Book Review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The thing about me – and I’m sure many of you will agree – is that I read as a form of escapism. I want to leave behind the realism of every day life and instead I want to be swept away with magic and action and a whole new world to explore. Realistic fiction just isn’t generally something that appeals to me. However, my best friend recommended this book to me, so I figured why the heck not.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
(Me Before You #1)
Paperback | 481 pages | Purchased

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 that 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.

★★★★★

Will Traynor is an arse. There’s no two ways about it. Thing is, I understand why he’s so horrible, and that made all the difference. I’m not saying that every disabled person out there is miserable, but to go from being fully able to almost completely paralysed has got to be the toughest experience, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Basically, what I’m saying is that Will Traynor is an arse, but I didn’t hate him. As the book progressed, we see a new side to Will, and I fell hard.

Lou herself is such a great character. She hilarious and real and she and I would be great friends.  I related to Lou on so many different levels, mainly because I’m her age right now. Like Lou, I feel stuck. Financially, culturally… I feel like I still haven’t fully “grown up”. Being an adult is hard, and Louisa Clark knows that better than anyone. She has a lot to learn about the world – and about herself – but the things she does for Will definitely go above and beyond a job description. Their friendship is a beautiful thing, and as their feelings developed, I felt my heart cracking with every page. It’s a strange feeling, going into a book knowing it’s going to break your heart, but I found myself thoroughly invested in both Will and Lou’s happiness.

“All I can say is that you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”

These characters couldn’t be more different, and that’s why they’re so damn good for each other. Will has a no bullshit sort of attitude when it comes to grasping life by the horns, and he definitely helps Louisa realise that life shouldn’t be wasted. On the flip side, Lou’s determination and lack of pity makes her the perfect friend for Will. Though he’s teaching her what it means to live as an able-bodied person, she’s desperate to make him realise that life doesn’t end with a disability.

About a hundred or so pages in, it became exceedingly obvious to me how this book was going to end, and I knew without a doubt that it was going to destroy me. Yes, I struggled with the writing for a long time, but if a book can elicit that sort of emotional response from me, it deserves recognition for it. It’s not often I ugly cry at books – especially if I’ve already figured out what’s going on – but this story was beautiful and heartbreaking and I still can’t think about it without tearing up!

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Peter Martuneac
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I watched the movie with my wife, and I loved it! I also guessed the ending, but I felt like it was the perfect ending. This isn’t my usual genre, but I still really enjoyed it.