contemporary · review

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

“Sometimes I wondered if it was a defense mechanism, whether the only way to cope with his life was to pretend it wasn’t him it was happening to.”

 

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Blurb: “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 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’m not one to actively put up romance / contemporary books unless it’s by another I’ve previously read (such as Cecelia Ahern and Giovanna Fletcher) but when I saw the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation, I found myself completed to read it.

The protagonist of this story is Louisa Clark. She’s twenty-six years old and stuck muddling through life. She doesn’t have any qualifications to get a decent job and her fitness-obsessed boyfriend doesn’t have much time for her. When she finds out via her local job centre that a family is looking for a carer for their son, she thinks she’s nowhere near the right person for the job, but she can’t deny the money is good. She takes it and Will enters her life.

Will Traynor was injured in a motorcycle accident which resulted in him being wheelchair-bound, unable to move most of his body.  He’s bitter, mad at the world and hates that everyone makes decisions for him; not caring what he actually wants. When Louisa Clark bumbles into his life with her ridiculous clothing choices, he doesn’t think his life can get much worse.

While my initial point isn’t entirely book related, I feel I need to express it: Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin are the perfect acting choices for these characters. Naturally, I pictured those actors as Louisa and Will in the images in my mind while reading, but they will a great fit, I am very sure of that.

This was a very easy read despite the serious and sad themes that spread through the pages. I found Louisa to be such a compelling character to follow through this story. However, there were random instances of chapters from other characters perspectives such as Nathan – another medical carer – and Will’s mother and while I understood what they were trying to convey (understanding and an outside perspective) they just felt jarring and out of place.

I loved seeing how Louisa became more sure of herself. Her growth throughout the chapters was so beautiful to witness while she dealt with a very temperamental person on a daily basis. Will is a horrible character and no matter how nice people are to him, he has quite a sharp tongue. And I actually liked that about him: it made him feel more real that a little trip out to a racecourse wouldn’t change his perspective. The wonderful thing about their relationship is that Louisa is the first person to see and speak to him as a person, not the person stuck in a chair who can’t eat without help.

But Will has a dark secret and when Louisa discovers it, she realises time is running out and she needs to make a plan.

If you haven’t read this book and either you’ve never heard of it or you’re unsure whether to read it, ignore the blurb premise because it honestly doesn’t sell this book enough. I highly recommend it whether you frequent the romance / contemporary genre or not.

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