Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You: A Novel
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.
Me Before You was an interesting read for me. It wasn't really as emotional as it should have been, but I did enjoy the topic and how the author dealt with it, how the characters talked about it. Not to say I liked all the characters and the writing felt very flat and just made me not connect like I should have. I didn't even tear up at the end. I was telling my friend about the book and how I didn't really have any emotional connection at the end and she was just like really? I can imagine I would have been bawling. Yeah, I thought I would at least tear up, especially since there are so many 5 star reviews for this book with people saying how they cried so much. But it was not to be. I suppose some spoilers as I will talk about the ending, but it is really obvious early on how it will/should end. If it would have ended different I would be writing a very angry review instead of this so so one.
Most of this story is told from Lou's point of view. There are occasional chapters from someone else and I am not really sure why. I didn't feel like they were necessary, or really added that much to the story. I do wish we would have gotten a few chapters from Will's point of view if you want to do multiple people, but alas we did not. So Lou. She is such a weak character. She just is so passive and doesn't have any hopes, dreams, or aspirations. She is with this guy who she doesn't really seem to like just because. She just floats through life not really caring about anything. Why? Well some years ago she got really drunk with some guys in the maze at the castle, passed out and woke up with no clothes on. I think the author wanted us to believe that she was gang raped by the guys, or at least Lou believes that, but I am not 100% sure why. From the way it is described she doesn't have any physical injuries or soreness, and even if she was passed out it seems like you could be able to tell if something horrible like this happened. Her clothes are in tact, her sister doesn't take her to the doctor or anything so...maybe she just got super drunk, took off her clothes in her drunken state and passed out. The guys could have just left her there. Yeah they were a little creepy, but the evidence we are given didn't really lead me to believe something super terrible happened. Lou believes it did though for some reason so now she is this weak passive girl.
Will used to have a big life. He was always traveling and doing exciting things and just had it all. Then a motorcycle accident left him in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Now since he can't do all the things he used to do life is not worth living. He tried to take his life, and wants to go away to a place that will end it for him, but his family doesn't want him to. He agrees to give his mom 6 months before ending it. I really liked some of the conversations that happened around this assisted suicide theme, though I didn't always like what Will said and why he wanted to do it. For the most part I got it. I can't imagine being in his situation. It would be really difficult for me, and while I don't think I would necessarily go the suicide route it would be hard. Living in pain, having other people do most everything for you, even simple outings being more complicated then they used to be. That and how others would treat you when you are out and just everything. Really it is the constant pain thing that I don't know how I would deal with. The slowly wasting away until you die a probably painful death. I understand not wanting to go through that. I also understand you can have a rewarding life as a quadriplegic if you want to. Will obvious doesn't. He tells Lou at one point that he is not like the people on the message boards she frequents. He knows he could have a great life in his chair, but it is not the life he wants. I can still see it, but I don't know. I can see both sides I guess which makes it hard. Also, if he would have changed his mind it would be because he wanted to be with Lou. But even though she brought light into his life and made his last 6 months better than the prior ones since the accident he doesn't want to tie her down like that. He wants more for her, more for her life. He wants her to live the life he can no longer live. To go do all the things he can't, or can't easily do. It just would be a really difficult situation.
So this book I guess is supposed to be a love story, but it wasn't really, at least to me. For me this was a story about assisted suicide. I never really saw the love between Lou and Will. I mean Lou was so blah. I could see them being friends, and I knew the author was going for her to fall in love with him from the start, but it never really worked as that kind of story for me. I am glad that Will pushed Lou, though then she just did whatever he said. I wish she would have learned to think for herself and actually figure out what she wants out of her life. At the end I felt like she was still just doing what Will wanted, and even though that would probably make her life better it still was like she was just doing what someone else wanted. She just was so passive with her own life and I just didn't really like her that much. She was good for Will though and made his last months better than they would have been.
So the end, Will dying. I am glad that is the way it ended. It really was the only ending that would have made sense with the rest of the story. If he would have lived it would have been magically the mom was able to find the one person to change Will's mind and magically make everything good enough for him to want to live. Really I wouldn't have bought that. Their connection definitely wasn't strong enough for that. I am glad he still went through with his plans. It's what he wanted and well...I can't really fault him for that. As I said above I cannot imagine being in that situation. A lot of the other characters felt it was really selfish of him to want to kill himself, to no longer want to live with the pain and sickness and everything. Well, I don't agree with them. I think it is more selfish of them to want him to continue suffering just so they don't lose him yet. This is what he wanted, what he has planned for a long time, and so I say let him do it. Just because you want someone to remain in your life doesn't mean they will. Like I said, to me this book is about assisted suicide. It is about a man who doesn't want to live with his limitations and hardships any longer. If that is what the person really wants in situations like this I am all for it. If that is what they want. Yes, I know many people live long lives with injuries similar to Will's. They still want to live. I just wish the writing would have been a bit more emotional, would have made me connect more with the characters and really feel something for them. I did enjoy the book, I did enjoy how the characters talked about what Will wanted, but I wish it would have been more. I did really like Nathan's character and his thoughts on the whole thing. Besides Will he was my favorite. An interesting read, but not amazing.
Rating: ★ ★ ★