As a fervent reader, I’ve noticed that I can often sense if I will like a book or not, from the very first few pages itself. That’s what happened with Me Before You. 10 Pages into the book, and I knew I was going to recommend this book to my friends.
Me Before You was my first book by Jojo Moyes, and I’d randomly picked it up along with 2-3 other titles, while on a family holiday in England last year. There were a few other books I wanted to read before I came around to this one, but then I saw the trailer for the movie based on it, and I decided the other books can wait.
Me Before You tells the story of a 26 year old girl named Louisa Clark who, like many girls in their mid-twenties (like myself) is still trying to figure out life. With no formal education, and a family that largely depends on her income to survive, Lou has to struggle a lot to find a decent job that would help her support herself and her family. While her professional life, or the lack thereof, generally sucks, her personal relationships with her parents, her fitness-obsessed boyfriend Patrick, and even her mildly annoying sister Katrina, are warm and amicable. Louisa herself is a bit of an oddball, with a sweet, innocent heart, and an eccentric taste in fashion.
The story starts when Lou is forced to take up a job as a carer for a quadriplegic man, who’s suffered an irreparable damage to his spine following a terrible accident. Enter Will Traynor, a 35 year old rich and handsome, but understandably miserable quadriplegic patient, who’s been dealt a bad hand by fate, and who looks ahead at a lifetime of confinement to a wheelchair. He is supported by a nurse-cum-friend Nathan, and his not-so-happily-married parents, Camilla and Steven Traynor.
Just like majority of love stories, this one too deals with a relationship between two individuals who come from different walks of life, and who end up falling for each other, despite the vast differences in their temperaments. However, what makes Me Before You unlike other typical love stories is the general lack of cheesiness and cliches which define majority of the young adult stories these days. The sentimental attachment between the two protagonists does not happen overnight, despite the sorry state of Will, but instead, is slowly and subtly developed by Jojo Moyes. Their fondness of each other is also accompanied by a mutual derision of each other’s behavior and choices, which makes their relationship more believable and enjoyable.
The turning point in the story comes when Louisa accidentally becomes aware of a particularly disturbing decision which Will has rigidly taken and forced his parents to be a part of. The remaining part of the book largely focuses on Louisa’s desperate attempts at changing Will’s mind, as she gradually discovers her own untapped potential, thanks to Will’s endless arm-twisting, and ultimately falls in love with him, and vice versa.
The conclusion of the story was sad but oddly satisfying for me. I was glad the author did not play safe and make an obvious choice when it came to the climax of the story. That way, Jojo Moyes was delightfully able to show how two polar opposite individuals could grow to love each other, without drastically changing their true nature. I know quite a few of my friends were disappointed by the way Me Before You ended, but not me. I shed my share of tears while reading the climax, but was still content with the way it ended.
So this book is for anyone who enjoys heartwarming yet believable love stories and dramas, and who’s comfortable reading about the harsh reality of a disabled person’s life. The movie adaptation of the book stars Emilia Clarke as Louisa Clark and Sam Claflin as Will Traynor, and looks promising from the trailer. I am especially excited to see Khaleesi (Emilia) and Finnick (Sam) romance each other, as it is a dream come true for anyone who loves Game of Thrones and Hunger Games. My advice though, if you are genuinely interested in the story, read the book before you see the film. Because like they say, the book is always better than the movie. Peace Out!
Here’s the trailer, for those who haven’t seen it yet.
My Ratings for Me Before You Novel- 3.5/5