually takes me a while to trudge through romances. I thought the story was pretty unique, or at least unique to me — I certainly haven’t read a romance novel about a quadriplegic before. I really liked that it was set in England, too. I’ve never been to England, unfortunately, but I really enjoy learning about the culture. America is kind of lame, in my mind, because it’s all I’ve ever really known. I liked reading about British culture and the different slang the characters used and things like that. I especially enjoyed reading everyone’s dialogue in a British accent. The magic of reading… The novel is kind of predictable at times, but never boring. Definitely a tear-jerker.
Will Traynor is kind of an asshole at times, but can you blame the guy? He can hardly move at all. He lost everything. I’m pretty sure that would put anybody in a bad mood. I saw the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation before reading this novel, so obviously I pictured Will as Sam Claflin, whom I’m completely in love with. There’s just something about stunning British men that captivates me… I sympathized with Will throughout the whole novel, even when I didn’t agree with him, and especially when I did. I couldn’t imagine being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of my life like that. He’s one of those tragic fictional characters that I just want to hold. I also really liked Louisa and sympathized with her, too. I’ve read some negative comments and I know she gets a lot of shit for being this lazy, immature, self-centered woman who has no desire to better herself. I sympathize with Lou, I really do. She has to live with her parents and help them financially or else they’d be homeless. This means working crappy jobs just to support her family, this does not mean she’s lazy. Is she satisfied? Sure, because no one’s ever encouraged her to better herself. No one has ever told her that she can do better and she should do better. She has been stuck doing the same thing for years that she is blind to any other option. She’s doing what she can to help her family. She is comfortable, which is why she stays with the same man for over seven years. I can relate to Lou, and I fully sympathize with her. Critics of Lou just haven’t had to live the way she does.
I’d never read anything from Moyes before, but she’s a pretty decent writer as I have come to discover. Like I said, I was never bored and flew through this novel faster than I usually do with romances. Her plot was unique, her characters were interesting and witty (which is a must-have for me), and her writing flowed wonderfully. I have been hearing a lot about this novel since seeing the trailer, so it was really hyped up for me. I wasn’t let down, necessarily, but I expected it to be a lot sadder. Don’t get me wrong, it was a damn sad book, but it didn’t make me sob. I teared up once, and I let the tears fall twice, but it didn’t make me sob like I was hoping for. I haven’t had a good book sob since The Fault in Our Stars. This book kind of gets compared to TFIOS, but it’s a lot different. I enjoyed both novels, yes, but that doesn’t mean they are similar. I did draw a connection with the ending, though. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I have to say the last chapter gave me a big TFIOS feel, which definitely made me cry. Overall, though, really great novel. I look forward to seeing the film in a month and reading the sequel as soon as it comes in on the ODL.
Favorite Quote(s): “Do you know how hard it is to say nothing? When every atom of you strains to do the opposite?”