Written by Jojo Moyes
Published December, 2012 by Penguin
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
Purchase: The Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia
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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 experienced the whole spectrum of human emotion whilst reading Me Before You. It’s been so very long since a book this size has demanded I finish it in one sitting, but that’s exactly what this one did. For the life of me I can’t seem to stop thinking about it either. Jojo Moyes has crafted an utterly perfect story here, one with absolute staying power!
“I had a hundred and seventeen days in which to convince Will Traynor that he had a reason to live.”
I’m not a huge adult contemporary reader. If the right book comes along, sure, I’ll give it a whirl, but for the most part I stay out of the general fiction section and stick to YA. After seeing the amazing trailer for Me Before You this week, however, something stuck. I wanted to learn about quirky Louisa Clark and immovable Will Traynor. I wanted to read Me Before You instantly.
Shoving it to the front of my reading pile, I jumped into the book with a mixture of excitement and trepidation (I knew it was going to be a tearjerker, alright?). The first thing I noticed about Jojo Moyes’ writing style was that it was quite different from anything else I’d ever read before. Writing as Lou Clarke (and other perspectives sometimes slip in), Jojo Moyes utilises such a casual and entertaining form of storytelling. I immediately felt a connection to Louisa, Will and the whole slew of characters within the novel.
Lou was bubbly, inventive and had a great sense of humour. At 26, she doesn’t quite know what to do with her life – or if she should do anything more with it – but she embraces what she’s got lets her individuality shine. Extremely relatable and lovable, Lou also grew immeasurably after her six month employment with the Traynors. I loved seeing her come alive and experience life!
Will was a tough man to initially get a handle on. Constantly pushing everyone away, especially Lou upon her arrival, he’s a man that’s lost everything – including his desire to live. Despite all this, Will keeps a firm grip on his unique sense of humour. It’s through this that he and Lou eventually begin a bond.
Then there’s Lou’s dad (hilarious), her mum (obsessed with the way posh people live) and sister Treena (selfish at times) who also add great layers to the story. There’s Lou’s boyfriend, Patrick – ‘Running Man’ – who is the very contrast of Will and the desperate and stoic Mrs and Mr Traynor. Each character brings something wonderful to Me Before You and it’s a delight to watch Louisa navigate the minefield that is love, loss and life.
“You are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in,with your ridiculous clothes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt.”
Obviously, Louisa’s relationship with Will is the shining point of this book. Seeing them both connect and change with one another was beyond words. I’m getting all kinds of emotions just thinking about it. Lou wants to convince Will to live, while Will wants to teach Lou how to live.
There were laughs, tears, heart-warming moments and pits of despair. I was sucked into this story completely and utterly, and I couldn’t be happier about it. From Lou’s bumblebee tights to getting a wheelchair stuck in the mud at the racetrack, Me Before You was a memorable journey from start to finish. It was a story about the ability and right to make your own choices, while also not being afraid to take chances.
“…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.”
I am utterly ruined after the ending. I feel as if all my emotions have been ripped away from me temporarily while I stew over everything Me Before You made me experience. And yet – I don’t regret it. With the sequel, After You, coming out this year, I’m quite excited – but I also don’t feel that there needs to be another. Sure, it will be great to see how these characters advance and above all else, LIVE, I thought Me Before You ended in such a perfect way. I would be quite content in making up my own little fantasies about how everyone got on.
All I can say is this – if the movie trailer doesn’t make you feel anything at all, then Me Before You is not the book for you. However, if you are even the slightest bit curious about this unique story of love, run and pick it up immediately. You will not be disappointed.