Publisher : Michael Joseph ( 2012 )
Pages : 528 pages
ISBN : 978-0718157838
I'm not quite ashamed to admit that I'm writing this review through red-rimmed eyes and a snotty nose, but I feel like I have to capture all these emotions whilst they're still fresh in my mind. Me Before You is quite possibly simultaneously one of the best and worst books I've read this entire year. I mean worst in the way that it made me bawl like a baby and best because it is definitely a book I'll remember in days to come.
First off, I picked up the book wanting a light read before the end of the year, but boy was I in for a rollercoaster ride of a surprise. Jojo Moyes is wonderful in the way she makes her characters jump out of the pages and before long you find yourself identifying with them.
I initially assumed that I would be reading something funny and easily digested but I soon realized ( somewhere past the 2nd chapter ) that the book was going to be dealing with some really heavy issues. The two main characters of the book were really interesting to start with. Louisa 'Lou' Clark spent her entire adult life caring for her family, and sacrificing a significant part of her youth helping to make ends meet. One day, she loses her job and finds herself desperate for anything that could help her current financial crises. Reluctantly, she signs up as a carer for the handsome, enigmatic Will Treynor. The twist is, Will is a quadriplegic who's made a deal with his mother for 6 months after which he'd go to Dignitas in Switzerland to end his life. Then it's up to Lou to convince him that life is still worth living. Determined to change his mind, Lou comes up with a list of adventures her sister calls " the antibucket list " and thus follows a series of hits and misses and poignant discoveries.
Now the context of the story sounds harsh and cold, and I had trouble accepting the fact that anyone would voluntarily allow their loved ones to kill themselves. However, over the course of the book, Moyes spins a beautiful tale of love, of selflessness and understanding. It is an understanding that wrenches at the heart of the reader, a love story that extends beyond the regular horizons but also a gorgeous tale of new beginnings, self-belief and questions the right to making choices. The heavy context is lightened by the playful banter between the characters in the book, and I found myself laughing out loud in certain parts. Nonetheless, this is a book that has touched me and impacted me in a way that I never expected. It is as much a tale of letting go as of holding on.
At its core, Me Before You is a wonderful story, a 'romance' novel but not in the traditional sense. I wanted so much for things to work out at the end for the both of them, and in retrospect, things did work out, just not in the way I would have envisioned. Moyes successfully crafted the fine balance between jarring reality and surreal make-believe, and the fact that it so delicately deals with the taboo subject of assisted suicide and the delicately sensitive way in which the story was written makes this book worthy of many re-reads, boxes of tissue and sleepless nights.
" You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible "
My rating : 5 stars