Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Book Review: Me Before You
Written By: Jojo Moyes
Published By: Pamela Dorman Books December 31, 2012 US
Length: 369 pages
Source: Publisher E Galley via Edelweiss
Louisa Clark lives a small life, in a small town in England. She lives at home with her mom and dad, in a tiny bedroom because her sister and nephew need the bigger room. When she loses her job in a local cafe she must search for something else, she helps mom and dad with the household expenses. Her mother stays home to care for her grandfather. Lou has a long term boyfriend, Patrick, they have a steady comfortable relationship. He is a fitness trainer, and obsessed with marathon training.
Louisa's job searching leads her to a position as a caregiver to a quadriplegic man. Will Traynor was living a large life in London, an important job, many friends and travels and a fiance. Will is hit by a motorcycle and is now wheelchair bound. He is unhappy and dissatisfied with his new limited life. He's now living in an adapted annex next to his parents home. Will has a medical caregiver, but his mother hires Louisa to spend the days will him, help him with meals and maybe more. She's told the position is temporary, only six months.
An unlikely pairing of two very different people. Louisa is met very chilly by Will when she begins. She shows up on time, does her job quietly and with care. She dresses in wild colors and combinations, her unique style. Will is tailored and reserved. Slowly they begin to talk, he notices her interest in his books and her tells her to borrow whatever she's like. Will began to share his love of movies with Lou too. As Louisa becomes aware of Wills plan to commit assisted suicide, she becomes angry and wants to leave, but she decides instead to make it her job to show him all that life can hold, even in his limited physical state. Louisa makes a schedule and a plan.....and the two of them become closer. The question becomes whose plans will succeed and how does love like this come to be?
I don't know that I can write about this book and not begin to cry, this book is most of all a love story. I didn't see it at first. I saw many things, how sad Louisa was in her life, how I wanted her to spread her wings and fly. I didn't understand them all until much later. I saw a cranky and disgruntled man, bitter of everything he sees that he has lost.
This book is so beautiful, Moyes writes of Louisa changing and accepting, who is able to let go of a tragic mistake in her teens. Louisa learns how to use the internet to educate herself, she reaches out to online groups of quadriplegics and asks questions. She wants her plans for getting Will out in the world to be successful. There are mistakes and laughs and tears, but both she and Will are the better for the attempts. The moral and ethical questions in this book are so well discussed and respected, heartbreaking choices for individuals and their families.
Jojo Moyes wrote this book in such a way that the two lives came together in just the right time, not without bumps, but in a way that melds perfectly. The love that grew was the way we all dream of love; give and take and each knowing how to open the other up to be their best. I am so happy that I was on twitter one night as Eleanor Brown began to share and rave about this book. I was determined to find a way to read it as soon as possible. This is a book I'm now telling everyone about, and if I could I'd buy a copy for everyone...it's that good. This is a 5+ star book..read it, keep the tissues handy and share it!
Jojo Moyes is on facebook and twitter, @jojomoyes.