Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

“You only get one life.  It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Published by Pamela Dorman Books
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Pages: 369
Other Books By Jojo Moyes: The Girl You Left Behind, One Plus One

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Teisha's Review

Me Before You?  More like Tissues Before Reading.  Grab them.  You're going to need a lot of them.
Me Before You is the first book of Jojo Moyes's that I have read.  After reading this beautiful story, all I can say is that I am so happy that I discovered this author. Discovering new music, television shows, and books are by far what keeps this girl afloat.  And, when those discoveries turn out to be uh-mazing?  Even better!

Here are the five reasons why I gave Me Before You 5 out of 5 stars:

★ Complexity of Story & Characters

What I really enjoyed about this story was how complex it was.  Me Before You reminds me a lot of a Jodi Picoult novel, just without all of the courtroom drama.  And, that's kind of a big deal, because Jodi Picoult is one of my all-time favorite authors.

I think that this book is especially unique because it presents readers with two sides of a debate and really makes us think through the issue at hand.  And, hopefully the book will teach readers to think through the choices we make in the future, to think outside of the box, and put ourselves in other people's shoes.

★ Relevance of Plot to Social Issues


Reading Me Before You led me to do some research on Death With Dignity laws.  Before I had read this book, I had never heard of Switzerland's Dignitas organization or anything about Death With Dignity.  And, I find that odd because I keep up with current events a lot--I watch the news (almost everyday), I follow new sites on Twitter, and I get news notifications on my phone from ABC World News.

I think that I had heard of Brittany Maynard before I did my research, but I did not really know why she was in the news.  Maynard was at the center of a controversial debate on Death With Dignity (or Assisted Suicide--however you wish to put it), as she was wishing to take part in Death With Dignity due to her terminal brain cancer. (Maynard has since passed away.) I came across a video that told her story, and I was struck even more by Lou & Will's story because I realized that this was real;  there are people out there in the world who are making the tough decision that Will makes in Me Before You. just makes you take a step back and reflect on everything around you.  I know that sounds cliche but, Maynard's story and Moyes's story were incredibly eye-opening for me.  This story is going to stick with me for a long time to come.

★ Love Story

I love Will and Lou's relationship because it is very unconventional.  I think that the way in which their relationship comes about is very honest and real.  It was not insta-love.  It was not "He's so hot, she's so hot.  I think I love him/her".  Their relationship was very slow to begin.  It took a while for them to even become friends. There were moments that were awkward.  There were moments where I felt very embarrassed for both characters.  But, then there were moments that were hilarious and heartwarming and adorable.  Will and Lou's relationship took a lot of hard work, as all relationships do, and all that work was definitely paid off in the end and was well worth it.

★ Character Development & Relationships

Character development has always been the most important aspect of storytelling for me.  I think that, in order for me to empathize with a character, I have to see them evolve, to turn over some kind of leaf.  It does not matter whether they become better or worse, as long as they are not static--static characters do no do it for me.  Will and Lou are far from static.  They both help each other to become better.  Will helps Lou overcome her fears of following her dreams and branching out, and Lou helps Will to feel like him old self again, to venture outside of the confines that he thinks his condition has created for him.  And, even the secondary characters, such as Lou's sister, show some growth.  This is what makes the characters the best part of Me Before You.

★ Moyes's Writing

Me Before You is the first book of Moyes's that I have read, and it definitely won't be the last.  Usually, I am averted to books that take place in unfamiliar places (generally places outside of the United States).  I tend to feel that way because, being unused to other cultures, I find it a little more difficult to understand a story that occurs on foreign territory.  I did not feel that way with Me Before You.  Although the book takes place in the United Kingdom, I found that I was never lost or confused.  I believe that this was greatly in part to the fact that a) Lou is a protagonist you can easily relate to and b) Moyes's writing is simple, yet powerful.

Me Before You is an incredibly beautiful book.  I picked it up because I loved the cover, but what was on the inside provided me with so much more satisfaction.  The story is emotional and touching, and the characters will stick with you.

Some call Me Before You the The Fault In Our Stars for adults, and I can definitely see where that comparison draws from.  However, I also think that Me Before You is unique and stands just fine on its own.  And, if you haven't read it yet---what are you waiting for?

Discuss Before Leaving

  1. Have you read Me Before You?  Tell me your thoughts!
  2. Are you considering reading it after checking out this review?
  3. Have you read any of Jojo Moyes other books?  I can't decide what to read next.  Give me your recommendations!

Talk to you soon!

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