Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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Have you ever watched a movie before you read the book?
As much as possible I try to avoid doing that. Unless it’s one of the dozens of adaptations based on Emma or Pride and Prejudice; in which case I’m sorry to say I had seen at least one movie adaptation before reading either one of those books. (My favourite Emma adaptation being Clueless.)
I picked up ‘Me Before You*‘ after stopping at a little corner store on my way to work one morning. I had heard there was some controversy surrounding the movie and I wanted to know what the fuss was all about so I bought the book. (And partly because I wasn’t interested in any of the other books they had). I added the book to my to-read pile as I was still in the middle of another one.
The following week I met up with a friend of mine for one of our regular lunch and movie dates and we decided to watch Me Before You. I’m a sucker for tearjerker type movies and I cry at everything. If that’s not you, you may not enjoy this one. [SPOILER ALERT]: Even though the movie didn’t end the way I would have liked, I mean it would have been nice if Will had changed his mind and he and Lou lived happily ever after, I still enjoyed the movie and started reading the book the following day.
So what’s Me Before You about?
Louisa Clarke is in her mid 20s, just lost her job and is looking for a new one. Will Trainor, in his mid-30s, is paralysed from the chest down after being an accident a couple years before and needs a caregiver. Even though Louisa has no experience being a caregiver she is hired by Will’s mother. Louisa discovers that Will wishes to end his life and sets about trying to change his mind.
In the movie Louisa came off as being fun and kind of silly but I didn’t get that sense in the first half of the book. I really couldn’t see Will falling in love with her in the beginning. I felt connected to the characters in the movie, and I kept holding out hope that I would eventually like the characters in the book as well. Halfway through the book I started to like them and in the end the book still made me cry. I’m fairly certain that had I not previously watched the movie I would not have liked the book as much.
What’s the deal with this book?
This book is surrounded by controversy due to the topic. Some people have the impression that the book is saying that people with disabilities should choose assisted suicide. I disagree, although since the character chooses to do that I can see how they would get that impression. This is a fictional story about one person who winds up in a wheelchair after becoming paralysed due to an accident. Everyone experiences life differently. Not everyone can “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. There are probably people out there whose experiences are reflected in the book. Just as there are people whose experiences are not. The topic was not necessarily handled well in the book, but I didn’t get the impression after reading the book that society suddenly needs to send all the people with disabilities out to be euthanized.
And seriously, half the time the disabled character can suddenly walk at the end of the movie or book. Is that better?
So who knows? I felt meh about the characters for most of the book but it still made me laugh and cry AND I’m still putting ‘After You’ (Me Before You book #2) on my to-read list. Not sure what that really says about me.
Overall, it’s fairly well-written and a good time-waster. I doubt it will change your life though. Buy it* if you want, or just borrow it from your local library.
Quote from the book I enjoyed:
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
This is one of the books I read as part of my 2016 reading challenge. You can see the prompts I’m using to choose my books (and a list of all the books I’ve read so far) by clicking the pic below to get to the post.
You can see all the other books I’ve read in the past by following me on Goodreads, or on my Books Read Pinterest board.