My Review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Not all love stories have a happy ending. Me Before You may not even be a love story, but it ends as it must to make this novel meaningful.
There is little suspense. No real romance. Instead, this is a quiet story of a young woman who comes to know herself and face her own demons, aided by the man for whom she is hired as a caregiver. Much to their surprise they become friends . . . and more.
A Discussion Generator
The choice of a quadriplegic as a main character is unique and gives an interesting view of such a person’s daily struggles. However, the most valuable part of the book may very well be the questions that the story evokes. Many book club discussion groups have already, no doubt, used Me Before You to generate a lively discussion about being all one can be, the quality of life, a person’s right to control his/her own destiny.
It is almost as if the story was written with the intention of becoming a discussion generator. Should a quadriplegic who feels he has no quality of life be allowed to kill himself? Is he selfish or is the woman who tries to change his mind the selfish one? How much does one owe to one’s family? How does money change the scenarios? How powerful is love?
The author does an admirable job of exploring the emotions and motivations of various characters . . .the accident victim, the tightly-wound mother, the wayward father, the self-absorbed sister, the ex-girlfriend, the trainer, and the hired caretaker and her family. They all bring a different slant to the story as Lou falls in love with the strong willed man in the wheelchair. They are both changed and rewarded by the experience.
On The Other Hand
Though I recommend the book, I give it only three stars because the main characters lose their traction toward the end of the story. The author then speaks though the point of view of various, more minor characters and the reader loses a connection with Lou and Will.
I also didn’t like that Lou couldn’t see that her boyfriend was clearly a jerk and that she needed to move along with her life. Rather than figuring out any of her needs for herself or with the help of her sister (who seemed capable of it) or her mother or even Will’s mother, she waited for another dominant male to goad her along. I wanted Lou to be a stronger woman.
The ending is a bit too pat and contrived, but I suppose the ‘uplifting’ was necessary. Still, Me Before You is worth reading. I had never read a similar book and learned a few things along the way.