You’ll laugh, you’ll cry – and then you’ll totally sob your heart out. Strangely, you’ll be smiling too, as Jojo Moyes takes you on a complete rollercoaster of a ride in this heartwarmingly beautiful book
Me Before You broke my heart, but it also made me feel uplifted too. A pertinent reminder of how fleeting life can be and the importance of celebrating love, laughter and the little things every day.
There’s only a couple of books in my lifetime that have reduced me to full-on, shoulder-shuddering, ugly crying and Moye’s Me Before You is definitely one of them.
I haven’t been so moved by a good read since David Nicholl’s, One Day, another serious tearjerker. Ultimately, Me Before You is a poignant love story about two people who fall in love in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
You’re going to want some privacy to read this book because your mascara is probably going to end up on your chin. Curl up with a mug of hot chocolate – or something stronger if you will – draw the curtains and dive into this powerful love story.
Louise Clark hasn’t spread her wings much in life. Still living with her parents in a small English country town, she loses her job in a local café. Struggling for money, she is forced to take the next role that comes her way.
The job happens to be a caring role for wealthy quadriplegic, Will Traynor, a devastatingly handsome young man recently injured in a motorbike accident. Will is angry and frustrated, lashing out at anyone who crosses his path – which of course, most frequently happens to be Lou.
Lou’s new role turns out to be much more than just a carer as she learns Will no longer wants to live. She makes it her mission to show him life is still worth living, but time is running out.
Louise is a quirky heroine from her brightly-coloured hair to the toes of her stripy tights. Lou’s crazy wardrobe is the only area in her life where she refuses to conform and represents an adventurous side to her character that has otherwise become repressed by her family, job and miserable relationship.
Like so many chick-lit heroines before her, Lou has a dropkick boyfriend she must deal with before the real man comes along.
Lou is funny, warm and relatable. As the book develops, Will launches a quest to ‘save’ Lou in much the same way she strives to save him. He sees something in her that no-one else can – the bright, funny beautiful girl who has become a butterfly with trapped wings stagnating in her little English town.
As the story develops, Lou’s passion and confidence becomes to grow. You’ll find yourself praying that her new-found strength will be enough to save Will in time.
This is also a poignant love story, essentially a struggle of two people who love each other but can’t see a way to make it work.
It is also a story about euthanasia. A heavy and heart-wrenching subject matter handled delicately by Moyes as she sensitively demonstrates both sides of the story.
Throughout the story, Moyes ensures we always have hope offering up plenty of joyful moments for the characters amidst the struggles. From Lou’s unexpected and powerful love of the opera, to Will finally leaning on her for support, and sunshine, “Tell me something good,” he says.
The unique nature of their relationship adds to the power of the book. I adored the scene where Lou sits on Will’s lap at his ex’s wedding and he spins her around the dancefloor to everyone’s shock.
As so often happens in the book, the sublime turns to the shocking as later that evening Will’s health rapidly declines, his temperature dropping and Lou panicking as we are reminded gently again by Moyes just how serious his condition is.
Incidentally, I’ve never quite been able to figure out the title of this book. Selfless, Lou puts herself first to try and create joy in Will’s life. But the favour is repaid, when ultimately he sets her free. I feel “You Before Me” would have been more apt, though not as catchy! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
This book reminds us not to take life for granted, to enjoy every beautiful moment and appreciate those we love. The most powerful love story I’ve ever read.
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