Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication Date: 30 July 2013
Format: Paperback, 400 pgs
Source: Personal Library
My first Jojo Moyes book, and oh how it made me smile, laugh and cry at the same time. Me Before You tells a story of two people, who are so different from each other in so many ways and how their encouragement and love for each other wins the battle of all.
Louisa Clark is a twenty-six year old girl who finds satisfaction in working in a café. Though life is simple and hard (the family struggles to make ends meet), she feels happy. She's into a relationship with her boyfriend, Patrick for some years and she could foresee her future settling down with him not far away from her home in a few years time.
Unfortunately, she has no control what lies ahead as Frank, the café owner has decided to close the café and she has to look for a job. With limited skills she is forced to take up a job as a caregiver.
William Traynor is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Before the tragic accident he has always lived a huge life; he travels, do extreme sports and life has never been more carefree and luxurious with the money his family has. He himself has an ambitious career and many people would do anything to get that kind of life he's living. But alas, obstacles come in all kinds and Will is unfortunate to be the recipient of the worst kind. One couldn't blame him for being acerbic, moody and bossy. After all, he used to be the golden boy who has everything.
Lou, at the other end, has no experience in caregiving but the pay is good. She only has to endure Will's temperamental moods for six months, no matter how tedious it would be. And as the days go by, they begin to open up and learn some new things about each other. Just as Lou feels she's not so intimidated by Will, she then learns that Will has had a plan long after the accident and it horrifies her.
And then there's the struggles Will's parents have to face regarding his decision. It definitely pained me to read parts of Will's mother's thoughts (as below), which I'm sure all mothers are able to relate to:
"I looked at Will and I saw the baby I held in my arms, dewily besotted, unable to believe that I had created another human being. I saw the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied by some other child. I saw the vulnerabilities, the love, the history. That's what he was asking me to extinguish - the small child as well as the man - all that love, all that history."
Me Before You is a moving, tear-jerker story but what I liked is not only the emotional factor but the inspiring and motivational spirits that prompt you to think beyond this story. I liked it that the journey Will and Lou had gone through have changed and gave them new perspective of a life they've not lived before; way before Will's accident, and way before they even knew each other. It was simply... I couldn't describe that feeling actually, just that it'd touched me immensely. Most of all, I liked it that Will and Lou have pushed beyond their comfort zones for each other's sake. Their thoughts, their gestures are simply selfless, touching, and so, so beautiful... If anyone ask me if I've read anything meaningful and memorable this year, I'd say this is it.