Me Before You Jojo Moyes Release Date: December 31, 2012 Publisher: Penguin Books Contemporary Literature M/F Book #1 of the Me Before You series Number of Pages: 400 Paperback Source: borrowed from Warren Public Library Rating: PG-13 Read 3/2/17 to 3/5/17
When I was still a little girl, around 10 years old, my favorite uncle was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I’m not going to go into details of that terrible disease here; I just tell you that so I can explain that I watched my vibrant uncle turn into a shell of himself when his disease progressed quite rapidly and confined him to a wheelchair. He was a mechanic by trade, but also loved adventure. He took me on my first airplane ride on a little prop plane since he had his pilot’s license. He loved his motorcycle and going on ATV adventures. I tell you all of this to let you know that I never really could see things from the heroine’s point of view in this story. While I could understand where Louisa’s heart was at, I couldn’t agree with her way of thinking.
In many ways I actually hated Lou’s family and boyfriend. I felt that she was treated as a silly and cute pet. As if she wasn’t as important as everyone else in the family or as important as her boyfriend’s extracurricular activities. It drove me nuts and I wanted to yell at her to stand up for herself. These relationships were written so well because, while they drove me crazy with the way they seemed to look down on Louisa, I could feel that they were a truly loving family. They couldn’t see their family clearly since they had gotten so used to everyone in the family having a nice, neat niche. As much as they underestimated Lou, they also overestimated her sister and didn’t even see there was anything wrong with the way she felt entitled.
It was a beautiful thing to watch Lou come into her true self without even realizing it was happening. All the while watching the hero, Will, find some joy in his life. There were times Will could drive me crazy. He was a very stubborn man and was used to getting his way before his accident. That made it all the more difficult for him to be so reliant on others after his injury. He was able to see the world with fresh eyes by observing Lou as she broadened her horizons.
I haven’t watched the movie yet, but was told the character of Nathan in the movie is not really of any huge importance. Nathan, although a peripheral character, was one of my favorite things about this story. I often felt as though he was the reader’s surrogate. This was the case in all ways…the way he helped Lou gain confidence in her caregiving, the way he never treated Will as “different”, the way he tried to lessen any uncomfortable feelings between Will and Will’s family. I loved him!
The end of this story is inevitable. I don’t think I’m giving away any spoilers by saying that. Everyone I talked to that has read this book knew how it would end. It was great that, although I knew the way it would end, I still wanted to go along and see how the journey played out.
After having a discussion with my son’s fiancée who saw the movie but hasn’t read the book yet, I strongly urge those of you who loved the movie to read the book. As always, I think reading the book gives you so much more depth.