Book Reviews

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

L1040323Me Before You is set in the present day and ties in with the When Are You Reading? Challenge I am taking part in.

Lou Clark lives in a small town and enjoys working in The Buttered Bun café. But when she loses her job, she becomes a carer and her path crosses with Will Traynor. Will’s life has changed dramatically since a fateful road accident two years ago left him injured. He pushes everyone away from him and has lost all hope. Lou brings a spark of joy back into Will’s life and she soon realises that her role is more than an ordinary carer. The stakes are high for Lou to transform Will’s view of the world. Yet neither of them could have imagined how they will change each other forever.

One of the main messages of this book which I enjoyed the most is striving to reach your full potential. It’s something which struck a chord with me even after I finished reading the novel.

Lou is a likeable female protagonist. Her heart is in the right place when it comes to organising activities for Will, but unfortunately things don’t always go to plan. She frequently says that her sister is the smart one, but Lou has a determination and charming nature which comes in handy many a time. She goes on a learning curve and there is great character development.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where one of the main characters is physically disabled. Will is quadriplegic and I feel that I’ve learnt a lot more about this condition after reading this book. Kudos to Jojo Moyes for bringing disability to the forefront. Will’s experiences in this book highlight that there is still a stigma attached around disability. He sometimes feels invisible and his frustration is understandable because no one asks him what his opinion is. Will is quick-witted and has a dark sense of humour.

Lou and Will have an endearing and sweet relationship. You can see that they only want the best for each other. Lou tries to convince Will that his life is worth living. Will in turn challenges Lou to do things outside of her comfort zone: he does not want her to waste her life.

Me Before You explores a complex moral dilemma in an accessible and measured way. Lou’s opinion gradually changes and so does mine. Strangely, I didn’t cry. Maybe it’s partly because some of the review snippets included in this book mentioned that this is a tear-jerker and I had a contrary reaction, like Will might do.

My rating: ★★★★☆

*Please note: there are spoilers in the comments below*

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  1. Personally, I thought bringing disability to light in commercial fiction is commendable and difficult.

    But I read a review recently that made me think — some critics claim that the only people with disability in the book die — the teenage football player whose article inspired Will to go to Switzerland and Will — that’s why some have a problem with the story. I hadn’t thought of it that way before.

    However, that argument hasn’t changed my love I have for this story.

    1. That’s an interesting point, Erin. I hadn’t thought of it that way before either. I guess this book presents one perspective of one disabled man’s life. Reading up on this online, I learnt that Jojo Moyes wanted to illustrate the way society treats disabled people differently, when in fact they are just like us. Thanks for sharing!

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