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October 5, 2013

Me Before You




Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Fiction
2012 Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Finished on 8/1/13
Rating: 4.75/5 (Terrific!)



Publisher’s Blurb:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe, Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You is an unlikely story about two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy means breaking your own heart?

I don’t typically read romance books, but I am a sucker for a romantic story. (Three of my favorite movies are You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and French Kiss.) This tender novel (which, by the way is classified as fiction and not romance), with its humor and witty dialogue, is not the least bit sappy and I found myself sneaking in a few pages while cooking dinner, as well as reading far too late on a work night. Definitely a sign of a good book! I came to care about Louisa and Will, wondering what I’d do in each of their situations. The moral dilemma presented in this book would make for a great book club discussion.

On the arrival of Spring:
Spring arrived overnight, as if winter, like some unwanted guest, had abruptly shrugged its way into its coat and vanished, without saying goodbye. Everything became greener, the roads bathed in watery sunshine, the air suddenly balmy. There were hints of something floral and welcoming in the air, birdsong the gentle backdrop to the day.

On mistakes:
Some mistakes...just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let that night be the thing that defines you.

Unlike two of my blogging friends, I didn’t immediately sit down and start writing about this wonderful novel (it’s been over two months since I finished!) and I’m afraid my review won’t do it justice. See what Bellezza and Nancy had to say about Me Before You:
There are millions of love stories out there but few that get to the core of what the couple means to one another, a meaning beyond physical attraction and personal fulfillment. But the story JoJo Moyes has written of Will Traynor and Lou Clark goes exactly there.

This is a complex novel, examining much more than the love between two people. It also examines how our lives can enrich one another, and how we can reach beyond our fallibilities and limitations to show how much we truly care. It is very powerful and deeply moving. (Bellezza)

and
I won't tell you how the book ends, apart from saying that I was a bit astonished to find the story both heartbreaking and beautiful without being depressing. Me Before You is a love story, but it's so much more. It's about really living life every day, the question of whether or not anyone has a right to die with dignity at a time of his or her own choosing, the emotional and physical pain of quadriplegia and how a relationship that lacks the usual physical comforts can be much deeper and more intimate than the norm. Me Before You is a powerful story that brings up a lot of questions and would make an excellent discussion book (although, perhaps, one that could potentially lead to a bit of a shouting match between those with differing opinions).

Highly recommended to those who love a meaningful story of love, life and loss. Miserably, compulsively readable, with exceptional dialogue and character development and not a single wasted word in its 481 pages (in my humble opinion). (Nancy, of Bookfoolery)

Final Thoughts:

Me Before You is more than just a satisfying page-turner of a read. It’s also a smart, funny, and complex story about life and how we choose to live with the cards we’re dealt. I’m so happy (and relieved) that this novel lived up to my expectations. I can’t wait to read more from her backlist!

About the Author:

Jojo Moyes is the author of The Last Letter from Your Lover. Me Before You was a runaway word-of-mouth sensation and a Top 3 bestseller in the UK. She lives with her husband and children in Essex, England.

18 comments:

  1. I loved this book too It made me laugh, cry, and think. It is just marvelous!

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    1. I've started following her blog and read several posts earlier this morning. She is just as entertaining with her "real life" stories as she is with her novels!

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  2. First of all, I smiled over how you don't generally like the Romance genre as nor do I, then listed three wonderful romantic films...not the same thing, for sure, and perhaps what we like about those films is Meg Ryan. Isn't she great?!

    As to this novel, I was surprised by how much it moved me. I suspected a sappy sort of thing, and it was hardly that. JoJo Moyes took on an ambitious subject in terms of terminal illness and its effects. I could relate to the girlfriend's point of view, but more especially the mother's as seems to be the case with me lately. Love. Wing the mother of a 22 year old with scattered focus, but that's another subject for another day. xo

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    1. Meant "love being the mother..."

      Sorry I didn't proofread. Some teacher am I!

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    2. No worries. I was able to figure it out. :)

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    3. Yes, I love Meg Ryan! She and Tom Hanks (and Kevin Kline) made some wonderful movies together.

      Be sure to check out JoJo's blog. She's quite funny and her stories about her U.S. book tour had me in stitches!

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  3. I've been wanting to read this one and as soon as you said it'd make a good book club choice, I decided that's how I'd find the time. I pick all of the books for my club and since I'm the only one who consistently reads the book. Can't wait!

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    1. Hope your group enjoys this one. It's been quite the book club darling this year.

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  4. This has been on my list for a while. Bumping it to the top!

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    1. You're in for a treat, Pam. It's sooooo good!

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  5. I just know I'm going to love this, too! I have the audio ready to go. Unfortunately, it will have to wait until I finish The Patriarch, a bio of Joseph P. Kennedy...and that one is 31 hours long.

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    1. I wonder if the audio's as good as the print version. I may go that route when I'm ready for a reread. Until then, I have several from her backlist to enjoy, as well as her hilarious blog.

      Yikes! 31 hours of The Patriarch? Hope it's keeping you interested. I recently downloaded Ken Follet's tome, Fall of Giants. I think it's about the same length. Should keep me occupied this holiday season. :)

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  6. I'm like you, Les; I'm a sucker for a good romance. I have this one awaiting me. Looks like I need to push it toward the front of the line.

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    1. It's a winner! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Check out her blog, too. She had me cracking up earlier today.

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  7. I confess the description of this book hasn't grabbed me but everyone's love for it has me curious, so I probably will give it a try. I'm really curious about the author's latest book whose title escapes me at the moment.

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    1. I wasn't sure about the book when I first heard about it, either. I was so happy it lived up to all the hype! I hope her others are just as good...

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  8. I still haven't read this yet, but will one day. :) I haven't heard a bad thing about it and that scares me. I'm afraid I'll be the only one to not like it. : /

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    1. I know that feeling, Joy. Overhyped books always scare me. But this is really a winner. I'm saving one of her earlier books for a flight to Oregon next month. I know it will suck me in!

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