I've read a few of Jojo Moyes' previous books - Ship of Brides (loved), The Last Letter From Your Lover (adored) and The Peacock Emporium (meh) - but I think she's moved onto a whole new level with her latest offering.
Me Before You features Lou Clark, a bright but directionless young woman who drifts between dead-end jobs until she eventually (rather reluctantly) takes a post as a carer to a young man who has been left in a quadriplegic state following a road accident two years earlier. Will Traynor had a high-profile, well paid career and a very active lifestyle, until it was all taken away from him in the blink of an eye as he crossed the road to hail a taxi. To say he's bitter and angry about the hand life has dealt him would be an understatement. His family are at the end of their tether, and shortly after Lou is hired she hatches a desperate plan to try to convince Will that his life is worth living.
Sounds a bit grim and depressing? Well think again. I've never noticed much in the way of comedy in Moyes's novels before, but this book had me alternating between laughing out loud and smiling wryly (oh and crying - more of that later), and I was reminded very much of Marian Keyes in her prime. I loved the affectionate banter between Lou and her family and the not-so-affectionate (at first) verbal sparring between Lou and Will. (Their first meeting when he plays a particularly wicked trick on her is absolutely priceless.)
And now for the serious stuff. The subjects of quadriplegia and the rights of disabled people are dealt with sensitively and compassionately. The descriptions of Will's day to day existence, which involves relying on others for almost every aspect of his personal care, really hit home.
I saved the last 50 pages to read at home rather than on the train because I knew that, whatever the outcome, it was going to be emotional, but it's also a very uplifting and life-affirming read. It's not often that I become so emotionally involved in a storyline and the memory of this thought-provoking book and the wonderfully engaging characters Jojo Moyes has created will stay with me for a long time.
PS: The 'comment' below from Brian Kennedy (30.05.12) contains a MAJOR SPOILER - don't read it if you don't want to know how the book ends. I reported it to Amazon a few weeks ago but they haven't removed it yet.
on 16 February 2016
I'm not quite sure what to write... Just closed the book on 'Me before you' and I am feeling many things. Shock. Anger. Maybe some happiness. My heart is shredded in to a thousand pieces if I'm being honest!
Will and Lou will stay with me for a very long time.
This book sends a very powerful message to everyone.... ' Just live'
Utterly speechless at the moment.
However it is a book I would recommend to everyone and it is one of my favourites and I could easily read this all over again... Although not anytime soon. I need to recover.
JoJo, you have broke me.
on 5 February 2016
I just want to start by saying, this book deserves so many more than 5* in my opinion. It's a truly beautifully tragic love story, one that will stay with me forever.
Have you ever had a friend tell you to read a book? You tell them ‘No’ that you can’t deal with that kind emotional roller coster? But they keep telling you to read it, insisting that you’ll fall madly in love with the story, with the characters and even though, you’ll feel pain, it will be the most beautiful kind of pain? That the tears that fall will heal you, one by one? Well this is what happened to me.
I’m the first to admit, I’m an emotional person, therefore I’m an emotional reader. I love nothing more than to find myself fully invested in a story from the first page. I want to feel like I’m living the character’s life, that I can feel their pain and share in their joy. When I’m so invested in a story nothing else matters. For me, it’s a rare thing, to find a story that makes real life and everything that goes will it cease to exist, cease to matter to me.
This story did.
I loved Lou right from the very first page, she was so normal, so relatable. I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes or tutting, I found myself laughing and thinking to myself, “She’s like me!” I think any female reading this book will be able to relate to Lou, she’s insecure, she’s not always sure of what she should be doing. But she’s courageous and brave and so incredibly strong. Faced with what she is, I know I wouldn’t be able to be the person she stepped up to be. I’m in awe of her and I think she is my favourite heroine of all time. I cannot fully express how much I adore her.
I fell in love with Will from that very first meeting, something about him reaches inside of you and holds on tight. And it doesn’t let go I can tell you that. I’ve never met a characters like Will, someone who is so completely sure of what he wants and is brave enough to stand by it. To say I have choice and I’m making it. I loved watching how he changes, how Lou changes him, or makes him more of his old self I think is a better explanation. He was a rare and phenomenal character and one I will love forever.
It takes courage to stay true to your characters, to write the story as it should be and not how you know the readers are going to want it to be. I admire Jojo for keeping the story, Will’s story especially, as it was meant to be, staying true to him and his choices no matter how much heartbreak, how much sadness it may bring. It takes a lot of guts to do that.
I was asked by my friend if this story was a 5* after I messaged her, I was an emotional wreck and it was almost one in the morning. I told her, it was so much more than that. Honestly, hand on my heart, one of the best books I've ever read. Possibly the best book because it's not a series, Jojo made you fall in love with two characters so completely and she did so in one book. She made you feel things it usually takes a series to feel, a whole series to build up, it usually takes a lot of invested time in order for me to feel that, but this is one book and when I finished, I was left asking myself one question: What author can make me feel like this with one book!!!? I came up with only one answer.
This tremendous book has taken a huge part of me away with it, and I don’t want it back.
on 19 January 2012
Please buy and read this book!! It is literally amazing in so many ways! I bought this book for an 8 hour flight to New York and not only did I finish it in one sitting but I cried for the last couple of chapters.
I am really not a fan of silly chick lit and please do not think this book falls into this category. It is a true classic and even though I never reread books, I will always keep this book in a special place on my book shelf.
Me Before You is the perfect story, it's a story that you have not read before. This book will make you feel both comforted and cosy but also on edge and unsure what is going to happen next.
In short, I loved this book so much I wish I hadn't finished it.
This was my first Jojo Moyes book that I had picked up, something drew me to it in the shop, and let me tell you, I am SO glad I had the opportunity to read this! I have read and heard people saying it is their eBook of 2012 and itfs so easy to see why, I can say it is the most touching story I have read in a long time!
Will Traynor is a wealthy businessman, a daredevil who travels the world and lives life to the full. He steps out one morning and is hit by a motorcycle, resulting in his life drastically changing, gone are the women, exotic holidays and fast motors, and instead Will is a paraplegic now dependent on others to care for him. Lou is a girl who has just lost her job, and in sheer desperation, applies to be a carer despite having no experience. Together Will and Lou face the world together with a lot of laughs, and a few tears too.
Will and Lou worked so well together, this is not your typical chick-lit love story, far from it, but somehow I felt these two were made for each other, two halves of a whole, they seemed to complete each other. They both get off to a rocky start but I found myself laughing out loud at their adventures, their banter, and shedding a tear or two as their story developed.
This is a truly wonderfully written book which touches on many difficult subjects with such sensitivity and knowledge, the struggles with disability and acceptance being prominent. We later move onto another difficult subject, and for those of you who havenft read it, I wonft spoil it for you. Although this book is a fantastic story, it also leaves you thinking and possibly debating the issues touched upon in this book for many days and weeks later, this story will truly grip you and stay with you long after you have put it down.
on 1 April 2012
Warning - contains spoilers.
Will is a thirty-five year old man, who previously had it all, but following a horrendous motorbike accident has been left a quadriplegic, completely dependent on those around him, and who has decided that his life is no longer worth living. Louisa is a twenty-seven year old working class girl with a small life and limited ambitions who becomes Will's hired companion, and becomes determined to change his mind; the problem is that she only has six months!
Not usually my type of book, and even after reading the fantastic reviews was in two minds about reading it, given the subject matter and the fact that I already knew what the ending held. So glad that I did choose to read it though, as I honestly cannot remember the last time I was so completely affected by a book! For the last three weeks I have ate, lived and breathed this book, (and the only reason it took me 3 weeks was because I didn't want to reach the end)!
Coming from a medical background, I entered this book with a firm opinion on my views regarding assisted suicide, and whilst they have not changed, I applaud Jojo Moyes for the sensitive and intelligent way she had handled a very relevant current hot topic and offered it up for debate. I think what really worked was that she drew the characters of Will and Louisa so well and made them so believable, that as a reader you could really identify with where both of them were coming from and became very invested in what happened to them. However, not only did we get Lou and Will's opinions, but also those of a whole host of other characters, which I think really helped give a wide and broad picture of the issue.
The issue of assisted suicide aside though, this book was really a story about two people and how they change each other's lives; and that was where I felt lay its real heart. The slowly evolving romance between Will and Lou is so deftly and subtly portrayed, and rings so genuine that it is a true pleasure to read and experience their journey. Here are two people from completely different backgrounds and who ordinarily would probably never have met; yet they touch each other in ways they could never have imagined. I particularly loved watching Lou grow and gain more confidence through Will's encouragement and the great imprint that he left on her.
It is the characters and their interactions which really make this book. Louisa is so brilliantly vivid, quirky and down-to-earth that you immediately become attached to her. Will is stubborn, determined, bossy, annoying; yet you can't help but fall in love with him.
Even though I was dreading the ending, and praying for a happy ever after; the actual fact was that there was never going to be one and as such I think the ending was actually the right one for the story and probably one which left a greater impression.
Overall a compelling read; one that tugs at the heartstrings and won't leave you with a dry eye by the end, but during which there are so many laughs and injections of humour at the same time, and which ultimately is uplifting! Funny, tender, evocative, enlightening and refreshing... If you want to be told something good then this story is precisely that!
on 30 May 2016
Bought this as a gift for my girlfriend and whilst she's enjoying the story there's a lot of printing errors. She's about half way through and spotted 4 already including missing pages, pages cut in half and pages stuck together. Pretty poor for such a popular novel and from such an establish publisher like Penguin
This is the first book I have read by this author, and I don't think it will be the last! I enjoyed her style of writing, and the story was a good one - lots of emotional ups and downs. I suppose the plot was a little on the obvious side, nothing really out of the ordinary for a girlie book, but I think the sensitive issues were addressed well. I can't honestly say I think it's worthy of so many 5 star ratings though - I think there are many more deserving books of such a high rating. I did enjoy this book, but I'm not sure it will stay with me for ages, or be one that I would want to re-read. I will definitely try more books by the same author, so I guess that's praise in itself!
on 28 June 2012
I bought this book based purely on the fantastic recommendations of so many people on this site and I must say I am SO glad I did, I am an avid reader and get through 3 or 4 books a week and have done for as long as I can remember and I have to say this book I cant remember the last time a book made me "feel" quite like this one,
The characters almost become real, I dont know quite how else to describe it, I felt so involved in the story and really cared about how they felt and what happened, I dont want to give any of the story away but I laughed and I definately cried, alot.
It is a beautiful story that gets right to the heart of the matter and makes you really think about life and what you want from it,
I'm not a loon, I am well aware it's a fictional story but it was one I can NOT recommend enough to anyone,
I can honestly say it is one of the most involving, well written, emotional, sweet and uplifting books I have ever read and after writing this am going straight to other books by Jojo Moyes and they will be in my basket before you know it.
Buy this book, you wont be dissapointed, I certainly wasnt. its a gem.
5 stars isnt enough. it deserves SO much more.
on 13 January 2012
Whilst I enjoyed this book, I felt it important to counter the rave 5 stars its seems to be getting, particularly as I often choose books on amazon according to their rating.
In my opinion, this book is chick lit with a twist - it was a quick read without too many surprises and whilst handling an extremely delicate subject sympathetically it lacked the depth and quality of writing I would expect from a five star book. I would recommend it for holiday or light reading.