Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
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 barely 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.
A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Me Before You is a novel that has been taking over the internet of late, mostly due to the fact that a movie adaptation of it has just been released. It was because of this hype that I decided to pick the book up, despite the fact that I am a sucker for tragic romances; however, as soon as I turned the last page I tried to convince myself that I had missed something because I didn’t feel the connection to this novel that so many other readers have. But to my defense, this book has been compared widely to The Fault In Our Stars, and in some cases even better than The Fault In Our Stars, and this novel just did not meet up to my expectations. In my opinion, these two novels aren’t comparable whatsoever. There is a difference between a disease that is killing a character, and a character who wants to go through with assisted suicide. Not to mention that John Greens’ and Jojo Moyes’ writing style are one hundred percent different.
If we look at Jojo Moyes writing itself, it is clear that she is a clean, proper author. She doesn’t over describe and clearly has a strong grasp on the reality of her characters. Not once did I question the validity of her characters, and this is a very valuable comment coming from me because I can be very nit picky when it comes to character development and likeness. But even though Moyes’ characters were realistic and practically jumping off of the page, her plot lacked in terms of predictability.
Now, let’s forget the fact that the ending of this book (and the movie) has been spoiled for most of its audience. But even if I didn’t know the outcome of this novel I could have guessed it from page one, and I did. The ending to this novel is not good, and I think that Moyes cheated her readers out of a proper ending. I know that she wanted to be realistic when it came to Will and his needs as if he were real, because no one can change a suicidal person’s mind if they are so deep in a depression that no one else’s opinion can overcome their own. But when it came down to it, Will’s relationship with Louisa was not romantic. He did not give her a chance and decided that she wasn’t good enough for him to want to live. He was selfish and didn’t give her a chance to show him a better life. Will was too proud to accept the life he had been given, and while I do empathize with his disability and its affect on his mental state, his character was too brutish for me to like. He did not treat Louisa well when she was his caregiver (having been a caregiver myself I know how aggravating it can be when those who you are caring for don’t treat you well) and instead of urging her to do more with her life, I felt like he broke her. She put her heart and soul into trying to change his mind and save him, but he just pushed her away in the end. I don’t see Will as a differently abled character, I see him as a proud, dominant man whose personality is not likable. The entirety of this novel was a different take on the “woman trying to change a man” story line, and that story line is not one that I am fond of.
Now, with that all said, I did enjoy the side characters in this story. I thought that Louisa’s relationship with her family was endearing and not something that I see much in literature, or real life for that matter, anymore. They were so supportive of Louisa, and I thought that it was heartbreaking that she was the sole source of income for her family. I think that this did play a big part in why she stayed working with Will, and that is very understandable. Louisa in herself was a strong female character who marched to her own beat, and I did love that. Her character is brilliant, but in the end she jumped out of one oppressive relationship (with her boyfriend Patrick) and into another (with Will). I can admire how she did seem to become more independent after knowing Will, but through the majority of their relationship he verbally abused her and belittled her and because of that form of abuse I cannot idolize or admire this novel. In the end, I hate to say it, but it sent a bad message. Women shouldn’t be taught to learn how to change men, no matter their abilities, and I hope that isn’t the idea that is being taken away from this novel by young women everywhere.
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