Customer Review

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Most people really love this book - I'm not one of them..., 3 July 2013
This review is from: Me Before You (Paperback)
People love this book. I mean, really, really love this book. As I write this, it has 2,999 reviews on Amazon, and 2,578 of those reviews give it five stars. There are eight pages - yes, eight pages - at the start of the paperback, of rave reviews. The heavyweight papers (Telegraph, Times, Indy) like it as much as the tabloids. It's 'Irresistible', 'Genuinely moving', 'Superbly crafted'. Did I mention? People love this book.

Of those 2,999 reviews on Amazon, 76 give it three stars. Okay, make that 77 out of 3,000 reviews and count me in.

I mean, don't get me wrong, it's okay. It's superior chick-lit; there are moving moments and funny moments and the characters are (mostly) likeable, but... did I care what happened to these people? No. Did I weep at the sad bits (as did most of those reviewers)? No. Will I keep the book to re-read? No. It's off to the charity shop with this one, where I'm sure somebody else will really, really love it.

The story: Louisa Clark loses her job at the café and takes a six month post as companion/carer to Will Traynor, a young man who is a quadriplegic following an accident. Will is a privileged, rich young man who had been a successful businessman and gung-ho traveller; he is devastated by his condition and wants to commit suicide: Lou comes from the other side of the tracks, lives with her parents, sister, nephew and grandfather, and has hardly ever left her small town. This is chick-lit. Fill in the gaps.

I think my main problem is with Will's character. The story is written primarily from Lou's point of view in the first person. Every now and then, the author has devoted a chapter to other characters (Will's mother, father, carer, and Lou's sister) to speak in the first person. This gives us some much-needed insight into their motivations and emotions. But where is Will's voice? He's the one disabled person in this story, which is nominally a love story but is primarily concerned with Dignitas and disabled people's right to die. So it's just a bit odd that we never get to hear what he has to say, except when filtered through able-bodied people's perceptions. The result is that I still don't know what to make of Will, or whether I care one way or another if he lives or dies. Is that a horrible thing to say? Probably. But he's only a character in a novel, so sue me.
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4.8 out of 5 stars (4,532 customer reviews)
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Location: Weston-Super-Mare, England

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