Book Pick of the Month: June
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Review by Nicole Langridge
I'd been eyeing this book for months really, ever since I'd come across a trailer for the film. And I made the mistake of not picking it up straight away. Because once I did, I didn't set it down until I finished it at 2am the next morning!
Me Before You follows 26-year-old Louisa Clarke, a young woman who finds herself a caregiver of sorts for an embittered quadriplegic, Will Traynor. With her working-class family depending on her every paycheque, a recently unemployed Lou has no choice but to accept the job despite no prior experience in caregiving.
Will Traynor once had a thriving life and career in London but lost everything, including the mobility of his body, after a horrible motorcycle accident. But more than that, he's lost the desire to live. Lou isn't there to help him with his physical care – instead she's charged with trying to cheer up a bitter and sarcastic man who wants to die on his terms.
Jojo Moyes has crafted a genuinely moving narrative, supported by the compelling friendship of Lou and Will as it evolves over time. I went into this thinking I knew how it would finish, that it would simply be a somewhat non-traditional love story; I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a story riddled by class distinctions, family dynamics and moral dilemmas. The root of this story revolves around the highly controversial topic of assisted suicide and a human's right to decide. The novel had me questioning what I believed in personally when it comes to something like this.
Lou's lack of ambition and motivation to step outside the constraints of her small English town show us our lives can be so easily shaped by trauma. And her growing friendship (more so than their later love) with Will remind us of the strength we have inside ourselves to change ourselves even if we cannot change others.
Me Before You had me bleary-eyed and teary at 2am, enthralled till the final line by Moyes' wonderfully simple way with language. If you have a gap in your to-read list, I suggest giving this one a shot!
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Written by SCWC
Posted on June 08, 2016