Me Before You Review - How to break a heart 101
by Jojo Moyes
Published in 2012
I had heard of the book Me Before You after watching the movie starring Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin. I actually really enjoyed the movie and thought it was really romantic and lovely until we got to the end when they killed off the beautiful Sam Claflin. I don’t know if I was hoping the ending would magically change when I read the book, but I suppose I wanted to see if it was any different from the movie. I ended up enjoying a lot more than I was expecting.
Me Before You begins with 26-year old Louisa Clark working in a small, local coffee shop until she is put out of the job. She lives at home with her parents and sister, who is the favorite of the family. She doesn’t have many qualifications and can’t afford to be without a job so she begins hunting for a new job. After several failed attempts, she manages to land a job as a caretaker. It isn’t until she arrives at the home that she realizes she wouldn’t be taking care of some old, senile man but instead a handsome, witty, and angry young quadriplegic named Will who was crippled in a motorcycle accident. Even though she’s never had experience as a caretaker before, his mother, Camilla, hopes that Louisa could cheer her son up and bring some light to his day.
Things go off to a rocky start as Will is just mean and angry every time Louisa sees him. Will still isn’t over his accident that disabled him and uses his anger as a guard for his bitterness. When he learns that his ex-girlfriend is now engaged to his best friend, he officially cuts himself off from any of his friends. However, little by little Louisa begins chipping away at that hard exterior to find a man who is sweet and thoughtful. She later finds scars on his wrist and finds out that Will intends to follow through with Dignitas for assisted suicide after 6 months because he feels like the quality of his life is never going to be the same as it once was. Louisa is horrified but decides that she is going to try to help improve Will’s mind so that he can change his mind.
The first few outings are failures but eventually Will begins enjoying himself and his time with Louisa as the chemistry between them increases. Louisa was dating her boyfriend Patrick but decides to end things due to her feelings with Will and never having had that same chemistry with Patrick. Will’s parents decide to hire Louisa’s father to work for them as well as she begins nearing the end of her contract as she realizes Will might still mean to continue with his original plan. They go on a holiday together to a beautiful beach when Louisa confesses her love for Will. Just as Will is about to tell her about Dignitas, she lets him know that she already knows but that if he changes his mind she can make the rest of his life happy. He tells her that he does love her but can’t live the rest of his life in a wheelchair and won’t change his mind for her. Louisa leaves and returns to her family. As much as she wanted to never speak to Will again, she decides to support him in his decision. It is revealed after Will’s death that he left behind a letter and small inheritance for Louisa to travel and live a more meaningful life.
Final Rating & Thoughts: 7/10
I thought I wasn’t going to like this book, but it had a nice charm about it. Louisa Clark in particular was such a cute and charming character and was immediately extremely like-able. From her quirky personality to her eccentric clothes, she draws readers into seeing how she will navigate life after losing her job at the coffee shop because she’s not the traditional working professional that is wanted for jobs. She’s clumsy and different, so when she gets the caretaker job for the wealthy, private family, I am already thinking what kind of catastrophes are ahead. Even though Will had that tough and angry exterior in the beginning of the book, it is clear that it is just the way he expresses his angst. Jojo Moyes does an excellent job with Will’s character and displaying his bitterness and how difficult he makes it being around him so that he can be left alone. Even when he’s being cruel to Louisa, the reader can clearly see he is just in pain. I also enjoyed the different failed escapades they did where no matter what Louisa did, everything just went wrong.
The main thing I didn’t like about Me Before You really was the ending. I had been rooting for #TeamLouisaandWill and to see that it didn’t work out for them was such a bummer. I also understood where Will was coming from that his quality of life changed after the accident, however I didn’t understand enough to support his decision because he could have been happy with Louisa, even if it wasn’t in the same life he had before. I also felt completely heartbroken for Louisa because after that horrible relationship with Patrick, I thought she would finally get a chance of a happy ending with the man she loved. However, I respected her for supporting Will’s decision because it really showed how much she had grown from the beginning of the book to becoming this strong independent woman at the end. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to others! I found the love and romance that blossomed between the two main characters felt realistic and endearing.