Me Before You


Title: Me Before You

Author: Jo Jo Moyes

Year: 2012

Genre: Romance

Me Before You is the 2012 bestselling romance novel by Jo Jo Moyes and tells the beautiful but heart-breaking romance between two people.

I had already seen the movie version a few years ago which stars Emilia Clark as Louisa Clark and Sam Clafin as Will Traynor which came out in 2016 but it was selected as my book club read which is why I now read the book version.

The story begins with a short prologue which takes place two years prior to the main events. Will Traynor is a high flying City banker who has it all, the looks, the car and a beautiful woman but his life is dramatically altered when a motorbike crashes into him in a rain storm. The accident leaves him as a C5 quadriplegic.

Two years later, we meet Louisa Clark who works in a café and is unfortunately made redundant. She starts looking for work as she is likely to soon be the only earner in her family as her father who is being threatened with redundancy.

After trying many jobs she takes a role as a carer for Will on a six month contract. He is very cold towards her initially but Louisa quickly learns that Will has been suicidal and intends to travel to Dignitas in six months time to end his life.

Can she convince him to change his mind and make him realise that there is more to his life than he realises? Also as her feelings towards him become blurred how will the two find a way forward?

I really enjoyed this novel and the main draw is the excellent characters and dynamic between Louisa and Will.

Both characters come from very different backgrounds and have on the face of it very different personalities – Louisa being somewhat a bubbly but emotional eccentric whereas Will is a very privileged, cold, British stiff up lip type character.

However Louisa is the first person you feel speaks to Will in a way which isn’t pitying and their relationship that develops from colleagues to friends and then to something more romantic is written in a very believable way.

Though the book is defined as a romance book which isn’t normally my typical genre, Jo Jo Moyes does a fantastic job of writing a romantic book which does tackle very deep emotional themes such as attitudes to disability, euthanasia and mental health but also manages to have more light-hearted moments. 

The book does have some very funny and witty lines throughout the book.  One part which had me laughing out loud is when Louisa returns home from work and finds her neighbours have been having an argument as the wife has discovered her husband has been cheating on her so is throwing his stuff out. Louisa asks her parents how long it has been going on and Louisa’s dad says “it depends if you time it from when she threw the clothes out or when he came back and found them”. The book has many comments like this which help the characters seem believable and relatable.

However the emotional heart of the book revolves around Will’s decision and there are parts which will bring a tear to your eye when those darker themes are explored.

I also really liked Louisa’s character and her journey throughout the book as we come to realise her eccentricity is a defence mechanism to protect herself from something much darker which happened to her. She also goes through a lot of character growth with Will as he shows her how she is drifting through life at the moment and she has so much to offer and therefore the book to me was just as much about her journey as Will’s.

I had read the book after watching the film so I did have a good idea of how the book ended so I would say as a result it didn’t grip me probably as much as other page turning books I’ve read. However I think that comes down to me having seen the movie first rather than any problem with the book so I would definitely recommend giving this book a read if you want something emotional, yet heart-warming then this is the book for you.

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2 thoughts on “Me Before You”

  1. I read this one ages ago. Don’t remember much about it. But yes, remember Louisa’s journey of self-discovery, the way she transitions from a life of complacency to one of purpose and determination. I remember how Will’s influence challenges her to step out of her comfort zone and pursue her dreams. I’m not into romance genre but read this one for goodreads group discussion and found it to be a beautiful read.

    1. I’m the same with romance books, this was a book club selection, though I had saw the movie a few years ago.

      I think because it is just as much about Louisa’s journey though it does make for a great book even if romance isn’t typically your thing.

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