Review – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Me Before You by Jojo MoyesTitle: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
ISBN: 9780670026609
No. of Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 31 December 2012
Bottom Line: The best book I read in all of 2013
Synopsis:

“Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never 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, 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?”

Thoughts: There are some books that strike a chord with a reader for some unknown reason. Perhaps it is the reader’s frame of mind; perhaps it is something that is occurring in the reader’s life that resonates with the plot of the story. Other times, it is nothing more than the right book at the right time, reasons be damned. For me, Me Before You was such a book.

Me Before You is a beautiful book. Lou is one of the best heroines created in a long time. She is vibrant, creative, and strong but so vulnerable and lost. Will may be prickly, but his reasons for being so are completely justified. His accident was horrific, but his life after his accident is the epitome of tragic. Then again, so is Lou’s once one discovers her secret past. Their story together is exceedingly emotional, and one expects plenty of tears.

However, for me, Me Before You did not just cause tears; it caused floods of them – huge wracking sobs that lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes AFTER I finished the book. It took me an hour after finishing the book to settle down enough to move on to something else. Gut-wrenching is not an adequate adjective to describe just how much this book ripped me apart. Yet, I cannot tell you why. Yes, it is sad and what happens is beyond comprehension to some extent. However, why this story affected me more than any other tearjerker read over the years, I have no clue. All I know is that I typically do not cry over books. I may shed a tear or two or get choked up for a bit but never for long and never once the book ends. Me Before You was a surprise, not only for its heart-wrenching story about love and loss, personal choices, and the cost of letting go, but also because of the atypical, violent emotional response it caused within me.

Even now, I find myself dwelling on the issues brought to light by Will’s and Lou’s choices, questioning whether I would have the strength to respect my own son’s wishes like that or if I too would fight with every weapon in my arsenal. Would I feel the same way if I were in Will’s position? What if it was my own husband? I know how he feels about being reliant on others and the entire right-to-die argument, so could I stand by as he makes his own decision? The questions continue to ping around my brain as I struggle to put into context everything Will and Lou experience.

All I can say for certain is that the combination of some of the sweetest prose written, characters that played on my every emotional chord while remaining utterly real, and a storyline that haunts and pokes and tests readers left me absolutely devastated, a dried-out husk of my former shelf. It is one of those rare and unforgettable books that will forever change me in both large and minute ways, whether it is a greater comfort in wearing what I want without catering to convention or a greater insight into how to act around people with disabilities. For me, Me Before You is without a doubt the best book I read in 2013 if not the last five years and will easily make the top 5 list of all-time favorite books. Just don’t ask me to explain in detail why.

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18 Responses to Review – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  1. Cassie
    January 17, 2014 | 7:08 AM

    I love that you felt the same way I did. This book was beautiful emotional and provoked me to keep thinking about how I really feel. I can’t wait for more from Jojo!

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:22 PM

      I read one of her other novels before I read this one and was not impressed. I need more novels by Moyes to determine if Me Before You was a one-time exception or if she really is that excellent a writer.

  2. Tea Time with Marce
    January 17, 2014 | 9:47 AM

    Wow, that is a review that makes me stop and think. I haven’t read any of her books but I think you just made me decide I need to read this.

    It is amazing how some books have an affect on you without really knowing why.

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:24 PM

      Yes. I knew when I finished it that there was no way I was going to be able to put into words what I was feeling. I even contemplated not writing a review because my reaction was so personal. I can’t guarantee that everyone is going to have an ugly cry while reading it, but it is a profoundly emotional novel. Just outstanding.

  3. Andi @ Estella's Revenge
    January 17, 2014 | 11:57 AM

    YAY! I adored this book. I never would’ve picked it up without my book club, and it brought on the ugly cry for me, too. The characterization was top-notch and the plot really touched me.

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:24 PM

      My heart still aches for Will and Lou. I think it is going to do that for a long time.

  4. susan
    January 17, 2014 | 3:04 PM

    Wow Michelle I’m glad this book had the same effect on you as it did on me. I found it quite touching & beautiful. The ending was harsh but also real too. See my thoughts of it at http://www.thecuecard.com/node/778

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:26 PM

      I think the ending is what did it for me. The choices, all of them crappy, just felled me. It was a shocking ending in some regards, but it was the right one regardless of feelings about it.

  5. Julie
    January 17, 2014 | 4:05 PM

    I know you read some great books in 2013, so for you to say this is your favorite, is wonderful.

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:26 PM

      I know. Yet, it is the one book that stands out among the crowd for the entire year. Fancy that.

  6. Kailana
    January 17, 2014 | 7:30 PM

    I have been hearing really good things about this book and plan to read it sooner rather than later. :)

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:26 PM

      Definitely read it sooner rather than later. It is that awesome.

  7. Carrie K.
    January 18, 2014 | 11:35 AM

    Yep. What you said.

  8. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader
    January 18, 2014 | 12:02 PM

    It’s the BEST when a book hits you like that! Ahhhhh, isn’t being a reader the best thing ever?

    • Michelle
      January 19, 2014 | 2:27 PM

      Yes. Yes, it is. I’ll take an ugly cry and a moment of profound awareness brought on by a book any day!

  9. Jenni
    January 22, 2014 | 9:11 AM

    Now I’m going to be waiting for my library hold even more impatiently :)

    • Michelle
      January 22, 2014 | 9:52 AM

      Hopefully you don’t have to wait too long! It is THAT good!

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