Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A touching, emotional, yet ultimately uplifting story about an unlikely relationship.Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I was very suspicious about this book. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t like it.
It wasn’t my normal genre AT ALL and its horrendous chick-lit cover (not the one you see pictured, I like this one better) was so cringe-inducing I barely had the willpower to pick it up. BUT, I knew it was a popular bestseller with an upcoming movie, and the book was bought for me by one of my best bookish friends and she had only glowing things to say. So, I took a deep breath, tried to keep an open mind, and settled down with a cup of tea and a blanket.

Lou Clark knows lots of things.
She knows how many footstepts 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.

I wasn’t converted by Me Before You straight away, and everything about it seemed unremarkable initially. However, Moyes slowly drew me in. Her writing was so easy to read that 100 pages could slip by in what seemed like a minute but was actually an hour. Moyes has subtle writing that is intent mainly on telling the story but scattered within there are some beautiful, understated descriptions, and she has the ability to truly capture moments full of wonder, hope and love. So, while I wouldn’t call Moyes the best writer in the world, she definitely has a talent for sweeping you up in a whirlwind of emotions, and she also has that rare magic that lets the reader become part of the story, without the author’s presence being felt.

Me Before You contains a lot of elements that will make it universally enjoyable to most people. We start with a quirky 26yr old girl who is down on her luck and has just lost her job, a job that she loves and has put six years into. Of course, she is devastated. Even considering that she’s living in a multigenerational household with her parents, grandad, sister and her sister’s child, money is incredibly tight for all of them, so Lou finds herself down at the job centre faced with numerous unappealing jobs like working at the chicken factory. After trying and failing at several of these, she ends up with a caring job with a six month contract that she has no qualifications for because the pay is unbelievably good.
Here enters the incredibly rich, arrogant and entitled, not to mention good looking, Will, who is a quadriplegic confined to a chair almost completely paralyzed. He is undeniably rude, snapping and making snide comments at everything Lou says or does. He’s a Mr. Darcy if ever I saw one. However, knowing they will be spending every day with each other, the two form an uneasy coexistence, which eventually develops into a tentative friendship.

This is a quiet novel that creeps up on you. It doesn’t shout out wanting to be noticed and it isn’t heavy with its themes or morals, but it becomes steadily more addictive the further into it you get. I couldn’t put it down. Both main characters are individual and easy to relate to, complimenting each other in different ways. While Lou is desperate to make depressed Will realise that life is worth living, even if he’s stuck in a chair and cannot do the things he used to be able to do, Will is determined to inspire Lou to do the same thing but in a different way. He hopes to make her find her inner wanderlust and is intent on getting her to see beyond the realms of her very contained, restricted life, where she is doing mediocre jobs despite her intelligence, and is failing the experience life outside her small town.

I also loved the way this book explored the idea of euthanasia and assisted suicide, and why people may consider it. For Will, being confined to a chair with zero hope of recovery and with, if anything, a likely decline in his condition, as well his proneness to infection and his inability to do anything for himself, makes this an appealing possibility, despite everyone around him objecting. It was interesting – as someone who has always been for euthanasia – to see how different characters reacted to the idea being discussed, and the reasons for their feelings. I felt that Moyes dealt with the subject in a mature and sensitive manner, and was really impressed.

However, the main reason to read this book is not for the plot (which is quite simplistic and predictable) but for the characters, which are so well crafted. I immediately felt a kind of kinship with Lou, who at 26, is totally confused about what she should be doing with her life while also worrying about providing for her family, and whether her boyfriend is truly ‘the one’. These are all very typical chick-lit tropes, but somehow Moyes prevents it from feeling contrived. I thought it was great that Lou dressed like she had raided a charity shop, and felt frustrated when her parents favoured her sister. And as the story goes on, more truths about Lou are revealed that make her a unique character.

In contrast, I didn’t like Will at all at first, he was so horrendous! So resentful of his situation, bitter about what he had lost, rude to those who were only trying to help. But through the help of Lou, his walls are slowly broken down and you see more of the man behind the situation. I loved the banter between the two characters and found myself snorting with laughter and beaming. I cried tears of happiness and sadness as events unfolded, and found a strange beauty in the fact that if it hadn’t been for Will’s condition, the two never would have met and formed such a beautiful relationship.

Overall, Me Before You is a memorable, heartfelt read that will have you pondering the lives of the characters well after the last page. It’s up there with the great romantic tear jerkers of our time and I dare you to make it through this book without experiencing the emotional roller coaster of feels! I would recommend Me Before You to hopeless romantics of all ages, or to anyone who is just interested in the way our relationships with people develop and evolve. Me Before You is truly one of those books that manages to transcend its genre boundaries making it appealing to pretty much anyone, and I think that’s the sign of a truly good book.

 

Writing Style: 5/5
Originality: 3/5
Entertainment: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Overall: 5/5

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22 thoughts on “Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Review 5/5

  1. Ahhhh SO thrilled that you enjoyed this! I always assumed that it was a book you’d never get around to reading but I’m indescribably happy that you have 😉 It’s full of so many life affirming quotes and made me feel all the feels. I think it’s the only book that literally made me sob.

    Not sure if I’m emotionally stable enough for the film, but I’m excited nevertheless! Fabulously honest review, as always 🙂

    • ME TOO. I really wasn’t expecting too. And you’re exactly right, it’s the kind of book that normally sits on my shelf unread forever. BUT, it seemed like the perfect book to pick up when I was recovering from my kidney infection, easy to read and very absorbing. 🙂

      I know, right?! I’m not ready to be wrecked again so soon. 😦

      Thank you, lovely!

  2. I read this not long ago and rated it 5/5 too! Which I was REALLY surprised about because I’m only just getting into contemporary, so I didn’t think I’d like it all that much.

    • Yes, it definitely is one of those stories where you know what’s going to happen from day one, normally I like to be surprised but somehow it worked with this book for me. 🙂

      Yes, nothing like a romance that starts with lots of sass and the two people disliking each other!

  3. Beautiful review, Becky! I recently finished reading this one as well, and I still haven’t really found the words to compose a review just yet. But I agree with almost everything you said. Will isn’t a character I’m normally sympathetic towards; I don’t like bitter characters like him. But he really grew on me towards the end. Now I can’t wait to see the film this summer! 🙂

    • Thank you, Summer! Yes, it was a bit of a difficult one to review, especially as it’s hard not to reveal a massive spoiler when really it’s ALL you want to talk about. 😛
      Yes, Will was really well crafted, I was amazed by how quickly my opinions changed of him. Very sneaky!
      Agreed, the film looks amazing. 🙂

  4. I hadn’t heard of this one and now your review wants to make me run out and get it!
    I can get over a plot that’s only so so if the characters are vivid. I do like the sound of these guys.

  5. AHHH Oh my gosh I love this book sooo much!!! When I read it, I instantly fell in love with the whole novel in general. I always wanted to look into Moye’s other books, just never got around to it. I recommended this book to a friend, who read it and loved it as well. When she told me that there is a movie in the making for this book I was freaking out! Can’t wait to watch it.

    • I’m glad you love it as much as I do! It’s awesome. 🙂 I was so surprised. Yes, agreed. I’ve been wondering if I should try some of her other books as well.
      I’m really looking forward to the movie as well, fingers crossed neither of us are disappointed!

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. 🙂

  6. Great review! It made me curious about it again. Several people on booktube were talking about it last year and that sparked my interest but then I started to think it might be too much of a chick lit and I might not enjoy reading it. But I like the points you highlighted here about the confused 26-year-old and euthanasia, which I’ve never though out deeply before. Yep, curious now.

    • Thanks, Zezee! Yes, I remember everyone going crazy about it last year, and my Goodreads feed was full of reviews and progress updates. I always assumed it would be a book that I never picked up because it wasn’t really my genre, (to be honest, I didn’t even know what it was about, I didn’t bother to look into it) but now I’m glad my friend bought it for me. 🙂

      Glad I got you curious! 🙂

  7. Hi my name is georgia. I really enjoy your blog, and I noticed that you get a lot of comments on your reviews. I too have a blog but nobody seems to be commenting, do you have any tips or advice on why that may be happening?

    • Hi, Georgia. 🙂 Thank you very much!

      The comments on my blog do vary a lot – for instance, well-known books like this one get a lot more responses. The one piece of advice I always give to people who want more comments is to visit other blogs and leave meaningful comments. I can honestly say that 90% of the people that follow me and engage on my blog have popped over here because I’ve visited theirs first, and over the years, it’s slowly built up! It can take a while, but you’ll build a much more loyal following that interact with you, rather than having people follow you and you never hearing from them again. The hardest thing about building a blogging following is being found because there’s so much noise on the internet! So unless you’re super good at CEO and marketing, I think that’s the best way to do it. It also helps if you end your post with a question to ask the people reading.

      Hope that helps. Good luck, you can do it! 🙂

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