‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes – a love story or a story about life itself?

I wrote this book review for one of my University modules. I had a pretty good mark on it, so I thought I’d upload it on here as well;


“Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”

This is the type of romance that would have hopeless romantics like me crying while the cynics would be throwing up. The novel focuses on a young girl, Louisa Clark, who loses her job as a cake seller but soon finds another. This new role that Louisa takes on involves taking care of a very handsome quadriplegic, Will Traynor, for six months. Will had his beautiful, adventurous life taken away from him in a tragic motorcycle accident. Now, left bound to a wheelchair, Will wants to end his life and has promised his parents six months until he does so. Louisa has relationship problems with her current boyfriend, Patrick. She has also suffered a traumatic experience. You can already tell this is not for the faint hearted. It’s not long before it becomes apparent that Will and Louisa can help each other have a brighter life. But things aren’t that simple. Like the iconic couple Romeo and Juliet, Louisa and Will’s relationship was destined to be doomed.

One of the things I love most about this novel is that you can see their passion slowly growing. At first, Will keeps making digs at Louisa by saying things such as “go and raid your Grandmothers wardrobe, or whatever it is you do when you’re not making tea”. Then, later on, his tune soon changes as he ends up confessing, “You’re pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning”. Can you hear me crying? Because I am! You don’t realise how meaningful it is until you read the book!

Their relationship is portrayed in a very realistic manner. It doesn’t happen straight away; it happens naturally. Moyes also shows us that, while Louisa’s relationship with Patrick does have its problems, Louisa still does actually care about Patrick. That in itself adds to the drama of the novel because she almost creates a love triangle for herself without realising it. Because, who said love was easy?

Louisa’s birthday party was something I also loved. It was a fantastic scene. The quote that comes to mind here is “she certainly gives a good bed bath” – that was how sarcastic Will is at this point.  How Louisa was happy with everything apart from her boyfriends present for her was priceless. It was a cute and funny scenario at the same time. And the way her boyfriend, Patrick, looks at Will’s present questioningly and just says “tights?” in a judgemental tone, nails the ‘jealous boyfriend’ act perfectly. And Will likes that; he makes Patrick even more jealous by simply having Louisa do her job. Perfect! But, let’s be honest, we’re kind of rooting for Will anyway.

(Warning: from here on, there are spoilers!)

However, this book didn’t just make me cry (in a good way) or shout “GOALS!” all the way through it. The ending. Tissues at the ready, you’re going to need a lot of ice cream and chocolate to get through this. I feel that Moyes missed a great opportunity to show that a disabled life is still worth living. That you can do more than just be “stuck in bed waiting for someone to bloody get [you] out again”, as Will put it. Despite this, a good thing about it is that Moyes showed us that you can’t force someone to live. Love won’t solve everything. “You can only help someone who wants to be helped.”

Heart-breaking and dramatic are the best words to describe this book. It really has you questioning what life must be like for someone in the same situation as Will. It also forces you to think about how you would feel in his situation; to not be able to do anything you love anymore. Moyes makes readers empathise with Will and it really does add to the effect of the novel. It caused me to be a blubbering mess.

They said that The Notebook was ‘a love story to end all love stories’. They will definitely rethink that after reading this! But, do you want to know another good thing? The movie has been released on DVD, so you can cry for a good hour and a half, if you don’t feel like reading.


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