Much has been said about Me Before You. While some people loved it, others disliked the premise enough to boycott the book. I tried reading with a neutral mind, but that didn’t save me from the heartbreaking conclusion.
It felt like a punch to the gut, even though the whole time I suspected how the story would end. This book was written to engage readers, making us feel like we know the characters, and that alone is art.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but friends have told me it’s just as powerful. Hopefully soon I can watch it, too.
Me Before You follows a young woman named Louisa Clark. After losing her job at a cafe, she finds work caring for a paraplegic man named Will Traynor. He had an accident which left him unable to move from the neck down.
It’s the story of Louisa’s quest to show Will there’s reason for him to live. I thought it a very good story.
Articles have been written about this book. It continues to spark debate, proving books do matter, even fiction. They stir conversation for months, prompting us to examine life and discern right from wrong.
Philosophy aside, what did I like about this book?
- It showed that love takes many forms. The affection between Will and Louisa was refreshingly honest. With physical interaction limited, they were forced to bond in deeper ways.
- Louisa isn’t perfect, but her faults make her likeable. She isn’t the smartest sister in the family and doesn’t have much ambition—which makes it more powerful when she sets out to convince Will he has a purpose.
- Jojo Moyes uses opposites to make the plot stronger. For example, Louisa’s life is dull because she chooses not to take risks; Will’s life is dull because he cannot take risks. Lou’s boyfriend Patrick is a professional runner, but shows little affection for her. Will can’t move, but in several scenes he demonstrates more love.
This book is one of the most powerful I’ve read, because of the mixed feelings it placed in my heart. It made me think and see life differently.
As for the controversy, I don’t understand it.
Storytellers don’t tell people how to live their lives. They find situations that deserve recognition, packing truth into paperback books. The truth can be interpreted in many different ways.
Often it’s difficult to accept, but that’s not the storyteller’s fault.
Me Before You was worth the read. It made me rethink many things I had taken for granted. I didn’t realize how deeply the book affected me until the day after I finished it, when I had a dream I was wheelchair-bound.
I promise you won’t forget this story, whether you like it or not.