Me Before You

me_before_you

Title

  • Me before you : a novel / Jojo Moyes.

Authors

Publication Info

  • New York : Pamela Dorman Books, 2012.

ISBN

  • 9780670026609 (hardback)-$27.95

Length

  • p. 369

Formats

  • Paperback
  • Hardcover
  • Large print
  • E-book
  • Compact disc

Rating

4Q, 4P

Reader’s Annotation

Louisa contentedly lives a small life until she goes to work for Will Traynor, a former “master of the universe” who is now a quadriplegic. In trying desperately to broaden Will’s view of his new world, Louisa finds her own world expanding.

Summary

Louisa Clark lives in an English village with her parents, sister, and nephew. She loves her job in a local cafe, dutifully contributes to the family’s slim coffers, and sees her boyfriend when she can in the midst of his busy schedule training for triathlons. She is content with the coziness of her small life. Then her world is thrown upside down when the cafe closes. After a string of terrible jobs, she agrees to take a position as care giver to Will Traynor, a wealthy and formerly powerful young man who is a quadriplegic following a terrible accident.

Will makes it clear that he does not want Louisa in his life. He is difficult, bossy, and often downright mean. When she finally stands up to him, they begin to negotiate a peace and a friendship blossoms. Louisa is shocked when she discovers Will’s secret plans, and she sets about with plans of her own to change his mind. Along the way, Louisa reveals a secret of her own, and begins to open up to the possibilities in her world.

Evaluation

A modern day romance, Me Before You is not fluff. It has a melancholy tone and deals with heavy themes such as chronic illness, death, economic woes, and sexual assault. There are sweet moments, but even those have an edge. Louisa’s relationship with her family reflects the difficulties of an adult child still living at home, and her relationship with her boyfriend is a dead end. The author did thorough research on the problems related to quadriplegia, and Will’s physical situation comes across as realistic. It is difficult, however, for the average person to grasp his outlook and to understand his decisions. In fact, some readers may be uncomfortable with the story’s conclusion. Overall, the story comes across as believable, and it is easy to become emotionally involved. An enjoyable story for anyone looking for a good cry.

Significance

This book takes an unpopular stand on a trending issue. It has also been made into a popular movie.

Author

Learn more about the author here.

Interview with Goodreads

Reviews

Goodreads

New York Times

USA Today

Genre

Contemporary romance; women’s fiction

Appeal factors

Young adults, book to movie, relationships/romance, England, character-driven, sympathetic characters, melancholy

Readalikes

You’re Not You, by Michelle Wildgen. Both moving, character driven novels. In You’re Not You young women accept jobs as caregivers to wealthy clients in wheelchairs and form strong friendships.

Talk Before Sleep, by Elizabeth Berg. Another moving, character driven novel, this one about a friendship between two women. It also deals with the issue of mortality.

Not Working, by Lisa Owens. Female characters like Louisa in Me Before You–flawed, dead-end careers, sarcastic, and likeable.

Booktalk Ideas

Speak from Louisa’s perspective, wondering how to make someone want to live who is dead set against it. Include some of her ideas for outings.

Describe Louisa from Will’s perspective.

Book Discussion Questions

It could be interesting to ask members to try to sit still, not moving hands or legs during the meeting, and try to imagine a future of immobility and dependency.

Which character did you like the most? The least? To whom could you most relate?

Have you ever been a caregiver for someone with a serious illness or disability? What is the hardest thing about that?

Do you think Louisa made the right decision to go to Will at the end?

Did you find it realistic that Louisa’s assault caused her to make the choices that she did?

Was Louisa’s relationship with her sister believable? What was your adult relationship with siblings like?

Why I chose this book

I wanted to know what the hoopla was all about. Also, my 14 (almost 15) year old daughter wants to read the book, and I like to know something about the things she wants to read.

Memory Cues

Quadriplegic; Louisa Clark; Will Traynor; suicide

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