It’s hard to know where to start with this review. Mostly, I just want to go read the book again. I can’t do that, though, because I think my emotions are still to raw after finishing it yesterday. But I’ll read it again soon.
The thing is that there’s no real surprise ending, no unexpected twist to this story that Jojo Moyes so beautifully created. Reading it, you pretty much know how it’s going to turn out and you know the ending won’t be easy. That doesn’t make the rollercoaster of emotions any less sudden or drastic. You still feel every bump and it shakes you to your core.
“Me Before You” is the story of a perfectly average girl, Louisa Clark – who is twenty-six so perhaps not the traditional definition of a “girl” but her personality is more “girl” than “woman”, struggling to string a good, productive life together and just get from one day to the next with a smile on her face. It’s the story of a more than average man, Will Traynor, who saw his world shattered when a freak accident left him a quadriplegic and unable to do virtually everything for himself. Lou wants to live, on her own terms and in her own way, and Will wants to die, on his own terms and in his own way.
A crappy economy brings them together when Lou finds herself without a job and Will’s mother wants to hire a care assistant – although it can be said that she’s really hiring what she hopes will be a friend for him – to keep an eye on him for six months. The six months are important. Ever the businessman and negotiator, Will made a deal with his parents that he would give them six months if they agree to do what he wants when the time is up.
This knowledge, for Lou, is shocking and she makes it her mission to show him a life worth living.
At the same time, Will makes it his mission to show her a life worth living – one beyond the confines of the little world she calls home.
It’d would’ve been easy for Moyes to make her own views known here but she doesn’t. The opinions on Will’s chosen path in life are solely those of Lou, Will, Mrs. and Mr. Traynor, Lou’s family, and Will’s nurse Nathan. Even more importantly, it’s up to the reader to follow the path the characters do and form original opinions. You never feel like you’re being told how to think about this complicated issue. You never feel like you’re wrong for thinking one thing or another. This gives the book something almost indefinable.
What I can say is that if I am ever in the place Will Traynor is in “Me Before You” and if I ever make the same decision as him, and I probably would, I want someone to fight for me as hard as Lou fought for Will. And I’d like to think that I would fight as hard as she did for him if I were here. I
There’s a new book atop my “Best Book I’ve Ever Read” list and it is this book. I’m going to read it again soon. And again and again.