Paperback (Michael Joseph, 480 pages)
First published 2012; this edition published 2012
Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars
“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.”
This book ripped out my heart and ran it over a grater.
It’s not often I read books dubbed – somewhat annoyingly – as ‘chick-lit’. But having heard such good things about this book, and wanting something light and easy to read, I picked Me Before You up.
It was easy to read, but it sure as hell wasn’t light. Oh, my. Lou is an utterly realistic character, and I could empathise with her uncertainty, her desire to help and do right. Will’s negative outlook did annoy me, but is it realistic to expect disabled characters to be upbeat all the time? (I’m disabled myself, and I’m certainly not.) For any character to be upbeat all the time?
The unfolding relationship is tender, surprisingly so. It wasn’t sappy, it wasn’t overblown, and at points I had tears in my eyes because of certain events. Jojo Moyes is an expert at making readers feel all the feelings. It left me emotionally drained – and rarely can I say that about literature; I’m usually very hard to impress like that. But Me Before You totally left me aching.
The prose is simple and easy to read, but Jojo Moyes has used it superbly. It isn’t ornate and it certainly isn’t flowery – and I love it for that.
Please do pick this book up. If you’re looking for an emotional roller coaster – read it. If you’re not – read it anyway. It will give you an insight into disability and its effects, and education on disability is by no means a bad thing. Who likes ignorance, anyway?