Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Literature and Fiction
Publishing Date: 2012
“Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.” (pg. 242)
Synopsis: Set in a quaint English town, Me Before You, tells the story of two unlikely companions—Louisa Clark and Will Traynor—who spend six months together and change each other’s lives forever.
Louisa Clark, born and raised in the small town where she still lives with her parents, never dreamed bigger than her minor existence. With no ambitions, no experiences, no passions, Louisa goes through the motions of life never questioning if there could be more.
Will Traynor once lived life to its fullest. A successful businessman from a wealthy family, Will traveled, explored, dared, adventured, and loved. But a motorcycle accident ended all that, leaving Will bound to a wheelchair with no use of his arms or legs.
Will is determined to end his life. And Louisa, hired as his daytime caretaker, is determined to change his mind.
Opinion: I pulled Me Before You off my Goodreads To-Read shelf because it had the highest average rating of the nearly 50 books waiting for me there. Although I adored it—and sped through it in a single, rainy weekend—I’m not sure it’ll actually best all those others still waiting on that shelf.
Me Before You is, at its core, a love story. It’s heartwarming, humorous, and screams to be made into film. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t some tears let loose along the way.
It’s also a book about assisted suicide. It forces you to think through tough questions about whether or not it’s okay to give up on life: Is it possible to have nothing to live for? Is it right to force those who don’t want to live to stay alive?
I love books that shift your perspective as you read. Although, I never quite gave in to Will’s argument for suicide, I was guided to better understand it, and ultimately, respect it—all while holding out hope that he would still change his mind.
The one complaint I have about this book is related to the perspective shifts. The vast majority of the story is told exclusively from Louisa’s point of view. But a few chapters in the middle switch to the perspective of other characters: her sister, Will’s mother, Will’s father, and even a second caretaker. To me, these shifts were confusing (I kept forgetting I wasn’t seeing the story from Louisa’s eyes) and didn’t actually offer any new insight. I could have done without them.
Overall: 4 out of 5
Who Should Read This Book: Those who enjoyed A Fault in Our Stars (which, of course, is anyone who read it). Anyone who enjoys quirky and ornery characters combined with witty dialogue. Those looking for a sweet, but not-too-sappy romance or an easy read on a rainy weekend. And anyone who enjoys reading books in English accents.