Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

In a quiet town of Britain, Louisa Clark is twenty-six and has just found out that she is out of a job.  She still lives with her parents, as she is the main person who is supposed to support them.  Finding a new job is quite vital but her skills and qualifications are close to nil.  In the household, Lou must sacrifice her bigger room to her younger sister, Treena because she went ahead and got knocked up and now needs the room for both her and her son.

After a trip to the job bank, Lou gets an interview to be a caregiver for a wealthy thirty-five year old quadriplegic, named Will.  Since the money is good, there is no way for Lou to reject it.  What follows is a new stage in her life which will change everything she knows about quadriplegics, but most importantly, herself.  She second guesses her long-time relationship with her triathalon obsessed boyfriend, Patrick; she realizes that Will’s happiness should absolutely be a priority and she discovers her strengths through these two challenges.  Meanwhile, Will is determined to end his life gracefully at Dignitas in Me Before YouSwitzerland, right when Lou’s six-month contract ends.

When Lou finds out about Will’s plan, she confides in Treena and together they try to come up with ideas of how to change Will’s decision.  Despite the shaky start to their relationship, Will becomes softer to Lou and she begins to have feelings for him. Lou joins a forum for paraplegics and their caregivers, to help give her advice on how to deal with Will’s difficult situation.

Lou and Will form a bond that only they could understand and the two proceed to go on outings or attend events that bring a heartfelt smile to Will’s lips.  It is during the six months of Will’s ups and downs that Lou notices the suffering he goes through.  She decides to give him the trip of a lifetime to turn his permanent torture into brief bliss.

True love knows no bounds … or does it?  Perhaps the most ironic and touching part of the novel is the fact that an ill person gives a totally fresh perspective on life to a completely healthy being.

Sadly, Will would not have become the man he is or met Lou if it weren’t for his accident and Lou in turn becomes someone who she never would have imagined becoming.

Moyes’ romantic tale will make you laugh and cry.  It will also open your eyes.

At first, I thought that there was only one or two books that brought similar topics to mind but then I realized that several titles popped into my head because of certain things.  One novel was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, only because in both, there are some witty, funny and charming moments that deal with the relationship of an odd but surprisingly well matched couple in love.  The other story was David Nicholls’ One Day.  It is also British fiction and focuses on how the female character tries to win her man but the ending is just as sad as in Moyes’ book.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is also about love between two people, where death is inevitable.  Finally, Lisa Genova’s Love Anthony and Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett are both tales where characters must learn to accept the fate of their loved ones, no matter how painful.  I would compare Moyes’ work to Bridget Jones only because it has the British humour and the main character has to decide which man she truly loves, just as Louisa must do between Patrick and Will.

Next month, I talk about The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman, so get reading!

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