Book Review: Me Before You
Jojo Moyes’s best-selling novel “Me Before You” is a story about the twenty-six-year-old Louisa Clark, who was forced by her family’s financial situation to accept a job as a caretaker of a quadriplegic man. Louisa has a lovely disposition in life despite of its limitations and never dares to ask for more. She sleeps in a small closet-like space so that her sister, Treena, who is a single mother, could sleep on the larger bedroom with her son. She is quirky in the way that she adores weird pieces of clothing. Yet even Louisa, with her kind heart and generous spirit, at first finds it impossible to get through the quadriplegic man’s icy demeanor.
The quadriplegic man is 35-year-old Will Traynor, who used to be a poster boy of the young and successful. Before his accident, he had a high-paying job, a beautiful girlfriend, a financially stable family, and a life full of the most exciting adventures. From his adrenaline-filled life, he became a quadriplegic who can hardly do anything for himself. He lost the ability to take control of anything, so he wants to be given control of one thing: how and when his life ends.
The story starts with the typical premise of a romantic story: with two people brought together by circumstances so that they could change each other’s lives for the better. The book is more than that, however, and it surprises you with the turns it takes. One would expect the arrival of the moment that would take the reader into believing that love is enough to change even the most seemingly insurmountable problems, like in typical tearjerker romance novels. The novel takes the path that certainly is more interesting and thought-provoking. Lou’s and Will’s love for each other indeed changed their lives, but not in the way that one would easily anticipate.
This book delves into a controversial topic. Regardless of the reader’s opinion on the decision that Will Traynor made, the reasons that he had behind it and the reasons that his family and Louisa had for agreeing are not hard to see as valid. The readers will see their points and understand their choices. This is where the merit of the book lies. It makes you understand the gravity of the choices that had to be made, and it lets you understand why the characters had to do what they had to do, at the very least, even if their stand on the matter fails to convince you of its moral correctness.
As a reader, it’s unavoidable to have that sense of wishing that the novel ended differently, but you still understand why it ended the way it did, and you don’t really wish for it to have ended any other way. It took a bold choice, and the book is beautiful in the way that it tugged at the right emotions to make anyone see why the choice had to be made.
Vochelle Sia, a writer. She likes to read, draw, paint on her free time.
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