Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


Like The Fault in Our Stars and many other books similar to this, Me Before You left me speechless. I still feel tongue-tied now, not really knowing what to say. I read Jojo Moye’s book in a couple of days, whizzing through the last 150 pages in one night, although fairly groggily considering the tragic turn it takes. When I read the last page, closed the book and breathed I realised that I had no idea what to think. All I knew was that I felt sad.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the film, I will warn you that there are a few spoilers in this review. It may be a good idea to go grab the book from your local library, or rent it out before reading the rest of my review. However, if you already know what happens then read on!

Me Before You is a fairly quick read with a powerful argument. It blurs the lines between what is right and wrong. Do we have a choice to take our own lives? If we have less control over our own body, should other people decide everything for us? These questions are very controversial and upon reading reviews after, it is evident that many people found the ending appalling, finding that it gives the wrong message. I however, feel stuck in the middle, not really knowing what to think.

So what is the book about? It all starts off when Louisa, a 26 year old woman who has never left her parents’ house, finds herself in need of a new job. She is hired to be a carer for Will, a 35 year-old quadriplegic, who we find out later on in the book is seriously considering going through with an assisted suicide. It’s pretty clear just from the synopsis alone that Jojo Moyes is intending to pull at your heartstrings and open a discussion that could get very heated.

The writing flowed quite nicely, and I loved the little features in Lou and Will’s personality. Lou’s love of wacky fashion, yellow and black tights, and Will’s sarcastic humour, teasing with the undertone of affection. Most of the book is set in Lou’s point of view, chapters dotted here or there contain a few other character’s thoughts. I really would’ve liked to have seen this technique more, it would’ve been really interesting to see this story from Will’s perspective.

Of course, like any chick-lit, it’s no surprise that we are introduced to the wonders of relationships as Lou and Will gradually fall in love. All the while reality slowly leaks in until it suddenly hits you like a tonne of bricks. In this I am of course referring to Will’s final choice, that despite the happiness he has experienced and new improvements on his life, for him it is still not enough, and leaving his life behind is his answer.

Some say that Will’s choice is unnecessary, that Jojo Moyes shouldn’t have chose that, as it gives out the message that a disabled life isn’t worth living. However, a lot of people fail to notice that other options are shown. Lou converses with friends online who are in similar situations to Will, who have found positivity and a way of living happily. Does this make the decision to make Will’s final choice to be the negative justifiable? To be honest, I don’t know. After reading many other people’s views when I myself enjoyed the book, I now second guess myself. Me Before You causes people to ask the difficult questions however, and that holds its own significance. Perhaps the message isn’t that disabled lives aren’t worthwhile, or to help others find happiness. Maybe its that we all should have the right to decide for ourselves, but we should always strive to improve ourselves, question our own views and ways of living and move forward.

Overall I’ve given this book 4.5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time that I read it, despite the contrast to Geekerella which I had read previously. Unfortunately, I didn’t cry like many other people say they did, I never seem to cry at books anymore anyway. This book has had a lot of people thinking. I wouldn’t say it’s inspiring, but it’s definitely thought-provoking. Next thing to do is watch the film! Have you read this book or seen the film? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know, whether you agree or disagree, in the comments below! 

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