Me before you is the first book in a duology written by the best selling British Author Jojo Moyes. This novel was first published in 2012. It tells the story of a twenty-six year old young lady with the name of Louisa Clark ,who had a calm life in a small town, and did not feel annoyed of living the same routine every day. She had the same job (waitress in a coffee shop) and the same boyfriend for the last six years. Until the day she was obliged to find a new job, because the café had been shut down, a turning point that changed Lou’s life.
As a reader who reads fiction books to escape reality, I was amazed by how much I loved this novel despite that it felt so real and did not allow me for one second to leave planet earth. Through the eyes of Louisa Clark I have seen it all in twenty-seven chapters: happiness, sadness, love, sacrifice, and change. Like Louisa’s and Will’s love, my love to this novel was not instant, but once I got a little bit deeper in the story I could not put my e-reader down.
After losing her old job, Louisa had to find another one, and the best she could find was a six-month contract to take care of a quadriplegic. Because of an accident, Will Traynor (35 years old) became paralyzed from the neck down, and had to be assisted 24/7. Not the best job that Louisa could dream of, but that is all what she could find for the moment. Before the accident (which was two years before Lou lost her job at the café) Will was a wealthy hard working young man who liked to enjoy his life to its fullest: he traveled to different places and went on many adventures, nothing that he would not try.
With a life changed forever, how is Will going to bear that?
If you have not read “Me before you” yet, and you are still keeping it in your TBR, what are you waiting? Stop here (spoiler alert) and go read it. If you want to wait for the movie, then I have to tell you: lazy, you are lucky because the movie is coming out this June, but you are missing a good story.
If you have already read the book, like me, then I do not have to tell you what happened, I will just move to the part where I go dramatic and say why this book went straight up to the top of my favourite books list.
First, the title: “Me before you” can be defined in different ways. It depends on how everyone sees it. For me, Me Before you means: how I was before I met you. How both Lou and Will were before they met each other, we could see how they both could make a difference in the other’s life. Because of Louisa Will could finally find love again, and be happy after two horrible years, even if it was just for six months. Louisa became a new person: she had goals and worked hard to reach them, and she tried a lot of new things that she could never imagine herself doing. After checking Goodreads, I found another meaning to the title, which also made perfect sense: myself before yours. It makes both of the main characters seem selfish, and yes they actually were! In some ways, since Lou would not let Will commit his assisted suicide because she loves him and she wants to be with him. On the other hand, Will would not give up on the idea of giving up on his life to stay with Lou who considered him the love of her life.
Second, the fact that I could not take sides. I could not be 100% with one character, and prefer one of them over the other: both Will and Louisa were right! Jojo Moyes could explain everyone’s reasons perfectly that I could not just say: Will should live for Lou, because I knew that Will can never bear such a life. At the same time, I could not say that Louisa asking Will to give up on the idea of dying, to be with her, was wrong. Because, she could make him happy and do anything to make him feel good about his new life (and she actually did)
Third, most of the story was told from Louisa’s point of view, but some parts were told by Camilla Traynor ( Will’s mother) and Treena ( Louisa’s sister) which were kind of the bad characters sometimes. Again, Jojo Moyes could let us read their minds, that I ended up totally agreeing with them.
Finally, that little plot twist that you read between the lines: While Lou was the one supposed to make Will accept his new life and live it, Will was the one to give her a whole new life, and show her new things. He was the one to give her her life back, while it was supposed to be the opposite!
To conclude, Me Before you is more than just a love story. It discusses different topics: Euthanasia, family, money, and community. Whoever reads it goes on a rollercoaster of emotions that would only go up.