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.
If there is one thing that I really love it’s books that make me cry and books that make me reflect and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes made me do both in shed loads… On my Goodreads account I’ve marked this as a favourite read, but be prepared for lots of tears, remember that you’ll need a full box of man sized tissues at the ready …
This is a sad novel tackling a very difficult, controversial and sensitive issue so readers’ responses with differ greatly. It tackles the considerations of a severely disabled person, with extreme quadriplegic disability to end his young life. There is no hope of Will getting any better, he is prone to infections, needs constant care, and any outings anywhere need to be planned in advance and organised to the hilt. Perhaps at the crux of Will’s unhappiness is the freedom, the rigour, of his prior life before this horrendous accident. Will was a man who lived life to the ultimate max. Now he is unable to do anything for himself. In contrast Lou is happy to potter along to live life in her own sweet way without really pushing the boundaries of her small world, until she loses her steady job in a cafe and becomes Will’s carer. Then she discovers that perhaps her life isn’t quite as perfect as she thought, and her boyfriend Patrick isn’t either. Will may be confined to a wheelchair but he is so much more interesting and exciting than her sports obsessed boyfriend.
Of course it is a love story but it is much more than that, it is a sad tale of a multitude of responses to such a dreadful accident, with shifting POV’s to try to convey the feelings of family members and others touched by this dreadful tragedy: Will’s mother, father, and his nurse.. But, the main POV is Lou, as it should be. I did find the shifting POV’s didn’t quite work for me … I enjoyed the novel best when the novel remained in Lou’s thoughts but having said that I did see that the POV shift to her sister was needed towards the end of the novel.
Major Spoilers below:
I couldn’t really review this properly without doing a Spoiler so if you haven’t read Me Before You yet, you might want to divert your eyes at this point.
It is one of those novels that stay in your thoughts for a long time after you’ve finished reading it. You think about it, and think about it and your response may change over minutes, hours and days. So I’ve spent a fair bit of time digesting my feelings about this particular novel before reviewing it in full on this blog. In the end my conclusion is that Will wanted to set Lou free, he loved her so much. He knew she could live the big, exciting life that he couldn’t anymore, whereas if she continued to care for him she would stay still, locked in a very small world, inhabited by endless visits to the hospital, illness, and suffering. Perhaps otherwise his final decision to die would have seemed a selfish, cruel, hurtful, act. Lou made the ultimate sacrifice too, even though it caused her great pain, she supported Will’s choice to die being with him in his final moments because she loved him that much.
Ultimately even though the ending was a dreadful tragedy it left the reader with a sense of hope, of promise.
A thoroughly thought provoking, emotional read, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy. By the way there is the second book to look forward to in this series: After You.
Have you read Me Before You or its sequel? If you have let me know I’d love to hear your opinion.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx