Review: Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

Reading Me Before You is like driving on a road heading off a cliff. You know the end is near, you know it’s not going to end well. It can’t. You see it coming, yet you can’t stop the car, you can‘t stop the roller coaster of emotions from hitting you, you can’t stop anything, you have to turn the pages and try to slam on the breaks even if you know it’s too late. In case you didn’t notice, or lived in a cave the past few months, Me Before You is a very emotional read, but the ride is worth it.

SLOWLY-BUILT RELATIONSHIPS

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β€œ You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

As the title, and the synopsis might suggest it, you’re in for a romance that will sweep you off your feet. If you ask me, this is not it. There’s a bit of romance, sure, but there’s also a lot of friendships and a huge presence of the family, both on Louisa and Will’s side, and for different reasons, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes difficult, sometimes to have a good laugh. It seems like the love story of a lifetime, and, even if it kind of is, don’t expect insta-love of any kind while starting this story, you won’t get it. Every relationship in this story, from Louisa starting her work with Will to Louisa’s struggles with her boyfriend and her own family issues, is built and explored slowly and not without complication, as it should be, and as it is in real life. I absolutely loved this part of the story, a.k.a the whole book. If it might seem boring, or long to get to the point for the most impatient readers, I appreciated the time allowed for Louisa and Will to grow and nurture their relationship, from strangers to acquaintances to friends to even more. We could see every feeling grow, every frustration and complication from Will’s situation, it felt very realistic, and that’s what I enjoyed the most about this story.

THREE-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS

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β€œ All I can say is that you make me… you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”

Whenever we’re faced with a story with one character having any kind of sickness or handicap, especially if it’s labeled as a romance, it’s so easy to get scared that, in the matter of a few pages, the world will get brighter and love will cure everything. It’s also scary to think that the characters simply will be defined by their sickness. If I had some kind of apprehension regarding these particular issues, I’m thrilled to say that it didn’t happen. Despite being quadriplegic, Will was definitely not defined by his sickness and not reduced to it in the story. He had his own dreams, even if they seemed past to him, he has his own feelings, wants, and despite the mentions of his chair, medication and special care, he wasn’t just the quadriplegic of the story. He was three-dimensional, and I loved the author for it. Louisa was also very well-shaped, and I definitely could see her evolve in the matter of a few chapters, changing alongside Will, caring more and more for him (and not only because it’s her job). We could see, even if she didn’t give much thinking about it before, how she loves fashion, how she cares about her boyfriend, and how feelings change with time, people grow and grow apart and move on. Every character has its own struggles jumping on the page, making you think about your own struggles, and most importantly, life.

THINK ABOUT LIFE.

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β€œYou can only actually help someone who wants to be helped.”

From reading a lot of reviews of this book, seeing the movie trailer (but not the movie yet), and just hearing people talking about it, I guess we all can have our own interpretation of this story. After all, anyone reading any book can interpret it the way he wants, and see some messages, etc. This book deals with a lot of difficult themes, with disabled person and somehow, according to multiple reviewers, suggests that life’s not worth living if you’re disabled or have some kind of handicap like being quadriplegic for instance. I’m not sure about this, thus I’m not going to express my opinion about this point. I just really want to talk about how this book makes you think about life. Obviously. About what you want out of life, and about living it to the fullest, with the main character Louisa struggling right until the end to figure out what she wants. That book hurt, a lot. It brought me to tears, but it also made me think, just like Louisa, about life. About the ones you should keep, and the ones you realize you’re growing apart from. About growing up, because even past 25, Louisa grew up during this story, and she still will, growing up is constant, not just in your age, in numbers, but in your mind just as well.

OVERALL

Me Before You is a beautiful story. It’s sad, and if you’re a bit like me (think: too emotional), think about having some tissues at hand while reading it. But it’s also full of life. It’s hopeful, it’s emotional, it will make you laugh then make you cry. It will make you care for these characters, and it will make you wish for happy endings. Maybe it could have been perfect if I didn’t know anything about the story before. Emotions would have been bigger, and more devastating, kind of like a hurricane.

Final rating:Β  4 drops!

Did you read Me Before You? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?Β  Share your thoughts in comments!


 

Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, Β Published by Pamela Dornan Books/Viking, January 5th 2012.

Β goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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.

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

61 thoughts on “Review: Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

  1. Great review! I think this book is great! I found that as it got to the end I was on the edge of my seat, thinking i knew what was going to happen but at the same time wondering if it actually was! Was still in shock after the book finished tbh, it certainly kept me interested throughout, a brilliant read. πŸ™‚

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  2. I loooove love love this book so much!!! ❀ It's so emotional and I was sobbing madly for the second half of the book, it's too heartbreaking! But I thoroughly enjoyed the emphasis it put on life itself, other than only focusing on the romance. I thought it would be all sad but it had its own joyous moments. I loved the fact that nothing was rushed in it, but I kinda felt like Lou and Patrick's relationship was dragging on for too long. Though I could understand, given the fact that they have been together for 8yrs (?) haha but overall, this is one of my favorite contemporary of ever! πŸ˜€

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    1. I felt the same way. I thought it would be maily focused on romance, and I am glad that it wasn’t. It was about family, and about life overall, and I really enjoyed that. I understand your feeling, and I was eagerly waiting as well for Patrick and Lou to break up already, haha. But yes, I guess given the length of their relationship, it couldn’t be done in just a few pages πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for stopping by! ❀

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  3. Fantastic review, Marie! I really enjoyed this book a lot and it did make me sad, but not in a crying way. I don’t know why. Maybe I found it tragic, but realistic and understandable, so it appealed to the rational side of my brain.
    I had a bunch of issues with Lou’s family … although some of them got better toward the end (while others got worse). Are you going to watch the movie?

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    1. Aww thank you Kat! ❀ I understand, well since I'm crying a lot while reading books or watching movies, I couldn't help but… well, I actually didn't cry a lot (I was on the train at the time, and I did shed a tear or two, but if I started to openly cry out I think my neighbor would have panicked or something hahaha). I'm definitely going to watch the movie soon! Did you see / enjoy it? πŸ™‚

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      1. Oh yeah, I can’t really go full on crying in public either. Once something happened and I couldn’t hold it back on the tram, tears were just pouring out. But it was quiet crying, not the sobbing kind, so no one said anything. Don’t know how exactly that would have gone down.
        Yep, I watched the movie. I really love the guy who plays Nathan! Other than that, it was a good movie, but they left out a lot of stuff. Some of it was really important to me, so I was a little disappointed. But it still wasn’t bad.

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      2. Thank you ❀ I am all good now. This was a couple years back. It was a bad day. My grandpa died and my dad is not the most sensible person to be the bearer of such news and I had to go to school because I had a test and a presentation. I was functioning really well for the most part and then not at all. It was a difficult day.

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  4. Great review! I also enjoyed the slow boil of Louisa & Will’s friendship/relationship of sorts, This to me, definitely did not read as a romance novel rather like you said a story about friendships & family. Louisa is now one of my all time favorite characters for all her quirks & positivity. The story did leave me clutching a tissue in the end & I still haven’t watched the movie…not ready for the feels lol.

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad this book focused on friendships and family, it was so good and really made me grow fonder of this story, and its characters. Lou was such a great main character, I love her so much! I need to watch the movie soon, but I don’t know if I will ever be ready for the feels, haha. We just need to make sure we have tissues close-by, I guess πŸ˜›

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  5. My feelings about this book change constantly. I wrote a novel where the MC is disabled and so I’m following a lot of disabled people online and reading their articles and stories. And there is a lot of negative feelings about this book. Such that I often feel guilty for having enjoyed it. I can absolutely see their point of view and how this story adds to the single narrative and suggests that disabled lives are of less value or only valued as inspiration porn for abled people. Although personally I thought the author did a good job of also showing positive disabled role models. But I will always see the book from an abled POV and therefore can’t understand what reading it would be like for someone with a disability. I can only try to. Different readers will interact with it differently and I think that’s fine, as long as we’re listening to what everyone has to say and not silencing people or ignoring their grievances. πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh I completely get it, and I understand all of the negative feelings towards this story. Just like you, I can only imagine how it feels to read this kind of story from a disabled point of view,and how it might suggest that life’s not that all worth living, I guess. You’re so right. I feel a bit guilty as well at times for having enjoyed this story, but I do try to focus on the positive points of this, and not the bad ones. Like you said, it is very important to listen to everyone’s point of view on the story, and to try and understand and respect them πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

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  6. Great review Marie! ❀ I have Me Before You on my to-read list and have had ever since before the movie came out, I really need to get around to it soon but I don't think I'm ready for a really emotional read at the moment, and like you said you know going into this book it's going to tear your heart out by the end! πŸ™‚
    I'm already half in love with the characters just from reading your review. It's great that Will wasn't defined by his illness, like you said it can be a worry with books like this, and it's nice that the relationships are slow to build into something more as well, makes them seem more real and moving in that way. πŸ™‚

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  7. Great review, Marie! I found myself agreeing with many of your points.

    To answer your questions: I did read it sometime ago, and I found it great to start with, but my enthusiasm for it dwindled towards the end. I am the biggest crier ever, but this book failed to connect to me emotionally. I don’t know why.
    I ended up not writing a review for this because I could not, for the life of me, put any coherent words together for this book. I felt very conflicted, because a lot of people who are disabled did not like this book and thought it was a terrible portrayal of disability (and I see their point), but I also see the book’s merits. Sooo ’til this day, I am still a little conflicted. πŸ˜₯

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ❀ Oh, I can understand that, sometimes you expect to cry or feel something while reading a book, and somehow it fails to do just that. Yes, that's why I kind of focused on what the book made me feel, rather than trying and explore how it might be a bad portrayal. I'm seeing this book through my abled eyes, and it's kind of hard to put myself in their shoes, though I completely understand where their negative reviews come from :/

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  8. I picked up this book before it got big and before I knew what it was about, so I wasn’t spoiled, and I honestly think that was the best time to have picked it up! I can understand that knowing more about the story means that you’re not as affected emotionally. I’m glad you still enjoyed it, though! Have you seen the movie yet? πŸ˜€

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  9. I read this recently and omg I cried SO MUCH. I actually loved the way it dealt with disability. I felt like it was really honest with what Will did in the end, and it didn’t mean that life wasn’t worth living. And I actually shipped them so so hard! Are you going to read After You? I don’t know whether I want to yet or not. this was actually such a nice review and this one person made fun of me for reading this ‘romance’ book but it was actually so good. I loved Louisa and her family and how it wasn’t just about the romance and ❀ ❀ ❀

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    1. That book was SO SAD, I had to hold my tears because I was in the train but…. I wanted to cry a lot ahah. I agree with you, I felt like, the ending felt right with the characters and the story. I don’t know if I will, I felt like, despite the very sad ending, I don’t know if I want to keep up with the next book. I like to think about Lou’s life without actually knowing it, if that makes sense? I guess I’ll wait and see if I am too curious, or not πŸ™‚ Thank you so, so much! You’re so right, it’s not just about the romance, it’s about life as a whole ❀

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  10. I JUST finished reading MBY maybe a week ago and I completely agree with everything you’ve said! It was definitely a kind of slow “romance” that I wasn’t quite used to, but that aspect did add so much to the novel as a whole. Wonderful review, Marie!! πŸ™‚

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

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  11. Totally agree with you!! Especially about how it would’ve been perfect if is not known anything about it (it’s a bit of a victim of it’s own success in that regard) I do get why people had problems with it- my sister hated it for some of the reasons you listed- but I felt like the book want paying judgement in these things, it was just showing what life is like and so I didn’t have a perform with it. Excellent review!!

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  12. AHHH YOU READ IT! Those beginning sentences of your review are EXACTLY what this book is! It was such a roller coaster for me and I’m so glad you think the same way and enjoyed it! Are you thinking about seeing the movie? I love this review so much! And I’ll be here with an extra packet of tissues if you need me! ❀

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