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.
“ 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.
“ 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.
“You 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.
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: 4 drops!
Did you read Me Before You? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it? Share your thoughts in comments!
Jojo Moyes, Me Before You, Published by Pamela Dornan Books/Viking, January 5th 2012.
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.