Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin Books
First published: 2012
Blurb: 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.
History of my copy: I got this book last Friday at Tesco for only £2.85, as I used a World Book Day token. I also bought Our Endless Numbered Days and In the Heart of the Sea.
Perhaps I should mention right now that I’m not a fan of romance books. Sure, like most teenage girls, I do love an adorable couple but I need a story that doesn’t revolve around that. I knew from the start that Me Before You was not my kind of book, but its huge popularity made me give in and give it a go.
Oh how I regret that. I naively believed that there would be something more to this book, but I was wrong. I think people are selfish, and love is overrated, and true love certainly doesn’t exist so this entire book just seemed so fake and forced to me.
Plot: The majority of this book takes place over a six-month period in which Louisa Clark, bubbly, stuck-in-a-rut girl takes a job caring for Will Traynor, ex-businessman who is now a quadriplegic. She later discovers that she Will is going to end his own life, and she begins planning adventures to get him to change his mind. Of course, as these kinds of books always go, she falls in love with him. And, shock horror SPOILER ALERT (although is it really a spoiler when I saw it a mile off?) she fails. I now feel like I have just wasted hours reading a book that nothing really happens in.
Setting: Perhaps the one redeeming factor of this book is its settings. Moyes has done her research regarding quads and their needs. The places that Will, Lou and sometimes medical helper Nathan go to, are unique, interesting and seriously? I’m surprised they didn’t change Will’s mind. Even just the generic countryside was made to feel something a little special.
Characters: Cliché doesn’t begin to sum up all the characters in this book. None of them felt particularly different to what I’ve seen before, and I didn’t feel attached to any of them. Apart from perhaps Katrina because hey, it’s rare I see my name in a book okay?
First we have Will’s family and friends: the father, who is having an affair; the mother, who is all business and worry; Will who is the typical difficult bloke, despite his disability; Will’s sister, who is barely even mentioned. Oh, and let’s not forget that Will’s ex ends up marrying his best friend. Wow, I’ve never seen any of this before!
Now for Lou’s family: the father, who gets made redundant; the grandfather who has had a stroke; the mother who just looks after everyone; the sister and her son, who is a polar opposite of Lou; Lou herself who just feels like her ‘differences’ are forced. Oh, and she has been raped, haven’t seen that in a main female character’s history before! And then there is her boyfriend, who is so dull it hurts.
The characters just feel like every other generic book, altered just a little to fit the plot. Yawn.
To read or not to read: Really don’t bother. I was highly disappointed by this book, and all that made me finish it was that I wanted to be done with it before Lady Midnight arrived. Sure, it was okay, just so generic and predictable. In fact, the preview of After You had me more hooked than the entire of Me Before You.