Book Review · Romance

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

“I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”

Goodreads Synopsis:Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of 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 now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

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, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, 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?

Review:

Image result for 4 and a half out of 5 stars

As much as I loved reading this book, I have really struggled to write this review, there are so many thoughts swirling around my head that getting them down on paper and then making some sort of sense of them has been a challenge, so bear with me. One thing I have decided though is that there is no way I can write this review without spoilers so turn back now if you if you are one of the few people who don’t already know what’s going to happen/read the book/seen the movie…

First things first, I really did love this book, it’s not the first Jojo Moyes book I have read and as I loved her other books I kinda knew somewhat to expect and no I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the characters, not initially I’ll admit but I was their number one fan by the end. I loved seeing the change in characters, the way they evolved, the inventive ways Louisa was able to try and get Will to see the best in life and the slow change in Will’s attitude. I’ll admit I knew how the book was going to end before I picked up the book, which is why I had already stocked up on the necessary tissues and what not for when I was bawling out my eyes. I’m not actually sure if I want to read the sequel as I felt the ending kinda of summed up everything the author had set out to say and although I do kinda want to find out where Louisa’s life ends up, I’m just as happy not knowing.

The reason I think that I have struggled so much with writing this is due to the controversy that surrounds it. Not so much to do with Will’s decision to end his life but more because he was doing it as he was now disabled he did not feel as if he can carry on, despite Louisa’s and his families best efforts. Now for me reading it I felt I could understand the reasons behind Will’s action, although he wasn’t terminally sick his quality of life had been diminished to a point where he did not want to carry on, he had weighed the pro’s and con’s of his choice and had made a decision based on what he wanted. I did not see it as the author portraying that those with a disability should want to die, or that they were a burden on their family and friends, I read it as a man who was faced with a life altering event and had sort out assisted suicide, a choice although also controversial, it was his choice, only he knew what he could or could not put up with. I think this is what the author was trying to portray but hey I could be wrong. The problem that I have had is that I can see how easily one might read it and find it offensive that Will had been portrayed in this way and  of his ultimate decision in the end. Especially for those that are living with the same sort of disabilities as Will, those who can really understand the pain that he is going through and who see him just give up in the end, is that somehow saying that they should give up to? Once again it’s not the message I got while reading but I can really see how easily it would be to see it this way. It really got me thinking, I looked through some of the reviews more closely on Goodreads specifically those one star reviews and it seems that several people on later reflection have changed there initial 5 star rating to 1, to reflect that they don’t agree with this stance. I considered should I change mine? While I do agree that people should be given the choice for assisted suicide in extreme case, I would never want to have someone feel that there life is not worth living because of it… In the end I have decided to keep my 4 and half star rating because as I mentioned that wasn’t the message that I personally got while reading, and I guess as this is my thoughts I should stay true to what they are as rambly as they may be….

Did anyone else feel this after they had read the book? 

Rating: 4.5/5

Would I read again: Yes

Would I Recommend: Yes, but maybe give a warning if they don’t already know what it’s about.

Would I read another book from this author: Yes

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17 thoughts on “Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

  1. really strong review. I enjoyed the book and chose to look at it from the perspective of choices and decisions people make, rather than if it is socially or morally accurate or fair… I see both sides tho. Still felt tons of emotions from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 It’s definitely an emotional book, I do think she was trying to portray the idea of choices and decisions but I guess when you have such a sensitive subject it’s easy for social and moral aspects to get in the way of the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand what you mean. after I finished reading it I couldn’t make up my mind on how to review it and I actually agree with Will’s decision. I understand it isn’t the best decision but it was his choice and if he himself can’t cope with it given that he did have time to reflect on it who are we (his family and such) to force the will to live on him. Anyhoots, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad I’m not the only one that struggled, I did think that it was a stronger book for going through with it, it would of definitely been the easy options for him to turn around decide to not go ahead and live happily ever after, but in the end it was his choice and his only, Thanks 🙂

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      1. yeah I agree with you. It’s awesome that the book shows the other side of being a quad and he did make sense like love is great and all but how long can she take care of him without burning out sooner or later

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  3. Amazing review! It was my first and last book from Jojo Moyes. I did struggle at the end and I don’t remember crying that much ever for a book. I didn’t watch the movie and even though I purchased the ‘After You’ I cannot get myself to start reading it.

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  4. I was a little angry with Will for his decision, which could be considered selfish, although I thought the way his character was written it was understandable. As you said yourself, he was a master of the universe before the accident. How he would mentally perceive himself even after the accident would be the same, but with an uncooperative body. I think the feeling of being trapped inside his body might have been worse for someone like him who was used to doing extreme sports and thrived on that adrenaline rush. It would be hard enough for an average person to adjust to such a difficult life after a devastating accident. It would suck to be so reliant on others to help you even with basic needs, although people can and do have fulfilling lives once they adapt to their new reality. I would imagine for Will the despair caused by his “entrapment” would be a thousandfold just due to his over-the-top personality.

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    1. I think that would of been the main issue, he was so stuck in his old perceptions he was not able to handle his new reality, I have to admit although I said I thought it made it a stronger book to go the route it did, there was also that little bit of anger and disappointed in his decision.

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  5. I agree with you 100%. I can see where people might get that impression, but I really don’t think the author intended to suggest that a life with a disability is not worth living. I think that it was ultimately about Will having a choice, especially when so many other choices had been stripped away from him. I’m not necessarily saying I agree with the choice he made, but I could at least see why he made it.

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    1. I think it’s a shame how easily it is to see that point of view, it could of been so much more of a powerful book without it, but at the same time it would take so much of the story away

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      1. For me the entire impact of the story came from the issue of choice. Just look at the chapter earlier on where Lou planned what she thought was a great day out for Will, but never thought to ask him what he would like to do. I work with young adults with special needs, and even though they are not in the same situation as Will was, a lack of choice is a big issue in their lives. These are people in their 20s and 30s, many of whom still live with their parents and have so little choice in their day to day lives. Even high-functioning participants in my group still have to check with their parents before making plans with friends, have to adhere to our day program schedule, etc.

        I think the power of this book lies in the controversy. Without it, it wouldn’t have been such a highly discussed book. It’s a shame that people assume the author is trying to put forth a negative message. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed a lot lately that people tend to assume the worst when it comes to potentially problematic messages. I’ve made the comment before that this book is one story about one person’s life. I recently came across a vlogger who responded to that comment (I’m not sure if she saw mine specifically, or others making the same point), who said that it’s not enough to say “it’s just one story about one person’s life” because real people in that situation take things away from the story. I can understand authors having some responsibility to avoid very negative or harmful messages, but I also think it is the reader’s responsibility to think critically about what they are reading and think carefully about what they take away from the story.

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  6. I absolutely loved Me Before You. That stance was not one I took either. I believe Will’s decision had much more to do with his quality of life than anything else. I adore Louisa. I couldn’t even attempt reading the sequel. I got 10 pages into it and just didn’t like it at all.
    I’m not sure if you’ve seen the movie or not. Personally, I think the movie is a lovely movie and the casting was fantastic but! it lacks some of the things I think best explained how Lousia and Will’s relationship evolves and some very important back story for her. Just in case you check it out, be prepared for that.

    Liked by 1 person

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