Book chat: ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes

Me Before YouOh, you guys.

I can’t really think about this story without tearing up. I mean, I am deeply hormonal — but I really think I’d have been reduced to a whimpering mess even without a baby playing havoc with my emotions.

This book is powerful. Redemptive. Uplifting. Soul-wrecking. Funny, exhilarating, memorable. Basically, it’s everything I want in a book — and though I ardently wished it could have turned out differently, I understood it. This book? This book was love.

Louisa “Lou” Clark and Will Traynor meet at the most complicated points in their lives. For twenty-something Lou, life is a tireless march between the home she shares with her parents, sister, nephew and grandfather and the tea shop where the regulars all know her name. Day-to-day, nothing much changes; day-to-day, Lou has no plans for change. Or escape.

Will Traynor was a handsome, successful, high-flying London hotshot until a freak accident left him paralyzed with no desire to live. Now wheelchair-bound and living with his devastated parents, Will spends his days immersed in music or staring blindly at films. What he doesn’t want — or need — is a babysitter, but the freshly-unemployed Lou seems determined to fit that bill.

Though initially prickly, distant and cold, Will can’t help finding himself won over by Lou’s eccentric dress and caring personality; she is funny, kind, beautiful. Their days once spent in silence are soon filled with soaring conversation, and they open up to one another within the confines of Will’s home.

When Lou dares to begin to venture outside the safe walls Will has constructed, their friendship deepens — and her desire to make him see the world (and himself) as valuable becomes her reason for rising each day. But what — or who — could change Will’s mind about life?

Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You is easily one of my favorite reads in years. I whipped through it like crazy, simultaneously unable to part with it and absolutely dreading having finished it. When I got to the pivotal conclusion (which I will not spoil, don’t worry), I was sobbing as though I’d just gotten word that my soldier was never coming home.

Lou and Will’s growing dynamic makes this story — and I really fell for Lou. She is so resilient, funny, strong-willed, independent . . . yet still vulnerable and searching, searching. When she meets Will, she’s initially afraid of him and his coldness — but desperately needs the money his parents are paying for his care. She’s not a nurse (Will has someone for that); she’s there for moral support. Companionship. Hired for her cheery disposition, Lou is determined to be a friend.

And she is. As they begin to trust one another, I felt my heart bursting as they set out on adventures like attending a concert or going for walks around a nearby castle. Though Will seems broken, physically and spiritually, he finds healing in Lou’s company. They complement each other perfectly, actually, and I loved the idea that love comes in many forms.

As I approached the last few chapters, I felt a gnawing pit open in my stomach. Though I was desperate to learn what was going to happen, I worried endlessly about both Will and Lou. There was a surprising amount of romance and sensuality in their interactions; their relationship became quite intense. I grew concerned that one or both would get hurt, but realized hurt is inevitable.

Hurt is inevitable. But we can choose how to build from that hurt, how to use that hurt to become something greater, something more . . . and though my heart absolutely broke for Lou, I could see her becoming the woman she is meant to be. The fighter, the dreamer, the do-er that Will encourages.

Me Before You is not a novel I’ll soon forget, and it has cemented Jojo Moyes as one of my favorite storytellers. I loved One Plus One, but this story? It’s one for the ages.

5 out of 5

Pub: 2012 • GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

19 thoughts on “Book chat: ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes

  1. I 100% loved this book. I still think about it some days. It was so beautiful and emotional. I haven’t read anything else by Jojo moynes yet, but now that you said the other books were good–I’ll have to look into them!


  2. I read this book right after O was born, like the day I got home from the hospital. I was a sleep deprived, goofy love hormoned, body had just been ravaged, half person and, still, I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. It’s flat out crazy how compelling it is.


  3. I’ve been seeing this one buzzed about, and while I generally avoid crying books like the plague (ha), I’ve added myself to the holds list for it … I’m intrigued. Deeply intrigued.


  4. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face having just finished this book. I know I should probably let my emotions settle before reviewing but I want to get all the feelings down…


  5. Easily one of the best books I’ve read in years! I couldn’t put it down, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. Fantastic read.


  6. I loved this book, and finished it in the middle of the night and woke my husband up sobbing and weeping. My book club read it this month, and I re-read parts of it. Sadly our venue was a restaurant with live music and it impeded discussion. Everyone did love it, and almost everyone cried.
    Your review was lovely, thanks for bringing it all back to me again.


  7. I was NOT a hormonal mess when I read this one, and I STILL ended up in a puddle on the floor of the bathroom absolutely sobbing my heart out – the gross, snot-covered, total body sobbing that one usually saves for profound losses. It took me about an hour to calm down, and I was still incredibly sad for the next two days. It is just that good of a book. This is the book world’s version of the perfect story.


Comments are closed.