Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You has been surrounded by hype since publication and particularly since the film release this year. I saw reviewers I follow on Goodreads expressing how they had cried at how emotional this novel was. So I geared myself up for a weep fest.
However, what I mostly felt was that this novel was particularly engaging. Louisa’s attempts to change Will into a happier person reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. It is a romance story first and foremost. The sadness for me came much later.
When eccentric Louisa Clark loses her job at the cafe near her childhood home she accepts the job as carer to Will Traynor on a six month contract. With no experience of caring for anyone except herself before, Louisa expects to find a doddery old man in a wheelchair. Nobody is more surprised than her, then when she discovers that Will is in fact an attractive man in his 30s, injured so badly in an accident that he has become a quadriplegic; with no use of his arms and legs. Grumpy and fed up with what he views as a waste of life, Will doesn’t want companionship or even to live at all. But with Louisa’s help he begins to thaw and experience life again.
This was for me, a book without sympathy. Rather than feeling sorry for Will I felt that I was part of his fight. Part of Louisa’s fight to make him better. I was rooting for them, shipping them, a whirlwind of feisty emotion. Jojo Moyes deals with more than one sensitive issue in this book with perfect clarity and understanding, showing the two sides of the coin and providing a story and a choice without judgement.
I can’t wait to start the second one!