There are books that you read and there are books that stay with you. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a book that I am quite confident I will never forget.
In Me Before You the lives of Louisa (Lou) Clark and Will Traynor collide. Lou is a waitress at the Buttered Bun tea shop. She loves her job, enjoys meeting interesting people and even though it’s not a challenge, she’s devastated when it closes and she’s let go. Will Traynor was a high flying businessman living an adrenaline-filled life. He was the adventure sportsman, dated beautiful women and worked on major business deals. He led a “big life”, in his words. And then he’s in an accident that leaves him as a quadriplegic. Their lives intertwine when Lou, lacking any experience as a carer, is hired to keep Will company.
Their relationship starts off as rocky as can be. Will doesn’t give Lou the time of day, or when he does his words are cutting. Lou, desperate to keep the income that her family need so badly, pushes miserably through each day. Finally there is a breakthrough when Will realizes that Lou is the only one who won’t treat him with kid gloves and their friendship grows. Despite it all, Will struggles with what his current life is and battles with whether it’s worth continuing.
Okay, I won’t give anything away more than that.
I couldn’t put this book down. It was an absolute roller coaster of emotions and Moyes is immensely skilled in testing the reader’s beliefs. You follow Lou, Will and members of their families on this journey. Your opinion will flip flop as you are truly captivated by different points of view. At one point I was rooting for both Will and Lou’s individual plans at the same time which… is hard to do.
There is an incredible tipping point in the book where Will become’s a carer for Lou in some ways. Moyes shows the complexity of relationships, both romantic and familial, and that there is no one right answer to life-altering questions.
Usually in a novel you can point to a scene that wasn’t really necessary, or a part where the writing wasn’t strong. Not the case with Me Before You. Every scene serves a purpose and Moyes writes in a manner that will have you laughing one minute and sobbing the next. As an aspiring writer of women’s fiction, I have an idea of how much talent this must take and I’m in awe.
This book absolutely requires a box of tissues and large chunks of uninterrupted reading time.
Finally, and probably least importantly, we all know that I am a title and a cover-judger. It’s just the way things are. Both the title and the cover of this book leave me with zero complaints. It’s a strong, bold colour with gorgeous script. Note: I’d like to say that the cover is red, but I failed that whole is it blue and black, is it while and gold thing miserably.
It’s hard to find paper copies in Canada, but if you’re an ebook reader, check it out here: Me Before You: A Novel
Have you read Me Before You? What were your thoughts?
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