Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me-before-you-book-cover-jan-12-p122-1Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Series: Me Before You #1 (1/2)
Published by Viking on December 31, 2012
Genres: [Adult] Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance
Pages: 369
Format: Audiobook –> Paperback
Source: Audible –> Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed January 21, 2016

– to avoid major SPOILERS read bold text only –

Spending my last day as a teenager crying in the corner as I finished this wasn’t quite ideal. I was sporting the unbelievably puffy panda eyes look on my 20th birthday (which proved to not be that photogenic). But, more importantly, I hadn’t anticipated that I’d become a volunteer publicist for Me Before You. This happened because I was trying to explain to people the cause of my late night distress as well as convince them to read this moving story. Nevertheless, I am so glad I chose to read this British novel because beyond the emotional ride was a touching and enlightening story.

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

Lou Clark has led an ordinary and uneventful life until the moment she loses her job at the tea shop. From there, she seeks new work and she stumbles upon the opportunity of taking care of young, handsome and successful Will Traynor, who has become a quadriplegic after a recent motorcycle accident. Little does she know that this job, though sometimes unpleasant but often times rewarding, will forever change her view on life and how she plans to live it.

Before I get into the review I thought I’d include this: I highly suggest readers that haven’t read Me Before You to not read the synopsis (or too many reviews) and go into the story knowing absolutely nothing as I did. (And, for sure do not watch the film’s trailer because it leaves little for the viewers’ imaginations.) I think readers are able to get a greater emotional payoff this way-also it’s so easy to get spoiled for this book.

Alrighty then, now with that to the side onwards with the real review. Even after having nearly half a year since reading this story to prepare my jumbled thoughts into words, I’m still not even certain how I should even start. Me Before You is incredibly difficult to review for so many reasons: there’s so much depth and complexity behind the initial fluff, the subject matter and messages Moye suggests are controversial, and the fact that I didn’t seem to feel as strongly as others about this book made it a slight disappointment for me.

A part of me couldn’t fully love this book because the story is very predictable. Yet, I admit that there was some beauty to this flaw in that Moyes pulls through and goes with the “slap in the face” ending instead of the alternative: appeasing readers and overturning what they think will happen by painting a miraculous but contrived happily ever after resolution. I am thankful that Moyes chose to stay true to her initial resolve even if it did make a predictable story. So reminding myself of the possible alternative loosened my contempt for the predictability element.

The other two things that bothered me more than the predictability were the pointless use of Patrick’s annoying character and the somewhat obscure message Moyes attempts to convey. Patrick’s character irritated me to no end and I never could identify why he was necessary in the plot or story. Was he supposed to be one of the many anchors that has kept Lou in her hometown? I will never know, I suppose.

As for the themes that Moyes paint with Me Before You… As I read the novel it became increasingly a challenge to pinpoint exactly the message Moyes want readers to grab. At times I understood it as “YOLO, so live life to your fullest,” other times my theories were more depressing. And I noticed that some other readers and reviewers have expressed that Moyes is suggesting that life isn’t worth living if you’re handicapped. And in some moments of the book, it appears they’re not wrong with that conjecture. I guess it’s really left for the readers to interpret what Moyes truly is trying to say, which could possibly be a good or bad thing depending on the reader. For me, I was leaning towards the latter.

Me Before You is important and moving, but for the reasons I stated above isn’t exceptional enough for me to add to my all time favorites shelf.

…I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.

However, I cannot argue that Me Before You has one of the most heartfelt relationships and dearest love stories I’ve ever read. The friendship between bitter and sarcastic Will and slightly irritating but optimistic Lou creeps up slow. And their romance is one of the most perfectly executed slowburns. I really believed and loved the growth towards their companionship (first beginning with a rocky start then evolving into a lovely friendship, and lastly ending with a bittersweet goodbye to a short-lived romantic relationship).

And, needless to say, I cried. In fact, my exact words when I wrote my mini review after I had initially just finished this book was: “After everyone’s warnings I told myself I wouldn’t cry and I did a pretty good job. I didn’t shed a single tear but then the ending kind of happened. I was bracing myself for the predictable event but it was still a slap in the face nonetheless.” Even though I knew how Me Before You would ultimately end, the conclusion was still momentous enough to evoke a surge of emotions from me.

The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life–or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window–is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.

Though Will may be the center of the story (at least for me) and death may be one of the bigger focuses at times, readers never forget that this is a story of the exploration of one’s self and identity as well. And it’s a story that reminds readers that one should never settle for less. Me Before You isn’t the typical contemporary read. It surprised me in many pleasant ways with what it taught and reminded me. This is a thought provoking read I’d highly recommend to those looking for an unconventional, bittersweet romance.

And will I be reading After You, the sequel? Most likely not. I want to hold and cherish this story as how it concluded in Me Before You. (And, oh gosh, I’m going to see this movie this approaching weekend with some non-reader friends and I’m anticipating the tears. I’m definitely bringing a packet-or box-of tissues along.)


Summer’s Playlist:
Photograph | Stolen | Chasing CarsRest in Pieces  | How to Save a Life | Run | My Dear
*the bold/underlined are must listens!

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Blog @xingsings | Instagram @readxings | Twitter @xingsings

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38 thoughts on “Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  1. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books says:

    I’m so sooo glad you liked this book! I still haven’t gotten around to this one but I will eventually! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lola @ Hit or Miss Books says:

    I also recommend going in this one blind. Oh and how good it was! I mean, I liked the scenes with Lou and Will the most; the other ones, I enjoyed but didn’t care as much for. I think I’m going to read the sequel, someday, because I genuiely enjoyed Lou’s narration. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I felt the same way. I kind of hated every single scene that had Patrick, honestly. All of his parts just felt too superfluous in my opinion. And that’s wonderful, I hope you like After You when you do pick it up. Thanks, Lola! 🙂

      Like

  3. Carolyn says:

    I totally agree about going into this blind!
    I didn’t really understand the use of Patrick either except to highlight how more perfect Will was for Lou or I guess to say how Lou always sticks to the familiar
    Anyways great review! I’m really excited for the movie because I think the actors are perfect for the role :3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      You’re probably right with your theory with Patrick. I guess I was annoyed by both how aloof and needy he was. :/ And thanks, Carolyn! I am so excited for the film as well. Me and my friends are hoping to catch a matinee showing this Wednesday. It’s going to be awesome (because none of them have read the book (they’re not readers so…) or seen the trailer). They’re in for a ride… XD

      Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      I noticed that my hands look different in every single picture depending on if I decide to use a filter or not. Hand modeling is tough. I think I’ll be catching the matinee showing this coming week. I CANNOT WAIT. 😀

      Like

  4. Shoto says:

    I’m so happy you enjoyed this book! The end was very predictable, but I loved it nonetheless. I found Lou’s narration hilarious. I agree with you on Patrick having no significant role in the advancement of the story. He was just there, bragging about his marathons and whatnot. I’m so excited for the movie! Daenerys and Finnick ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Lou is so cheeky at times; it was great! And I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt that way about Patrick. I mean, I get that he’s there to symbolize one of the many reasons why she can’t move on and try new things, but ugh. And haha, right! I’m going to see the movie this Wednesday! Simply cannot wait! ^.^

      Like

  5. David Long says:

    Damn it why those songs at the end lol. Beautiful review bud, you make me want to read it but since there’s a movie, maybe I’ll watch it to save time (I’m a slow reader lol!). If it’s worth you reading and THEN watching the movie of the same plot? I will find time to watch it hahah!

    But I wanna ask though (Maybe you can tell me after you’ve seen the movie), do you think its more of a movie which you watch with friends, partner or yourself for maximum enjoyability?

    Your friend,
    Benjamin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      Thanks, Benjamin (or would you still rather be called David?)! And to be honest, I’ve heard that the movie is very, very close to the book, so you should be good with just going to see the film. ^.^

      And hmm, good question. Well, honestly, I’ve never gone to the movies alone before (but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing for those that do-seeing that regardless you want a quiet experience when the movie is actually showing), but I do prefer having company that way I can discuss the film afterwards immediately. :3

      Liked by 1 person

      • Benjamin (David Long) says:

        Benjamin is good hah! Noted, and yeah I know what you mean. Never tried it myself but since my friends (more than one, surprisingly lol!) frequent the cinema by themselves I guess maybe it’s more normal than we think huh?

        Talk again Summer! Hope you’re doing awesome 🙂

        Your pal,
        Benjamin

        Liked by 1 person

    • Summer @ Xingsings says:

      It sure was! I think you should really see the movie, Analee! I thought they did a fantastic job with the cast (it’s sort of funny that there’s people from HP, GoT, and The Hunger Games all in one movie, haha). And the film stays true to the book; there’s very little omitted. 🙂

      Like

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