by Jojo Moyes
Contemporary Romance/ Women's Fiction
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary: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.
Review:Me Before You is an incredible, poignant story and one I think that will stay with me for a long time. Actually I think this story has scarred me a little because I am already getting emotional as I write this review. This isn't the usual kind of book I am interested in, but I am glad I picked it up and gave it a chance.
What I found really lovely about this story is that while at first it seems like it is about how Lou changes Will's life for the better, there is this running undercurrent as the reader gradually discovers it's also the other way around as issues that seemed just quirks with Lou is revealed to have been the result of something that had a deep affect on her life and Will helps her overcome what has been holding her back. I also loved how the romance was so layered - very slow building, taking many realistic turns because it was not an easy journey for these characters. But this is a wonderful, tender story about two people getting to know each other and finding inspiration in their relationship.
I was very impressed by the realism in all the characters as well - including Lou and Will's families who are each dealing with difficult and very different situations which helped enhance the main story and gave more depth to these characters' lives. The book does change the POV sometimes to that of a different character for key scenes which I was not particularly fond of, as there were times when I definitely still wanted to remain in Lou's head. It didn't feel that necessary, except perhaps for getting into Will's mother's head. As she is faced with such a terrible situation and she puts up so many walls with Lou. But I was glad to really understand her character because she is not as cold as she sometimes seemed.
I don't know if this is a story for everyone. There are morality issues that can be difficult to deal with and understand. It is heartbreaking and emotional and there's this huge sense of calamity looming over the whole story. I often felt like taking a break from reading because I felt so saddened by the possibilities of the ending. But I didn't stop because the writing and the characters were so compelling. Despite the tragic circumstances, there is an appreciation for life that is very inspiring, and that determination to fulfill your potential is a beautiful aspect of this novel. I was really very moved by this story and I am so glad I met these characters.
(Over on The Duchesses, we reviewed this book as a group as a part of our monthly feature - Duchess High Tea. There's a little bit more flailing over the story over there!)