Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis From Goodreads:
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.
I have recently read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because there has been much hype on Booktube due to the movie release this upcoming June. This book tells the story of Lou, a 26-years old young woman who suddenly loses her job and is forced to become the carer for 35-year-old Will, a man who, because of an accident, has become quadriplegic, and how their friendship develops. Almost everyone I have talked to has loved this book. I gave it 4 stars, even though it was more of a 3.75/5 stars for me, and I will explain my reasons for it in the spoiler-alert section.
- Plot: as mentioned above, the plot is pretty straightforward. I already knew how the novel was going to end, and if I may say so, I liked how it ended. Some people did not, but I thought it was necessary. I found this novel quite slow in the beginning, and to me it did not pick up until page 178, which is pretty far in. Other than the slowness, which I think was sometimes misused, I really enjoyed how the plot flowed, and how it was easy to read. I really appreciate when a book flows well, and this one did, even though sometimes – and I say only sometimes – I felt like some scenes were unnecessary and I would have liked the focus to be on the main issue the most.
- Characters: If there is one thing I absolutely and unconditionally admired of this book was the construction of the characters. They felt so down to earth, and real. All of them had flaws, all of them had amazing characteristics, and I feel like the author did not only develop well the main characters, but also all the support characters, especially Lou’s family. I loved it.
- Writing: Jojo Moyes writes really well, and that is undeniable. As I mentioned above, the story flowed, and it was not over-wordy. I really liked the dialogues, and how witty some of the characters were, as well as how much of the characters showed through the words they spoke. Having the skill of knowing how to do that properly is amazing.
These are my general thoughts on the novel as a whole, but there is much else that needs to be said. In the next section, I will discuss the rest of my ideas about why I did not give this book a 5/5 stars. Be aware: spoilers are to come, so if you have not read the novel yet, I suggest to leave this page and pick up this book and read it. If you have read it, read on and let me know about your ideas on the matter.
**SPOILER-ALERT** SECTION – Do not read further if you do not want to be spoiled!
Alright, here we go. Let’s start from the premise that this book dealt with an extremely serious matter, and one that needs some kind of medical/scientific knowledge that I do not possess, and so what I will say in this section are my own opinions and ideas.
My mother has always worked in the Bioethics field at the hospital, thus I have always discussed with her the medical conditions that might lead someone to decide to commit suicide. In this novel, Will decides to end his life, and I do support his decision. What I thought could have been done better, was to quit spending so much time describing other stuff and actually get into Will’s mind, in order to explain better where his decision came from. I throughly enjoyed this book, but I felt like that it was a bit ‘ableist’; as readers, we never got to know if Will had psychological support, or if his depression was treated. I did not give this book 4 stars because I felt that the last 150 pages were rushed, and when dealing with such topics, brushing it off is not the way. I have to admit, I loved the ending, of Lou reading Will’s letter in Paris; at the same time, why was Lou’s life worthless before Will, I mean she was content, wasn’t she? I just did not understand why Will had the need to shape her into the ambitious person I felt like she was not, when he lost his ambition. And I do understand why he did, so I am not criticizing his choice, I am respecting it, I just wish we got a little more insight about this point in the novel.
I also did not cry nearly as much as everyone else said they did. I cried once, and you can imagine when. Also, favorite line:
“Best before: 19 March 2007” and many more.