Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Genre: Adult fiction, Contemporary
I read this in preparation for the film adaptation that is coming out in June of this year with really no expectations but not in a negative way, I just went in as openly blind as could be and oh my goodness, I think my rating says it all. For someone who rarely dabbles into contemporary nowadays, I was thoroughly shocked at how much I enjoyed this novel. Moyes explores a sensitive topic in a non-generic and exciting way, which made Me Before You a phenomenal read.
The story follows Louisa, or Lou, a 26 year old woman in a small town who, due to unforeseen circumstances, loses her job as a waitress at the Buttered Bun, an independent cafe just below the town’s castle. With her limited experience, she struggles to find anyone who will employ her, let alone someone who will pay her enough to support her mum, dad, granddad, sister and nephew. When all hope seems lost, she eventually finds a job as a carer for Will Traynor, a 30-something quadriplegic whose condition demands 24-hour care. What neither of them know yet is that this job is going to change both of their lives oh so very much. The plot may sound typical but believe me, it is far from that.
Like I said, I loved this book. I loved seeing the relationship between Lou and Will blossom into one that started with resentment and frustration to compassion and intimacy. The overbearing differences in their characters made their unification all the more thrilling. Although she had her doubts in the beginning, Lou truly devoted her time and effort to Will which was absolutely lovely to watch as he finally opened up for the first time since the accident. Their connection was communicated in Moyes’ completely effortless, no-nonsense writing style.Honestly, I just loved them both so much by the end of the book.
The story is told mostly from the perspective of Lou but every now and again, a minor character chips in and I liked that shift of opinion because it really added to the fullness of the plot. For example, a chapter told by Nathan, Will’s medical professional, accentuated the growing relationship between both Will and Lou through the eyes of an outsider. Behind the main two characters, there are several other plot lines that intertwine and unravel which ensured no chapter was a dull chapter. The breaking down of families, troubles with romantic relationships and fears of what the future might bring are all things we can all connect with which is, perhaps, why the story really resonates with me regardless of never having anyone physically disabled in my immediate family.
Around a quarter of the way through the book, Lou finds out that there is a little more to what she thought her job entailed and upon hearing the news, I was severely saddened. It’s not often that I become so emotionally attached to characters and I didn’t expect to be able to draw parallels between them and me but the news that Lou accidentally discovered really hit home for me and added a whole new meaning to the story. I am aware that I’m not divulging much but I wouldn’t want to take anything away from the book by spoiling too much.
Overall, this book really moved me. As you can probably tell, I’ve found writing this review quite difficult; not knowing exactly how to express my appreciation for such an incredible book. The ending was, in my eyes, the right one despite it going against what I would have wanted. But that’s why it was good, because it was realistic. All I can say is I seriously recommend everyone reads Me Before You. It’s more than just a book about physical disability. It’s a book about determination and acceptance in the light of difficult situations. A genuinely exceptional story that I cannot wait to see translated onto the big screen! Speaking of, would anyone like a film review when it comes out in June? Anyway, I hope some of you read this or if you already have then please message me on Goodreads so we can have a good ‘ole discussion because there an awful lot of spoilery things I have to say!
– – – – – – – – POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Update – – – – – – – –
A book that’s becoming a movie this year ✓
Happy Reading Bookworms!