'Me Before You'
Author: JoJo Moyes
Published: Penguin Books; July 2013
Source: Personal copy
Synopsis: Before Louisa met Will, her plans didn't reach beyond their tiny English town. Will, when he wasn't closing multimillion-dollar deals, blew off steam scaling mountains, leaping from planes, and enjoying exquisite women--until an accident left him paralyzed and seriously depressed. When his mother hires Lou to keep his spirits up, he meets her awkward overtures with caustic contempt, but she's tenacious and oddly endearing. Their fondness grows into something deeper, gaining urgency when she realizes his determination to end his life, and her efforts to convince him of its value throw her own bland ambitions into question. Plumbing morally complex depths with comedy and compassion, Jojo Moyes elevates the story of Lou and Will from what could have been a maudlin weepie into a tragic love story, with a catharsis that will wring out your heart and leave you feeling fearless.
My Take: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes was not at all what I expected it to be. Having only read one other novel by Moyes (and that was only a couple of weeks ago!) The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes (click title for my review) I wasn't sure what to expect but for some reason I had it in my mind that this was going to be pure chick-lit. Well it wasn't. Instead Me Before You was an emotional roller coaster of a read with an ending that really packs a punch.
Let's start at the beginning shall we. Me Before You opens with Will, a young Brit leading the life he's always wanted in London. He has a hot girlfriend, a high flying career, and enough money to do whatever he wants with. Sadly, this all comes shattering to an end one rainy morning when Will is hit by a car and becomes a quadriplegic.
We meet Will again two years later and he has not adjusted to his new reality very well. He, for lack of a better word, hates his life, so much so that he wants to end it all. His parents are trying everything they can to change his mind. This is where Louisa comes in.
Louisa is from a totally different world to Will's. In her mid-twenties, she still lives at home. She has had the same job as a waitress for six years until one day when she is unceremoniously laid off. She has had the same boyfriend for even longer and she has never left the small town they grew up in. Desperate for a new job after being laid off she responds to an application to be a caregiver even though she has no previous experience. Will's mom, even though they are complete opposites, thinks Louisa might be good for Will as a companion just to lighten his mood.
At first Louisa and Will do not get along at all and Louisa finds her new job completely overwhelming, and her new charge, Will, completely awful. However, time moves on and a friendship between the two develop. However when Louisa finds out Will's plan to end it all, she attacks her job with a renewed energy.
To tell you more would be to give it all away and that's not really my style. However, you should understand that when you read Me Before You, you should pack some tissues with you and expect a heart wrenching story. I can see why this changed people's minds about what to expect from JoJo Moyes. It's a story that you will want to discuss with everyone who has read it. It would make a great read for book clubs too!
Cover Lust: I'll be honest, I find this, and the other covers I've seen for it, not that inspiring.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes to giveaway in celebration of it's paperback release! The deadline for this giveaway is September 9th; entries open to those in the US only (no PO boxes please).
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Three extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST September 9th. I will draw the winners using random.org and announce them here on my blog. You will have one week to claim your prize. Good luck!