Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me before youBook Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

 

(From the author’s website🙂

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than her 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 he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Gloria: This book was heartbreaking. This book is not for the weak of heart, it requires being open minded about euthanasia, the ultimate right to decide how you will die.  In this story, the fate of Will Traynor, was decided by an accident which caused Will to became a quadriplegic as a result.  The author did a wonderful job of creating a situation that would present the reader with a reason to read on, not just to know what decision would be made but how those around the “decision” would act and react. And of course opening up the debate of what would I do if I were in the same situation.

I went to elementary school with a young latino who was living in a foster home, named Richie, he was born with a deformed arm.  He seemed to have a good attitude, always made fun of himself when in a crowd and seemed to be normal except for the arm.  During high school, when he was 16 years old, he was in a car accident and became a paraplegic as a result.  He didn’t have resources to take care of himself let alone to have someone else take care of him.  I can still remember and experience the pain in my heart when I heard that a year later he committed suicide by hanging himself.  I remember thinking; I don’t blame him, who could have helped him to have hope let alone take care of him?

We live in a world that thrives on being beautiful, health and wealthy, it’s no wonder that we fear disability, disfigurement, and destitution.  The difference between the novel and the story of Richie is a gulf so wide, it breaks my heart.

The book is a good read.  It makes us think about things we don’t want to think about let alone deal with in our own lives. Rate: 3.5 because not every body can read this book.

Paula: I enjoyed the growth that took place in both characters of the journey they traveled throughout the story.  The challenge they faced while understanding how much they meant to each was enticing for me as a reader.  I understood his position about right to die but I also struggled with her love for him even in his physical condition. This a highly emotional book for all the characters and was for me as I read it. I actually cried at the end.  I enjoyed the writing style in that it was a relaxed and easy read.  I would recommend it to a friend, I think the many issues the characters faced could lead to interesting discussion. Rate: 4.5

Lynne: What struck me about the concept of assisted death, it’s an individual choice. Especially if you had that kind of life. Especially the claustrophobic, the closing in he felt. I would feel that too. The author did a good job of posing both sides by showing us that the protagonist wanted him to live. She uses the extremes, not even being able to use your body, and being physically fit and not living. That was a good comparison. I really enjoyed it from many aspects, so I rate it 4.0, not higher because of sneaking in chapters in different voices.

Connie: I wouldn’t have liked the book as much if all it did was grapple with the legal issue of assisted suicide. I loved the theme of fate and irony. A guy who pushed every envelope but gets hurt when he’s not even taking a risk and the woman who through bad luck and connection with the family, makes her choice to withdraw into a safe environment. So the fate and irony of who he is and what brought her to him, and she doesn’t even know he’s on borrowed time, with the irony of her deciding to help him and it doesn’t impact him, but it does impact her. What I liked is the idea of life and the irony of life, and the question of what is living and the flip side – the fear that keeps us from truly living. Rate 4.0

Robin: I did like this book, but it is so dang hard for me to read anything now without a writer’s perspective. In my on-line Stanford Writer’s Workshop class we discussed the use of first person with different points of view. The consensus was if you do it, be sure to do it well. I didn’t like it in this book. The voice of Louisa in first person started us off and carried us through quite a few chapters. It was so well done. I was very into her character and head and loving her when suddenly, sort of out of the blue, I was in another characters head. I didn’t like it, but accepted it and thought I would be there or back and forth between two characters. But then, whom, back to someone else, back to Louisa, back and forth, here and there. It did not add anything to the story and, in my opinion damaged the momentum the reader had with Louisa. If there were to be more than one point of view it could have been Will and Louisa, but not all those others. It felt like the author didn’t take the time to pass along the information she wanted through dialogue or other writing tricks which would maintain the point of view. I liked the rest of her writing, she is an excellent writer, builds tension, great characters, pace was great. Rate: 3.0

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