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12 December 2013

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publication Date: December 31, 2012
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, Book Depository
Source: Library

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
Before reading Me Before You, I was warned that this was the type of book that would have me in tears by the end of it. More than one friend had confessed that boxes of tissue were laid to waste while reading this book and another confessed to weeping – actual weeping during the reading of this book. I am not a person who cries by nature and wasn’t sure what kind of book could elicit such intense emotions from all of my friends. So it was with a little trepidation that I began Me Before You.

Me Before You takes place in a small tourist town in England. Lou is a twenty-six year old café worker who has lived in the town all her life. She is content working at the café, where she knows her job and everyone knows her. Quirky and funny, Lou is happy playing it safe. Will isn’t afraid to take risks and lives life to the fullest. Fast cars, beautiful women and extreme sports are the norm for Will until the day a tragic accident leaves him a quadriplegic. Confined to a wheelchair, Will must rely on others for most of his daily functions. Will and Lou meet when Lou loses her job and takes a position as Will’s daytime caretaker. Will’s mother thinks that Lou might be just the right person to help Will through his depression, but Lou is unconvinced.

Even all of the previous warnings about weeping and such, I wasn’t prepared for all of the emotions that would run through me as I read this book. They ran the gamut from elation and joy to panic and grief. Will and Lou are both amazing, complex characters. I felt an immediate kinship with Lou. I related to her and found my life in many ways, parallel to hers. I loved her warmth and passion. She sacrificed a lot for her family (who were pretty awful at times) and put up with Will when he was at his worst. Will could be terse and sullen but he was also charming and intelligent. He challenges Lou and believes in her when no one else does. I felt Will’s frustration and despair and grieved for the adventurous man he once was. I raged with him as he fought for control of his body and his life. Will and Lou are different in so many ways but alike in many others. I loved that they laughed together but also shared each other’s pain. Their romance never feels forced or unrealistic. Their relationship isn't always pretty, but it's honest.

Though it deals with a controversial subject, Me Before You never feels preachy or agenda ridden. It's much more than just a love story and will make you think about love, life and how we choose to look at the world. Even if you think you already know what this book is about, give it a chance. I think it will surprise you.  

This is one of the best books I have read this year. Funny, sweet, unexpected and emotionally gripping, Me Before You is a book that will stay with you long after you've put it down.

Visit the author online at www.jojomoyes.com, Facebook and follow her on Twitter @jojomoyes

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