Book Talk: Me Before You

8:30:00 PM

Can six months change your life? That's all the time it takes for Lou and Will to change each others'. Here are two characters who have touched each other permanently and in ways that defy explanation. Their experiences within the pages of this novel speak with brutal honesty about the difficulties of the life of someone who is far from able bodied. In a way that feels achingly true, Moyes brings to life the struggles and triumphs of a group of people who are in the grips of an everyday tragedy.

It's rare to find a book that you know deep down is going to shatter you into a million pieces - but you begin it anyway. That's how I felt about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It was around page 100 that I had to put the book down and take a few deep breaths, because I knew. I hadn't known when I'd gone out that day, or when I'd run into the bookshop, or even when I picked it up on a whim, but as soon as I started reading, I knew. This book would touch me. Make me laugh - real, snorting, embarrassing kinds of laughter. Make me cry. Make me think. Make me want to reread it before I've finished reading it the first time. I knew it would reach down my throat, pull out my heart, and cradle it - before stomping on it repeatedly.

I felt a kinship with Louisa that struck me from the moment I read the back cover - she is safe in her routine and comfortable in her life, and she resists most attempts to change or challenge it. She is the oldest sibling, and feels both guilt and resentment toward her younger, needier sibling. She is struggling to carve out a life for herself among a family that is just trying to keep it's head above water. And while these things resonated with me in particular, I have a feeling that in this sense, Louisa is like a lot of us. Louisa may think that she and Will have very little in common, but they are both living lives that are smaller than they deserve. It's over the course of this novel that Will attempts to make Louisa see that. But this novel isn't just tug-on-your-heartstrings-sad, it's smart, and bright, and more than I ever expected. I can't underscore how incredibly funny this book is - a great deal of the resonance I felt when reading had to do with the biting, quick witted humor, which reminded me so much of the banter of my own family - it took me back to my own childhood.

Me Before You was a was a remarkable read, in more ways than I'm able to put into words. Wrenchingly funny, heartfelt, and honest, there's nothing I didn't love about this book. I want to put in in the hands of everyone I meet and say, "You need this in your life - even if you don't know it yet."

I was thrilled to find out - through Goodreads, of course - that not only is Me Before You being made into a film, but also that Moyes is working on a follow up novel, After You, expected to be published later in September of this year. I don't know if I can possibly love After You as much as I loved it's predecessor, but I'll certainly be excited to visit again with the characters I grew so fond of.

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2 comments

  1. I love reading other people's opinions of this book, it really is a beautiful and devastating novel!

    Hollie // hollieinwanderlust.co.uk

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    1. I agree! I didn't know anything about the book going in, which I think made it all the more amazing in my eyes. I feel like I was super vague, but it's so hard to talk about how I feel about it without spoiling anything!

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