Me Before You by Jojo Moyes [2012]

mbyAs I have previously stated, on many an occasion, cynical and me go way back. As the grinch of positive emotions it is important for me to point out that firstly, I am not one for romance and secondly, it is not often that I will sit down to read a chick-lit. Okay, chick-lit – which I find offensively titled at best, is wonderful once or twice a year, but in quick succession tend to leave me wanting to rip large chunks of my hair out in despair.

I like to think of them as literary palate cleansers, perfect for bridging the gap and resting the brain between two intense reads; which is how I came to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I would have never come to read the book from the synopsis alone, I actually had a hunt through some Amazon reviews to see how other readers found it, and was thus convinced it may be worth a try.

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.Synopsis from GoodReads

“I can’t stop crying.”

Apparently I can actually express emotion as that was the first sentence I noted once I had finishing Me Before You; in fact I got secondary tears for a good week after. This is one massive weepy – that or my depressing weeks of unemployment are releasing themselves at any semblance of a sad or uplifting story (I have been avoiding adverts, so cannot tell for sure.)

Although overly peppy and utterly crushing, Me Before You is a surprisingly entertaining read. The ending, while making perfect sense, broke my heart – if you are looking for a ‘happily ever after’, avoid this book. Yes, it utilises the usual cliches, but I did not feel it relied on them to tell a good story.

I have never read a novel, that I can recall, about a disabled character – definitely not one of Quadriplegic status. To give Will a realistic journey, Moyes follows a grueling, but (what I would assume be) a realistic path; she does not bow to love. Perchance it is my weakness for older men, or deep down inside my cold withered heart lies some small belief in love, but Lou and Will’s blossoming romance was so easy to root for, I did not want it to end.

My only source of contention lay in the novels ending; after all the emotional turmoil, Will enabled Lou to fight free of the shackles tieing her to her ordinary life. Lou’s self imposed restrictions and slow plod through life did make me wonder what I was doing with my own, however, it was a shame Lou could not have realised her dreams without the benefit of a large sum of money. Many modern women must get into debt to achieve similar, free of handouts – advice should have been enough to motivate her.

Have you read Me Before You? Are you a chick-lit fan?

10 thoughts on “Me Before You by Jojo Moyes [2012]

  1. No, I’m not a chick-lit fan! (Like you, I’m not crazy about the term either.) My main problem with romance novels is that they’re usually so predictable – once boy meets girl, you usually know exactly what the ending is going to be, and it takes either incredibly bad luck or stunning emotional ineptitude for them to fail to get together until the last chapter.

    But it sounds as if this book does have a more interesting ending, so perhaps it would be less predictable. Intriguing that it’s both peppy and crushing – an unusual combination!

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    1. It’s an annoying genre name isn’t it! I find it pushes a lot of fiction (mainly female) under what has become a rather condescending umbrella term.

      Completely agree, romance is so predictable – the only romance novel I have ever loved is One Day by David Nicholls, it is definitely a romance novel for people who hate romance.

      Got to admit, I still found this novel a little predictable, it doesn’t leave you guessing, just hoping for a less realistic, but happier, ending.

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  2. This is a book I hope to read too. I love chick-lit (in small quantities) and I have had my eye on this book for a while now. I’m not one to weep over a book but you make me curious. Will I over this one?

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    1. Well, if you don’t normally I would say no. I am one for over weeping at fiction and under weeping at real life so I find it hard to gage.

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  3. I agree with this review! I wasn’t bawling in the end but I was definitely getting emotional. I like what you said about it being peppy and crushing. I read it in pretty much one sitting. Wonderful review.

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  4. I do like chick-lit (though not as much as I used to) but dislike the term. It suggests fluff, and the thing is that nowadays some of them, though not all, deal with heavy subjects but they get lost under the genre name. I’m on the fence about reading this one because of a sort of worry how Will’s presented – I tend to stay away from the positive or negative, preferring the average in this case. Otherwise though I do really want to read it.

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    1. Completely agree – they all get stuck with girly covers as well, which a lot of the time do not reflect the novel.

      I’ve no experience of serious disability, so from my perspective Will’s representation was good – but I am not a reliable source to judge it really.

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