I am a sucker for a soppy romance story, with The Notebook and Outlander including some of my favorite books, so when the film trailer for the upcoming film called ‘Me Before You‘ hit our screens in 2016 and revealed that it was actually a novel by the author Jojo Moyes, I instantly downloaded the book onto my Kindle and began reading.
The story follows the quirky and unusually dressed Louisa Clarke, who is better known to her family and friends as ‘Lou‘. After being let go from her long term job as a waitress at ‘The Buttered Bun‘ pub, Lou seeks employment elsewhere, and after experiencing the horrid night shift work in a chicken processing factory and two days training as a Home Energy Adviser, she realises that she needs something she is more cut out for. Through the help of Syed, her Personal Adviser at the Jobcentre Lou finally takes a job where she will be looking after the quadriplegic Will Traynor who was left paralyzed from a devastating motorcycle accident.
The story begins with Will acting extremely icy towards Lou. He feels that like everyone else in his life, she is pitying him due to his physical state, but after some time, Lou shows him that this is not the case and for the first time in a long time, Will see’s someone who stands up to his foul moods and treats him just like anyone else, not someone she should feel sorry for.
As the narrative progresses, we come to discover that this story has a strong focus on the rather delicate topic of euthanasia, as Lou finds out that Will has given his parents 6 months to ‘change his mind’ until he flies to Switzerland and ends his life. Euthanasia itself is a very difficult topic, and for me, it was the first book that I had read regarding this issue. I felt that Moyes wrote about it very well, as she lets us see every character’s differing viewpoints towards this subject matter and shows no bias towards one opinion. She keeps the story very open, which as a reader is really nice because you can come away with your own conclusion of whether Will’s decision is a selfish one or not.
The romantic that I am also loved the romance between Will and Lou. They are both complete opposites in every way but come together and bring out the best sides of each other that they did not even realise were there! Will encourages Lou to take advantage of her life and seize the day and pushes her to watch subtitled films, scuba dive and try all the new life experiences that she has never done before. He loves her and wants her to ‘live boldly‘ and make the most of the life she has got which he does achieve as she expresses to him, ‘I have become a whole new person because of you.’
What I also personally loved about Lou’s character was the fact that she wears whatever she wants and simply does not care what anyone thinks! From her bumble bee tights to sparkly wellies, her character is so bright, cheerful and carefree. She really highlights to the reader that it doesn’t matter what you wear or look like, as long as you are happy and comfortable that is all that really matters! Her quote of “astonishingly, not all girls get dressed just to please men” really emphasizes this and is certainly something us women (myself included) should realise!
Overall I would recommend this book to everyone! I just could not put it down and absolutely fell in love with it, experiencing every emotion possible, of which many were tears! You definitely need tissues!!! Although the main subject matter of the story is a delicate one, it really does make you sit back and think about life, as you find yourself asking ‘what if that happened to me?’. ‘Me Before You‘ is a romance book but is definitely far more realistic about life in general, as it touches on the hardships of adult working life and highlights just how quickly a life can change in a single moment. It has a clear message that you should live every day as if it were your last and fully appreciate what you have, and is a message that I try to live by every day! I urge you to go ahead and read this book, I promise you will not be disappointed!