Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Summary (from Goodreads)
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
I know I’m probably the last person in the world to get round to reading this one, but with the trailer for the film coming out recently (and making me feel all teary from the moment Photograph by Ed Sheeran starts playing) I thought I’d pick up a copy. And I had an Audible credit going spare.
I’ll admit to being completely in the mood for this sort of weepy romance novel, which has perhaps coloured my enjoyment of it a little more rosy than it would otherwise have been. But I didn’t just enjoy it. It has utterly consumed me for the last three days.
Quadriplegia and the right to die don’t sound like ideal topics for a romance novel, but credit to Moyes, the heavy and sometimes challenging themes are handled well. There’s a big emphasis on choice, freedoms, control, and the lack of these things that Quadriplegics have. Because Will is a central character, we want to be behind his choice, to empathise with him, but because Louisa is falling in love with him, we don’t want to see her hurt either.
There are plenty of alternative opinions on the right to die issue presented, but really, that central tug of war between Louisa and Will is enough to have the reader seeing and understanding both sides of the argument. It’s important in ‘issue’ books that this comes across, otherwise the tone of the narrative can become preachy. Me Before You never does. I think Louisa’s naivety helps with that – she blunders into and through a lot of things with endless optimism, and though we feel infused with her optimism, the part of us that is a little more knowledgable than she is can’t help but see her as a hopeless romantic, someone who doesn’t see the situation for what it really is.
I really enjoyed this one – it was the right amount of uplifting, emotional, happy and sad. It’s the sort of book I think I’ll be thinking about for days to come. Probably right up until I go to see the movie and experience it all over again.