Let’s set one thing straight: I hate romance novels. I have nothing against the authors, I just feel there are more interesting things to read than unapologetically sappy and unrealistic storylines. Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You is not a romance, it is a revolution.
Very rarely in life does one find a book that changes them, but I will never be the same after my adventures with the Traynors and the Clarks.
The story follows Louisa Clark, a quirky and “life enriching” young woman in search of a new job to sustain her financially-struggling parents. She agrees to a job in care giving and companionship (which she’s never done before, by the way) for a stoic paraplegic who couldn’t possibly like her any less, Will Traynor. The story progresses and the two learn to live with each other and develop an unparalleled friendship. They enjoy scandalizing the upper class at weddings, and watching films which introduce Clark to an entire universe outside her one-horse town. Yes, eventually the two fall in love, but the romance enhances the book in a way that no other type of chemistry could, while rightly playing second fiddle to the heartbreaking plotline.
Everything about Moyes’ novel feels real: From the depiction of the quotidian struggles of paraplegia, Will’s attitude towards his terminal illness, to Clark’s bind optimism that things will get better. And the reality of it all is what makes it so heartbreakingly good. Expertly written, most of the book is narrated by Louisa, but the last few chapters flip between characters, so the reader gets a three-dimensional understanding of the situation, while gaining a insight to the direct thoughts and motivation of Will’s mother, and his nurse. While not all characters are loveable, they’re all believable.
Finally, Me Before You is the kind of book that makes it hard to start another book. It makes one question whether or not they’re living boldly, and calls us to do so.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
Best time and place to read it:
All at once, in your bed, surrounded by tea and tissue boxes.