Summary: Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and he is not interested in exploring a new one.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn't have less in common - a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Date Published: January 5, 2012
Published By: Penguin Books
Number of Pages: 369
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I first started reading Me Before You. All I knew was that people called it 'heartbreaking' and compared it to The Fault in Our Stars a lot. After reading it, I can definitely say that it surprised me in a lot of ways - sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not so much.
Louisa Clark is such a great character. I related to her so much, it was kind of scary. I just loved how average she was - not particularly ambitious, content to work at a cafe and not do much with her life. I'm all for female characters that are ferocious and strong but it's nice to see someone who is normal and timid and just sort of...lost. Thankfully, Louisa does grow throughout the novel and it all kicks off when she meets Will Traynor.
I thought the relationship between Will and Louisa developed quite naturally. It never felt rushed or forced - it felt like how two different people would get to know each other in real life. While I was reading it, I sort of hoped that they would get together a bit sooner but once I read the ending, I understood why the author chose to write their relationship the way she did.
The ending will definitely not please everyone but I thought it was a fitting one and it will make readers ask themselves some tough questions - how would they handle the situation Louisa found herself in? Would they be able to do what she did? Personally, the ending didn't leave me sobbing on the floor or anything - but then again, it's a rare book that can wrench that sort of reaction from me. It's still a memorable ending, one that will stay with me for awhile.
I did have a couple of issues with the book - I found some parts to be a little cliched. Louisa has a traumatic experience from her past that keeps her from taking chances and I thought it seemed kind of...tacked on. Like it didn't really fit the story. It was as if Jojo Moyes decided that her character needed a tragic back story and just picked the most obvious one.
Another point that makes me a little apprehensive is the whole 'a-disabled-person-changed-my-life' cliche. Thanks to Will Traynor, Louisa decides to make something of her life and live it to the fullest. To be fair, I think the author is fully aware of this trope and did her best to subvert it. Will seems like a fully-realized character, not a Life Lesson masquerading as one. Still, there were some parts that seemed a bit too 'Lifetime movie' for my taste.
Having had my little rant, I did enjoy Me Before You overall. I will definitely be seeing the film version when it comes out next month. And I'll be sure to bring a box of tissues.