Where do I even begin? The buzz about this book began way back in Summer 2012, when the galleys first hit the office. Pretty soon, a few of my coworkers were coming into the office with red-rimmed eyes raving about the read. That’s when I resolved I would never read Me Before You. I’m not one who enjoys a “good cry”. Last week, the book was thrust into my hands with repeated assurances that all would be well and I had to read the book. I caved, but I wasn’t happy about it. Just goes to show, sometimes the things we think aren’t good for us turn out to be amazing.
Me Before You is the perfect blend of narrative; funny, down-to-earth, relatable, and friendly. Despite the fact that the story revolves around a quadriplegic, Will, who is determined to end his life, it was one of the easiest stories to settle into and one of the hardest to remove myself from.
Will Traynor had it all. He was a successful businessman and he loved his life, living it to the fullest. Bungee-jumping, sky-diving, white-water rafting, and even climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro, Will never wasted a moment. His life, as he knew it, ended when he got hit by a car just crossing a street. Fast forward two years later, enter Lou(isa), the quirky, chatty, unemployed 27 year old who had no other alternative than to accept a position as Will’s caregiver. What she didn’t realize was that she had actually been hired to prevent Will from committing suicide. When she finds out that he’s made a bargain with his parents to live for only six more months, she makes it her goal to ensure that he finds life worth living again.
The connection that Jojo Moyes draws between all her characters is amazing. It’s done with ease and not a moment of the book feels forced or awkward. She handles Will’s condition with honesty but without nerve-jangling pity. I have an aunt who is paraplegic and I grew up all my life watching her being fed, moved, turned, and cared for in every way. I’ve also watched her travel everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE) in the world since her accident, care for her grandchildren, get a job, and keep her mind occupied with friends and family. I also know that most days she wishes she hadn’t opened her eyes.
What would you do if someone you loved told you this wasn’t the life they were meant to lead? Would you take the choice away from them or help them to end on the highest note possible? Jojo Moyes tackles one of the trickiest subjects with compassion, humour, and open eyes. The best part about this book was the fact that I enjoyed myself and the tears only came towards the very end. But whether they were tears of sadness, joy, or contentment…well I’ll let you find that out for yourself. But do yourself the favour: if you have a stubborn wish to not read this book, overcome it and read it anyway. I promise you, every word is worth it. Me Before You is powerful and it will leave you both content and inspired.