by Jojo Moyes
Penguin Books, 2013. 369 pgs. Fiction
When the café Louisa Clark works at closes suddenly, she is at a loss. Without ambitions or any other work experience, Lou struggles to find a new job. Will Traynor has spent most of his life as Lou’s total opposite – a driven, adventurous, and successful businessman – but a terrible accident has left him partially paralyzed and unwilling to live. After being hired as his caregiver, Lou sets out to rekindle Will’s passion for life.
After seeing the trailer for the film adaptation coming out in June, I was excited to read Me Before You. It definitely delivered the charm I expected based on the trailer, but I was surprised by its complexity. Lou was especially likable and well-developed as a character, and I enjoyed how gradually and believably her relationship with Will developed. Although readers might immediately make comparisons with A Walk to Remember or The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You struck me as being less sentimental and more complicated than those books. It discusses ableism and personal choice insightfully (though not entirely unproblematically). I’m still thinking about the book days afterwards and haven’t quite made up my mind about how I feel. This is a book you need to talk about after reading, making it a good choice for book clubs that don't mind occasional strong language.