Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before YouLouisa Clark (or Lou, as she’s known) lives a life about as big as the tiny English village she calls home. She loves being a waitress and figures she’ll eventually marry Patrick, her longtime boyfriend. When she unexpectedly loses her job, she must scramble to replace the income that her tight-knit family depends on. Out of desperation, she takes a job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor. Will used to live a life full of high-stakes deals, adventurous vacations, and beautiful women. Now, due to a tragic accident, his life is suddenly restricted beyond his control and he has lost all desire to live.

Will keeps everyone at a distance with his caustic and high-handed attitude. Unlike his family, however, Lou refuses to tiptoe around him and cater to his bad moods. Soon they become exactly what the other needs. Seeing how hopeless Will is about his future, Lou plans a series of adventures (and mis-adventures) to try to convince him that life can be worth living. In turn, Will attempts to persuade Lou that she doesn’t have to confine herself to the small existence she’s settled for so far. As they set about changing each other’s lives, what emerges is a love story that is as complex as it is beautiful.

It is impossible not to be swept up in the world that Moyes has created in ME BEFORE YOU. Though Will and Lou are the heart of the book, they are surrounded by a cast of characters who are funny, infuriating, and entirely memorable. Readers will undoubtedly recognize someone they know among the novel’s entertaining and memorable supporting cast.” – Publisher Summary

Reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was an emotional experience I was not expecting. I am generally not a “weeper”, however, by the last third of this book I was weeping away like a little old lady. Actually, most little old ladies that I know don’t weep all that much… Anyway. I wept, okay? So. I’d never read any of Jojo Moyes’ work before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m generally not one for romance novels, but had heard that this wasn’t necessarily your everyday romance novel, so I was somewhat reassured. I’d seen Me Before You around – on Goodreads, on Amazon, etc, with it’s catchy little red cover and finally could resist no longer – it became a must-read for me. When NetGalley offered it for review in conjunction to its upcoming paperback release, I jumped at the chance. Jumped, I tell you!

So. Louisa Clark (known as Lou) has lost her long-time job at the local café. Her family depends on her income, so she begins her job search instantly. After a series of mishaps, Lou finally secures a six-month position as a caregiver for Will Traynor, former businessman, sportsman, and world-traveler – now a quadriplegic for life after a motorbike accident two years prior. Will is – well, to quote Moyes, he is pretty much a total “arse”. He’s not a very happy fellow, and he takes this out on everyone else. Does this fly with our friend Lou? Um… No. She dishes it back to him as fast as he can dish it out and the two form a grudging respect and affection for each other. Soon, Lou learns that Will does not want to continue living life in his current condition. She sets out to show him that life can still be enjoyed, and to change his mind so that he will once again want to live. Likewise, Will works to show Lou that the tiny world she lives in can open up into great opportunities and adventures, if only she let it.

I am not going to lie to you, friends – you’re not going to find your typical fairy tale ending in this book. If that’s what you want, keep on walkin’. This is an emotional and dramatic read, one that will stick with you long after you put the book down – not to mention the legal and moral dilemmas that will keep your wheels turning, as well. While the characters did at first seem a bit one-dimensional, as the book progressed they were fleshed out a bit more and became much more real to me. In an interesting narrative twist, Moyes randomly included single narratives from various characters, such as Will’s parents, his other caretaker, and Lou’s sister. It was very random and I’m not sure where she was going with it, but I think it ultimately worked out – it was nice to see the glimpses of things from the other perspectives. There are many layers to Me Before You, and Jojo Moyes merges them seamlessly into one as this captivating and inspiring read takes hold of you and refuses to release you from it’s grasp.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is now available in paperback!

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Penguin {via NetGalley}

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