Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
I came into this book fully expecting a poignant love story that defies all the odds. I could not have been more wrong.
When we meet Louisa, or Lou, she is an unemployed young woman in her mid-20’s living at home with her parents. She is perfectly content to stay in her small town for the rest of her life, and is in a dead-end relationship with a man she has nothing in common with. She gets a job caring for Will Traynor, an ex career shark and adrenaline junkie who is paralyzed in most of his body. He ultimately teaches her to come out of her shell and to not be afraid of the world around her, all while falling in love with one another.
I relate to Lou in so many ways, the first being that she is an unemployed young woman in her mid-20’s living at home with her parents. (Lol.) I know the struggle of looking for a job, and finding that you generally seem to be under-qualified for the job for which you are applying. I know the frustration of wanting to be so much more than what I currently am, and settling for jobs that are below my own skill level simply for the sake of having money coming in. Like Lou, I tend to get stuck in my own comfort zone. I don’t like change, and I am very cautious in personality so I tend to not take risks even when they might benefit me. Even the story of the maze got to me, while I may not have been in that same situation, I understand the fear and mistrust that comes with it. Your body is the one thing you feel like you can control, and when that control is taken away… What are you left with?
This story resonated with me, not only for the storyline and the characters I came to love, but because Lou’s life so closely paralleled my own. I don’t want to go as far as to say that the book changed my life, but it definitely opened my eyes to the reality of my situation. I have been feeling stuck for so long, like I am running as fast as I can and I’m not getting anywhere. Reading this book (along with some other events) was the push that I needed to get myself on track. Like Lou, I may not know where I am going yet, but I’m excited for the journey.
A few other notes:
The ending did not make me cry. (Probably because I’m a robot.) While the scene with Lou pouring her heart out to Will and him telling her that she wasn’t enough broke my heart, it wasn’t enough to make me physically cry. (Beep boop.) I teared up a bit when he asked for his parents at the very end, simply because I can’t imagine what they were going through. For the record, while I respect the choice that he ultimately made, I did NOT agree with it. Suicide is one of the most selfish things a person can do, and I don’t think I would be able to stand by while someone I loved ended their life.
I was definitely angry, I hated the ending because I just wanted them to end up together. (May or may not have thrown my book across the room in protest.) But I wasn’t surprised, I knew that it was coming. This book wasn’t about trying to spark Will’s will to live, it was about sparking Louisa’s. It was Louisa who needed the push to spread her wings and Will was part of her journey.
10/10 Moyes! Can’t wait to read After You!