Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: 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 color. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.*
Jojo Moyes, a British novelist, has previously won Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Novel of the Year and was a Nominee for Goodreads Choice Award in Fiction. Contemporary romance is not typically my cup of tea, everyone had been raving about this book though, and I finally gave in. Me Before You is the first novel of Jojo Moyes' that I have read, and I was pleasantly surprised. The novel was well written, and though the plot was somewhat predictable, I did enjoy that Moyes finished with a heart-wrenching, morally-questionable decision. I almost didn't think she would have the guts to go through with it, but she did, and it was fantastic (I apologize for the vagueness, I don't want to spoil anything). I think more authors need to write about 'questionable' topics, things people don't typically like to discuss in open conversation (e.g. disabilities, depression, rape, addiction, etc.). It's important to acknowledge these do, in fact, exist, try to understand them, and teach others about them. But I digress.
Original Photo from Sawtooth Adventure Company
Solo guitarist/river guiding extraordinaire is my little sis (aw, proud big sis moment!)
The characters throughout Me Before You, were extremely intriguing to me, and, if I'm being honest, aggravating at times. I enjoyed the contrast between the Clark family and the Traynor family. While the middle class Clark family struggled financially, they seemed to love and support one another, even if it was in a unique way. Whereas the Traynor's, a wealthy, upper class family, seemed to be held together by the thin thread of Will's condition alone. The stubborn, exhausted, envious, and witty Will Traynor was startling and brutal to read about. I did not like that Will's character was so focused on being envious of everyone else's capabilities, or telling others how to live their lives, that he did not focus on what his capabilities were and how much he could do. I do have very mixed feelings about Lou Clark though, Will's co-star in Me Before You. Lou is awkward, witty, immature, and self-absorbed for almost the entire novel. I am perfectly fine with awkward characters, however, when they are immature, self-absorbed, and play the victim for almost the entire novel, I get a bit aggravated. Thankfully, we witness an emotional and mental growth within her character, as she beautifully learned how to let go of the past and put others before herself. The dynamics between the two co-stars, Will and Lou, really worked for me. Their banter back and forth was highly entertaining, and witnessing their relationship grow realistically (i.e. gradually, two steps forward and one step back) was a nice change from the all-too-common quick-paced relationships. I'm a firm believer in the idea that one of the best ways to help yourself out, is by helping others. Lou and Will's characters come to understand this idea near the end, and I have to admit, the wait was worth the phenomenal ending. Me Before You is a quick, entertaining, and daring reminder to help others, to love deeply, and to live well.
*Synopsis provided by Goodreads.com