Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Recently unemployed Louisa takes a job as a caregiver rather reluctantly. She is to care for Will, who was struck by a motorcycle and is now a C5-6 quadriplegic. The pair initially don’t take to each other but become friends, and even begin to love each other, after some time. Louisa learns rather quickly that Will intends to commit medically assisted suicide because he does not want to continue living in a wheelchair. Louisa is determined to change his mind.
I really rather enjoyed this book, I don’t think I was as deeply touched or even sobby as many of my other friends were, but I still really liked it. I thought Louisa and Will had a great chemistry, I also enjoyed the fact that the book tackled such a controversial subject. I know that this book is quite controversial because many people view it as encouraging people who are wheelchair bound to commit suicide, which I didn’t really find to be the case, but I certainly understand that I can’t really understand what this book would be mean to someone who is, like Will, in a wheelchair because I am able bodied.
I’ve always heard this book sold as a romance, as if the focus of the book is the developing romantic relationship between Louisa and Will, but I didn’t find this to be the case. To me the romance was a nice addition to the book, but really the focus is more of the friendly relationship between Louisa and Will, and the discussion of the right to die with dignity. I found the chemistry between Louisa and Will to be really compelling, it really drives the entire book and hooks you in. Beyond any kind of romance, the two characters just have an undeniable chemistry as friends. They have a great sort of banter throughout the book that really keeps everything moving along. While Louisa inevitably falls in love with Will she cares so deeply for him even before that. It’s really touching.
I think it’s great that Moyes chose to write about something as controversial as assisted suicide. I haven’t really encountered any other books about it at all. I liked that the book tackled the issue from many directions, presenting a variety of points and counter-points about assisted suicide. I’m not super well versed in the arguments for either side of the discussion, but I think Moyes presented some good, diverse arguments. I understand the controversy about this arguments but I don’t really have an opinion on any of it, I don’t think my opinion matters much anyways as an able bodied person.
I wouldn’t say the writing is amazing in this book, it does fall back on a lot of the romance novel cliches at times. I still quite liked the writing, it wasn’t the best but it certainly had a charm and a smoothness to it that really kept the book moving along nicely.
I would say this it worth a read, it’s a moving story and tackles an interesting subject. It might be well worth reading other books about assisted suicide as well to get a more well rounded sort of view on things.