Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 7/30/2013
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life — steady boyfriend, close family — who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
I have no idea how I came across this book to read, but I’m glad I did. It changed my whole way of thinking about the world, relationships, and most of all, first impressions.
Louisa is a bohemian-friendly young woman who is humble, heartful and creative. An optimist. Stuck in a situation where she needs cash, she accepts a gig from an wealthy older woman to care for her adult son, Will. Louisa thinks she has what it takes – all she has to do is keep him company. But she learns quickly, this isn’t a simple task. Before a tragic car accident that left Will paralyzed from the neck down, he led a five-star life of adventure and indulgence. He was a jetsetting businessman with a gorgeous woman on his arm at all times, every desire only inches away from his fingertips.
But since the accident, nothing can compare to his former life. He gives no value to his existence whatsoever. He’d much rather live a life in solitude than be bothered with the string of perky caretakers that his mother hires to pique his interest. He hates them (or rather, their purpose) so much that he scares them away with bitterness and disrespect. But he meets his match with Louisa. Remember I said she needs money? She is not giving up so easy.
What eventually develops is a complex friendship between Lou and Will that erases all physical barriers. Will has given up on himself, but Louisa refuses, and uses every ounce of her energy to change his mind. She shows him unconditional love from the inside out, a wealth he never experienced even a sliver of in his former glory days. But Will is strong-willed and even though he softens up and comes to appreciate her gifts, he can’t let go of who he used to be or find purpose in his new limited-mobile world.
Me Before You is a powerful read because it goes beyond a typical love story. There is nothing cheesy or predictable, it doesn’t follow any of the usual formulas. And that is so refreshing. Lou and Will’s relationship is a slow build, all the little details pile up into meaningful moments that will take your breath away.
All I can say, if you want a page-turner that will ignite all your emotions, this is it! You’ll take a deep breath or two or three. This book will bring you joy, make you giggle out loud, and at other times you’ll feel so angry, you’ll want to chuck it against the wall. The ending is absolutely unbelievable, it took a few days to settle in. It haunted my mind and even made me tear up on an airplane flight as I reread the last couple of chapters just to make sure I didn’t misinterpret anything, lol.
This book made a loyal Jojo Moyes fan. And I’m not alone – Me Before You is set to become a movie!
NOTE: This is an excellent choice for a book club because there will be a lot of discussion and viewpoints on the decisions of the characters. LIke I said, it’s a very emotional novel!
Book trailer link