I had some concerns about reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because the subject matter didn’t sound like something I would really enjoy. The story is mainly told in the voice of Louise Clark, a British waitress who is single, twenty-six years old and still living in her village with her parents because they need the additional income to support the family, which includes her single-mother sister. When Louise suddenly loses her job at the Buttered Bun Café, the financial pressure on the family forces her into accepting the unlikely position of employment as assistant care-giver to a quadriplegic in his mid-thirties, Will Traynor.
Prior to being paralysed when he was struck by a motorbike, Traynor was a wealthy financial deal-maker, adventurer and bon vivant who lived life in a world completely foreign to Louise Clark, despite being born in the same village. Louise lacked ambition and curiosity and was content to serve coffee and buns in the village café. When she applies for the job as assistant care-giver to Will Traynor the challenges of his personality and circumstances stretch her boundaries and expand her potential to become a stronger, more focussed individual.
Me Before You is a love story about Louise and Will with significant and informed insights into the challenges faced by quadriplegics and those who love them. While I found the story a bit sappy at times, the writing is easy to read and the plot line kept me engaged most of the time. I did lose interest about three-quarters of the way through the book when the ending seemed predictable but I’m glad I finished it as I really didn’t want to leave the lives of the characters dangling without knowing for sure how it ended. The book addresses assisted suicide objectively and intelligently which is relevant since a law about the issue is currently before the Canadian parliament.
Overall, I enjoyed the book but I hardly think the content warrants a movie so I doubt I’ll go see it. I don’t like to read third-party reviews of a book until I’ve clearly drawn my own conclusions. Upon checking existing reviews of Me Before You the line seems to be drawn down the middle with some clearly hating the book and others loving it. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m not a fan of romance novels and I found the fact that the Will Traynor character was rich and handsome to be rather gratuitous. There would have been no story if he’d been pudgy and poor. And therein lies its weakness. But millions of readers don’t agree with me.
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