Rating: 5 Stars
Age Recommendation: 17+ (Adult fiction/late Young Adult readers)
Warnings: Triggers include strong language, character self-harm, character death, rape, and potential additional triggers for those living with or assisting those with disabilities
Genres: Fiction, Drama, Coming-of-Age, Medical, Romance
Pages: 409 (Paperback, Movie-tie-in edition)
“I worked out what would make me happy, and I worked out what I wanted to do, and I trained myself to do the job that would make those two things happen.”
“You make it sound so simple.”
“It is simple,” he said. “The thing is, it’s also hard work. And people don’t want to put in a lot of work.”
Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You, has written several other novels that I have not yet had the pleasure of reading, but this story is “scored on my heart,” as one of her characters might say. In truth, I picked it up initially because the film adaptation recently came out, but also because of a plethora of positive reviews I found on places across the internet. What I did not expect to find was a story that boldly addressed topics that many authors would shy away from.
I did not expect to love Me Before You as much as I did. I knew, from the tellings of others, that it would probably make me cry. I’m a bit of a sap, which perhaps is why my tears lasted like fifty pages. I can own up to that. But usually it’s only movies, or books like Zusak’s The Book Thief that can get the waterworks turned on.
The themes of choice, love, sacrifice and fear run rampant through this novel in the best possible way. Morals will be questioned, even on the reader’s part, and the recurring through had throughout might be something along the lines of “Why does my heart hurt?” Because it’s truly gut-wrenching in a way that only the most honest and brave stories can be.
As with every book, it is sort of my job to point out any confusing parts or flaws that the book seems to possess. In this book, I only found one. Sometimes the point-of-view changes and can be confusing. For reference, if there is no name listed at the beginning of the chapter, then the POV has reverted back to that of our main character.
For someone like me, who has spent a great deal of time in the United Kingdom, the slang, names and terminology used in Me Before You was easy to follow. It might be worth, however, checking if you aren’t sure. There are many things that, while reading, I realized I would have interpreted entirely differently before moving abroad. Now that I’m back home, it’s almost funny to think I wouldn’t have noticed before moving.
As I write this, I am waiting for my mother to gather her things so we can go out and watch the movie, even though I only finished the book a few hours ago. Somehow, I just can’t get enough of it. I’ve shelved it with my other favorites and I have the distinct feeling that this might be one of those books I re-read every summer, just to remind myself of the lessons Moyes offers the reader.