Me Before You

Me Before You

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now...

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Title:Me Before You
Author:Jojo Moyes
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Me Before You Reviews

  • Lynge Munch

    Being a male reader on a booksite you kind of expect to be outnumbered when it comes to the sexes. But that doesn't keep alarm bells from blaring like a convoy of reversing trucks when practically every reviewer of a book is of the female gender. And when the author in addition is touted as the winner of multiple romance novel awards your primal male instinct is to run like your being chased by some primordial predator.

    So it was really against my instinct and better judgement that I began readin

    Being a male reader on a booksite you kind of expect to be outnumbered when it comes to the sexes. But that doesn't keep alarm bells from blaring like a convoy of reversing trucks when practically every reviewer of a book is of the female gender. And when the author in addition is touted as the winner of multiple romance novel awards your primal male instinct is to run like your being chased by some primordial predator.

    So it was really against my instinct and better judgement that I began reading this book. But this is NOT a romance novel. In fact it is a brilliant comment on the issue of euthanasia which claims it's brilliance by reading like a romance novel and not a political comment. Having personally cared for a handful of terminal people over a period of years, I feel I can safely say that many of the thoughts on serious aquired disabities and the quality of life is fairly realistic, and though the romance part can't avoid a bit of Hollywood-sheen, it never really gets unbelievable, and helps the reader engage him/herself in the characters and thus in their horrible dilemma.

    Thoroughly engaging and thought provoking, this is the best book I've read so far this year (and I so did not see it coming).

  • CaroB

    I'm sitting here with tears running down my face having just finished this book. I know I should probably let my emotions settle before reviewing but I want to get all the feelings down...

    Firstly I want to say that the cover does not do this book justice. It gives the impression of a bland and fluffy read when in reality this is a heartbreaking story, with subject matter that may be difficult for a lot of readers.

    The characters begin as likeable, yet maddeningly realistic in all their egocentri

    I'm sitting here with tears running down my face having just finished this book. I know I should probably let my emotions settle before reviewing but I want to get all the feelings down...

    Firstly I want to say that the cover does not do this book justice. It gives the impression of a bland and fluffy read when in reality this is a heartbreaking story, with subject matter that may be difficult for a lot of readers.

    The characters begin as likeable, yet maddeningly realistic in all their egocentricities and self-absorptions. As their fears and insights are exposed, they develop in strength and purpose to reveal rich individuals who are all irrevocably changed through the events which unfold. I enjoyed the first person POV, and the odd change in character thrown in stirred the narrative nicely for me. I would have liked to have had at least a chapter from Will's perspective, but can understand how challenging that may have been for the author. I was really glad to have read Will's letter though!

    I commend the author for producing a book which I found extremely readable; the language was straight forward, no purple prose or a whole bunch of medical jargon. The plot is relatively simple yet not uncomplicated for all that it raises some controversial or ethical questions. How can you read this and not ask yourself what you might do in similar circumstances, how you would feel if it was your friend? Could you be what they needed, and the moral impact of that. The writing is smooth and effortless and yet the result is a story which is invested with

    emotion. I'm left feeling so mad, sad and even, oddly, happily resigned about the ending. I can't remember when I last finished a story that had tied me up in so many emotional knots and still left me completely satisfied with having read it.

    I'll be chasing down more of Ms Moyes' works.

  • Raeleen Lemay

    Despite being a bit predictable, I adored this book. I love the characters, and I sort of want to pick it back up and read it again. I could have easily flown through this book in a day (if I'd had time), but I'm glad I took my time with it. I really got to know the characters, and I really liked the ending, and how it contrasted the beginning of the story. SO BEAUTIFUL.

  • Zoë

    My video review & discussion on this incredible book!

    This was one of the best books I have ever read. So good that it makes me want to lower the ratings of all of the other books I have read just so that this (and maybe Clockwork Princess) is the only book with a 5-star rating. I can't properly describe right now how exactly this book moved me and made me analyze my own thoughts, as I am still currently crying, but just know that it did. Absolutely w

    My video review & discussion on this incredible book!

    This was one of the best books I have ever read. So good that it makes me want to lower the ratings of all of the other books I have read just so that this (and maybe Clockwork Princess) is the only book with a 5-star rating. I can't properly describe right now how exactly this book moved me and made me analyze my own thoughts, as I am still currently crying, but just know that it did. Absolutely wonderful.

  • Sasha Alsberg

    This book showed love and it's beautiful nature but also the harsh reality of life.

    Totally sobbed at the end...thinking about filming a review because I have a lot to say about this book.

    Very well done, heartbreakingly so

  • Emily May

    As much as I like a good love story, I wouldn't call myself a romantic. Not by a long shot. In fact, I can be pretty cold-hearted when it comes to romance books, remaining emotionless in the face of tragic heartbreak and loss.

    didn't move me.

    was cute, but still an average read for me.

    There's just certain things that I don't like. Emotionally manipulative books that feel as if the author set out with an agenda to tug at my heart strings - that would be

    As much as I like a good love story, I wouldn't call myself a romantic. Not by a long shot. In fact, I can be pretty cold-hearted when it comes to romance books, remaining emotionless in the face of tragic heartbreak and loss.

    didn't move me.

    was cute, but still an average read for me.

    There's just certain things that I don't like. Emotionally manipulative books that feel as if the author set out with an agenda to tug at my heart strings - that would be up there with the worst. I guess I subconsciously rebel when I can see what the author's trying to do to my feelings. I avoid a lot of adult chick lit for this reason - because experience has shown that most of these books are like

    movies: melodramatic and cheesily message-driven.

    But somehow - despite my reluctance to try this book because it seemed it would fall into all the aforementioned boxes - I ended up caving under the pressure and grabbing this book from my local library. I didn't expect much. I was just going to try a little bit and see how it went, feeling confident that it would be crappy and I would be right.

    I just... I can't even pretend anymore, screw the book snobbery,

    Being proven wrong may never have felt so good.

    I got the giggles about halfway through chapter one and struggled to get rid of them. Humour books are always a difficult sell because I guess it always depends on what you find funny... but I found Lou Clark to be an hilarious heroine. She's one of those charming but unfortunate individuals that finds herself in numerous awkward situations but somehow gets through them and just warms your heart with her delightful lack of propriety.

    I don't know if there is really such a thing as a "British sense of humour" but I've enjoyed a bunch of British chick lit/humour with similar MCs -

    ,

    - so maybe there's a pattern here with my tastes.

    If you're considering this book but think you're a shameless unromantic like me, DO NOT read any quotes from it. People keep pulling up these quotes about the meaning of life and carpe diem and it makes the whole thing seem much cheesier than it is. I thought there was a pleasant lack of cheese, hehe. It's also nowhere near as romantic as everything tries to make you think: the cover (the UK one is even worse), the blurb, the title... when actually there's very little romance. There is a touch of finding love in unexpected places and against the odds, but

    If you haven't already been told, the story is about Lou who needs a job and Will who needs a carer after an accident left him paralysed. Completely unable to move anything below his mid torso, Will longs for death and wants to go to Switzerland to put an end to his misery. Horrified by this discovery, Lou sets out to improve his life and give him a reason to live and look forward to each day. The relationship between them is told in such a wonderful way and develops through several stages, each filled with hilarity.

    I think people's reactions, emotions and decisions felt completely realistic in

    , even if I didn't always like them. The whole book was filled with the funny, ridiculous situations that we expect to find in comic fiction, but balanced out with a hard dose of reality. It makes you think about things you didn't think about before without seeming like the author wanted to make you think about them. Things like just how depressing the lack of wheelchair access is in most venues. But there's a great balance between the funny and the serious, so the latter never becomes too much.

    Love was found in a

    and I definitely want to check out the author's other work.

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  • Lola

    There goes my heart.

    Hold on. I need a few seconds to make sense of what happened.

    I can’t believe it. I was warned it would come as a shock, and even the author gently glided our thoughts toward that idea, but I still felt that PANG in my chest when reading the ending.

    That’s all I’m going to say about that, for fear of spoiling anything for you.

    Louisa is a simple girl. She works. She cares for her family. She does what she has to do. She doesn’t take risks or ever act recklessly. It’s not who sh

    There goes my heart.

    Hold on. I need a few seconds to make sense of what happened.

    I can’t believe it. I was warned it would come as a shock, and even the author gently glided our thoughts toward that idea, but I still felt that PANG in my chest when reading the ending.

    That’s all I’m going to say about that, for fear of spoiling anything for you.

    Louisa is a simple girl. She works. She cares for her family. She does what she has to do. She doesn’t take risks or ever act recklessly. It’s not who she is; her responsibilities come first.

    Will’s playground is life itself. He has a great job, a great girlfriend and the means to go wherever he wants and do whatever he desires.

    That is, before the accident happens. Now, he’s in a wheelchair, paralysed and dead inside. The man he was before is gone, now he can’t even recognize himself.

    When Louisa and Will meet, there is no love at first sight. She is his new caregiver. He is someone she can’t decipher. But the more they spend time together, the more Louisa discovers the wonders that life has to offer.

    I read

    , expecting to discover the most poignant love story on earth.

    But I found something else instead. This is the story of a twenty-six-year-old woman who has no long-term objective in life and doesn’t think about her future. She never left the country and stays away from anything remotely dangerous.

    Will is determined to open her eyes to the unknown. With him by her side, she gains confidence, determination, learns not to let anyone dictate her actions and finally realizes what is best for her.

    She needs him in her life, even though she doesn’t know it, and he relishes in her presence. He is her sun and she is his.

    The themes of acceptance, family, friendship and life are even more present than the love one. And I realized that it’s all those developed themes that made me like this book so much.

    Cheesy, corny, clichéd, overdone are all terms that DO NOT apply to this book.

    It’s unlike any contemporary book I’ve read before.

    Louisa is a charming woman with a sense of humor and fantastic imagination. Reading the book through her perspective was utterly delightful. We also have sporadic chapters narrated from other characters, such as Will’s mom and Louisa’s sister.

    Maybe you’re not a fan of romance. Maybe you don’t like chick literature or maybe you never read adult books.

    I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. It will not affect your enjoyment of this book.

    You know why?

    will win you over, whether you want it to or not.

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  • Navessa

    People seem to love opening their reviews of this book with gifs of ugly crying. I see your ugly crying and I raise you some rage:

    This not a romance novel.

    This is a story that revolves around an immature, self-centered, vacuous woman named Louisa. She has no desire to do anything in life or better herself in any way, is perfectly content to work whatever job she can find, allow herself to be stuck in a loveless relationship, and forever remain a selfish child.

    People seem to love opening their reviews of this book with gifs of ugly crying. I see your ugly crying and I raise you some rage:

    This not a romance novel.

    This is a story that revolves around an immature, self-centered, vacuous woman named Louisa. She has no desire to do anything in life or better herself in any way, is perfectly content to work whatever job she can find, allow herself to be stuck in a loveless relationship, and forever remain a selfish child. FFS, the "woman" is 26 and still has the type of immature fights over clothing with her sister that you’d expect from a pre-teen.

    She also has zero skills related to the care of the disabled, and yet somehow gets hired to be the caretaker for a quadriplegic, so clearly, she isn’t the only idiot in this book.

    The man she’s been hired to look after, Will, used to lead an incredible life. He was wealthy, successful, adventurous, athletic, passionate, and intelligent. Basically the complete opposite of our MC. He was injured in a freak accident and is now relegated to a wheelchair, and his spinal injury is high enough that he barely has the use of his hands.

    You’d think his story alone would slap some sense into Louisa.

    Wanna know what changes her? Huh? Do ya???

    This is where someone will likely want to argue with me. They’ll want to tell me that’s not how it was, because they’ve convinced themselves that there’s another reason. Well, there isn’t. She doesn’t change her mind because she realizes that any day could be her last. She doesn’t change her mind because she realizes that she’s let her past dictate her present. She doesn’t change her mind because she realizes that she hasn’t really been

    at all.

    She changes her mind because Will forces her to step outside of her comfort zone. He tells her that she’s intelligent *snort* and that she should pursue fashion because she likes to dress eccentrically.

    Yup, that’s why she does it. Because he said so. Because his opinion of her means

    . So, for those of you who would like to argue about this, this is what I’ll have to say to you:

    I had a lot of other issues with her, but they’d all be spoilers and would likely fuel a full-fledged f-bomb laden rant from me, so I’ll keep them to myself.

    One thing that struck me as singularly strange about this book was that towards the end of it the first person perspective shifted from our MC to other characters. I have no idea why. It didn’t make me like characters I already hated and it didn’t further the story in any way.

    That said, the moral of this book is a good one, and the writing wasn’t bad - if a little inconsistent on the details at the end while trying to make the events fit together. Those are the only things that kept this from being a one star review. In the end, the main character absolutely ruined this for me. I disliked her so much that I didn’t even read the epilogue, because I couldn’t give two shits what she ended up doing with her life.

    And I'd just like to add one final "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??!?!" for the message this book sends that life just ain't worth living if you have a disability.

    Fuck right off.

  • Emily

    Did anyone else notice that the ultimate message of this book is that a disabled life is not worth living, even despite a caring family, endless wealth, the best medical care, and (by the end of the book) a devoted, loving romantic partner? For a while I was enjoying the story, but by the end I was deeply distressed about the moral and ethical implications of the book's ending. The book juxtaposes an adventurous, athletic, and sexually active lifestyle with life in a wheelchair - and decides tha

    Did anyone else notice that the ultimate message of this book is that a disabled life is not worth living, even despite a caring family, endless wealth, the best medical care, and (by the end of the book) a devoted, loving romantic partner? For a while I was enjoying the story, but by the end I was deeply distressed about the moral and ethical implications of the book's ending. The book juxtaposes an adventurous, athletic, and sexually active lifestyle with life in a wheelchair - and decides that life in a wheelchair is not worth living. For those of us with close friends or loved ones with similar disabilities, this is a disturbing and morally callous ending.

  • Ela

    I had a hard time rating this book one star, because up until the end I really liked it. But the end is the most important part of every book because it's what stays with you and after that I just can't bring myself to rate it anything but "did not like it".

    I am honestly shocked after reading all those 5* reviews. Not because people liked the book, but because people somehow manage to get something "inspirational" and romantic out of it... Seriously? I don't want to judge people for their opinio

    I had a hard time rating this book one star, because up until the end I really liked it. But the end is the most important part of every book because it's what stays with you and after that I just can't bring myself to rate it anything but "did not like it".

    I am honestly shocked after reading all those 5* reviews. Not because people liked the book, but because people somehow manage to get something "inspirational" and romantic out of it... Seriously? I don't want to judge people for their opinion, but that's just disturbing.

    ---------Spoilers ahead-------------------

    Before I start, I want to say that I don't dislike this book because I'm strictly against any and every form of assisted suicide. It's a difficult subject with some valid arguments on both sides - in some cases, at least.

    I also don't have a problem with sad endings. I have different reasons for disliking it.

    Like a lot of people, I cried at the end of this book, but unlike probably most, not out of sadness, but out of anger. God, I was angry...

    Then I get on here and I see people quoting the book:

    "Some mistakes... Just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.”

    "You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

    "Just live well. Just live."

    How inspirational. Only... then Will basically drags all the meaning out of those quotes by deciding that this all applied to Lou, but not to himself.

    Why does he have to let his disability define him? He tells her to "Just live." but it's okay for him to "Just die."?

    "Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle."

    What if Lou was happy with a simple life in a small town and a loving family? Is it really better to never settle than try to actually be happy with what you have?

    "The thing is, I get that this could be a good life. I get that with you around, perhaps it could even be a very good life. But it's not my life. It's nothing like the life I want. Not even close. I loved my life, Clark. Really loved it. I loved my job, my travels, the things I was. I loved being a physical person. I liked riding my motorbike, hurling myself off buildings. I liked crushing people in business deals. I liked having sex. Lots of sex. I led a big life. I am not designed to exist in this thing - and yet for all intents and purposes it's now the thing that defines me. It is the only thing that defines me."

    Oookay... What? The f*?

    So it could be a very good life. But it's just not good enough for me. So, all the people who love me, go to hell, and I'm going to die. Because I just won't settle for less than perfect.

    I would have had an easier time understanding the book if he had been miserable until the end. If the book had showed us that his life really was miserable and he couldn't go on, it would have been incredibely sad and depressing (still entirely unromantic), but I would get that. Let him die of pneumonia. That would be sad, but at least it wouldn't send such a disturbing message.

    As it is, the book spends two thirds showing us that they can actually have happy moments and that he can actually love and be happy. But it's just not enough. Because: Don't settle.

    Now, I'm not claiming to even remotely be able to imagine what Will must feel like or how difficult his life is - but there are thousands of people out there, who live very difficult lives and still manage to be happy or at least try. I have a very deep respect for those people. But Will can't be happy or try because he can no longer go to Paris and go skiing and do all those super-amazing things he did in his life before - and just enjoying music, loving and being loved simply won't do. It just seemes to me like the overall message of the book is a very shallow one for this.

    Another thing, that makes me a little mad, is how in the book he says something like: dying is the first time he's actually made his own decision since the accident (or something along those lines).

    This just blows my mind!

    You don't lose all your choices because you can't move your legs and arms. He made tons of choices during the course of the book. He chose to be rude to Lou, he chose to be nice to Lou, he chose not to go out, he chose to go out, he chose to go to Alicia's wedding, he chose to go to Mauritius... All those things weren't his choices? He also had a lot more choices, considering all the money they had - yes, he was very limited in some "choices", but that doesn't mean he didn't have any.

    So, no, dying wasn't the first time he made his own choice. What it was, was the last time he made any choice. It wasn't the accident that took away all of his choices, it was deciding to die. And that's not brave, let alone romantic. It completely blows my mind that there are people reviewing this who found that ending romantic - I'm not sure how romantic you would find it if the person you loved wanted to commit suicide...

    Also, it was incredibly selfish. Will didn't just make a choice for his life, he made one for the people he loved and who loved him. And no matter how unpopular that opinion may be in today's super-individualistic world that sees self-fulfillment as the highest achievable goal, I actually believe that our duty not to hurt the people we love is - in general - a little more important than the duty to "live our life as fully as possible."

    "I liked riding my motorbike, hurling myself off buildings. I liked crushing people in business deals. I liked having sex. Lots of sex. I led a big life."

    Maybe this explains it. Maybe Will is just an incredibly shallow person. He didn't really feel like that to me for large stretches of the book, but maybe that's just it. And maybe that's what made me so angry.

    ___

    P.S.: There's been some controversy about the story in connection with the release of the movie, and since I've discussed this a little in the comments, I thought I'd add a few notes into the body of the review as well - on why the message this story sends is so problematic.

    Starting with what the message actually is: I don't think the author intended to tell us that a disabled life is not worth living and I would never accuse her of that. She made an effort to show that Will's life could be a good life and I have a feeling most readers understood that. The problematic part comes in where she presents it as a (psychologically) normal thing for him to still want to die.

    This reenforces very dangerous assumptions society already has about people with disabilities. Many (able bodied) people have commented that they completely understand Will and if they were in his position they'd want to die too.

    They are wrong. And I can say this, because there is actual data on this - the vast majority of people with similar disabilities as Will do not want to die. They adjust - with time and the right support and treatment.

    So when a disabled person has suicidal thoughts it is not our duty as a society to "empower" them to take their own life. It's our duty to give them the best possible care, treatment and support so they stop being suicidal.

    One argument frequently brought up is that this is the story of just one man. That it's not meant to be representative of all disabled people. While this may be a valid argument for any single story, the problem remains that these kinds of stories are vastly overrepresented in mainstream media. When was the last time a major Hollywood movie featured a quadriplegic lead character who didn't want to die? When you're creating content that has such an impact on such a gigantic audience, you cannot flinch from the responsibility of the message you're sending by claiming that it's "just one story". It isn't just one story. You're influencing people's opinions about disability and suicide on a huge scale. And you're doing it in the worst possible way.

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