Me Before You – A Review

Before my new book club picked this novel, I had heard the buzz EVERYWHERE. 

I despise spoilers, so I hadn’t read any detailed articles or reviews but it seemed that every time I went online, I saw friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers recommending ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes to anyone who would listen. So it was on my radar, and I added it to my mental TBR list.

I haven’t been to any meetings with my new book club (maybe it’s a little forward of me to claim it as my own, I should wait and give them time to meet and reject me first) but the friend who invited me forwarded the book choice email to me and I thought yay! Everyone is liking this book, I won’t be stuck reading some rubbish just so I can join in the discussion with my soon-to-be new best book buds.

That same day, another friend shared a link to a video and before I realised which movie it was related to, I clicked on the link and found myself watching the ‘Me Before You’ movie trailer. Oh, now I knew what the book was about… and honestly that premise seemed like something I’d seen before.

Undaunted I immediately bought the book for my Kindle so I could get started reading while the idea was at the front of my brain. If I’d put it off ’til later it would no doubt get lost under “buy stamps” and “swipe that cobweb at the top of the stairs.”

First the positive stuff: I really like the way Jojo Moyes writes. It’s easy to absorb, funny, and the story just carried me along. The main character, Lou, is great. Hugely likeable, and highly relatable.

The story itself, while an enjoyable enough read, was nothing new. The entire time I was reading I could not shake the feeling that I’d read this whole thing somewhere before.

SPOILER ALERT

The main character, Louisa, is a strange but lovable young woman who has never left her hometown and doesn’t think she has much going for her. She’s seemingly happy to accept her small life despite being jealous of her own sister, and having acknowledged the lack of passion, or even interest, in her own love life.

When Lou loses her job at the local cafe she almost accidentally finds herself hired to be the companion and caregiver to a young man who suffered a terrible injury causing him to be paralyzed from the chest down.

Will, the dashingly handsome quadriplegic, that Lou is hired to hang out with, does not want to live the rest of his life in a wheelchair and so very dependent on others for his every need.

Lou discovers that Will had previously attempted to end his own life, that he has a deal with his family that he will be allowed to do so at an already set future date, and that she is the last effort to change his mind and show him he still has a life worth living.

Line up the cliches!

  • Will used to live a very active life.
  • Will used to be a bit of a dick.
  • His parents are rich, so money is no object while trying to change his mind about death.
  • Lou’s family is the opposite of Will’s family – poor/rich – silly/snooty – express emotions/stick up their arse
  • Will’s sister doesn’t like Lou.
  • Will’s parents don’t have a happy marriage.
  • Lou has a scary event from her past.
  • Lou’s boyfriend doesn’t understand her.
  • Lou’s attempts to make Will enjoy his life leads to her seeing the potential in her own.
  • They fall for each other.

There were no plot twists that I didn’t already see coming from three quarters of a mile away.

I’m convinced that this story has been done before, and because of this, even though it was nicely written and not awful to read, I’m seriously disappointed.

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