ME BEFORE YOU
By: Jojo Moyes
Rating: 4/5 ⭐️’s
Synopsis: Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
It feels like someone stabbed my heart, carved it out, squeezed out all the blood (watching it drop onto the floor drip by drip), then let it fall onto the floor and stepped on it.
One of the terrible things about not being able to cry when you read/watch something sad is that you’re left with a painful ache in your chest and throat. All you want to do is crawl into a ball in the corner of a room and rock yourself and repeat over and over again “It’s going to be okay”.
One of the reasons I don’t read contemporary is because the book either ends quite predictably (where the couple falls in love/realizes the other person is his/her soul mate) OR it ends tragically and leaves you thinking and reconsidering life (which can be kind of depressing).
As I’m sitting here writing this, all I can think of is what would I do? What would I do if I were Will? What would I do if I were Lou? What would I do if I were Mr. or Mrs. Traynor, or Georgina? I know my answer if I were Will, but if I were Lou…I don’t know. I’ve never been in love IRL. I’ve fallen in “love” with many characters in books, but it’s definitely not the same thing. What would I do? This will probably keep me up all night for a few days now.
Jojo Moyes writing is just beautiful – it flows like poetry, like classical music (*cue tears for those who’ve read this book*). The words provided just the perfect amount of information to transport me into this world. They’re filled with emotion, thoughtfulness, and just the perfect balance between happy, squealing moments, and sad, heart-wrenching moments.
I loved each character (except for Patrick), but especially Lou. She changed so much throughout the book and not in a “bad” way – what I mean by that is, her character development wasn’t driven by falling in love with someone. It was like the gradual unveiling of who she could be – her “potential” (*cue more crying*). She remained true to her character. Like Will said, “…there is a hunger in you, Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do.”
This is such a wonderful lesson for everyone. It definitely has made me rethink my choices in life – not everything is black and white. There is a little room for colour, adventure, and “fearlessness”.
Jojo Moyes has made me fall in love with contemporary! I’m definitely going to read more of her books at some point. Though I might pick up something a bit happier before I do.