Me Before You (by Jojo Moyes: Adult Fiction) © 2012

Rating: 4/5 stars

Description:  They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Review: Me Before You is a bittersweet romance, an emotional read that slowly builds until it crescendos in the epilogue. Louisa is a twenty something year old who really hasn’t given much thought with what she wants to do with her life. She goes along with her dull boyfriend and her only job experience is working at a neighborhood cafe. She feels a sense of lost when the only job she has ever known abruptly ends due to economic turmoil. Living at home with her lively working-class family in a small English town, she is keenly aware of the financial stress her family is in and she must find a job fast. She sees an advertisement for a caretaker and applies, which is where she meets Will Traynor.

Will Traynor was a former world traveler, ladies’ man and business tycoon who loved his job until a tragic accident left him quadriplegic two years ago. Once full of life and taking adventures, Will doesn’t have much to live for. He can’t stand seeing pity in people’s eyes when they look at him and hates that his situation prevents him from being self reliant. He doesn’t want his disability to define himself yet he prevents himself from improving his situation by asking for help.

Will’s magistrate mother hires Louisa at a relatively hefty salary to be Will’s caregiver and keep him company for the next six months. The relationship starts off rocking with hardly any communication between Louisa and Will, but their relationship starts to grow and affect both of their lives. Will encourages Louisa to become comfortable in her own skin, seize life, and take chances where as Louisa reintroduces happiness and human contact in Will’s life.

There is a big secret that Will has not told Louisa, but it wasn’t a surprise. As much as I knew what the secret was, I didn’t want it to be true. Moyes isn’t afraid to pull emotional punches. The injustices of the disabled that we don’t think about as able bodies are clearly brought forth and are eye opening. I did have teary moments while reading the book and dreaded reaching the end of the story. While the ending isn’t Hollywood, you really wished it was.  Despite some obviousness in the story-line, Me Before You is actually uplifting when you emotionally remove yourself and view the book as a whole. All the characters, primary and secondary, are fully drawn characters making difficult choices. The book makes you question about selfishness on various levels and whether or not it is appropriate to be selfish on occasions. Moyes is definitely a writer that I would read again.

Read-a-likes: You’re Not You by Michelle Wildgen, One Day by David Nicholls, Enough About Love by Hervé Le Tellier, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Availability: This novel is available through the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book and an eBook through My Media Mall.

Reviewed by: Rummanah

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