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Me Before You - Jojo Moyes

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Author: Jojo Moyes / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 January 2012 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: Me Before You / ISBN 13: 9780718157838 / ISBN 10: 0718157838

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      23.06.2013 01:57
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      One of the best, possibly THE best, book I have ever read!

      Me Before You is about Will Traynor, a rich, active businessman, whose life is turned upside down when he is involved in a motorcycle accident and paralysed from the chest downwards. His mother is desperate to find a full-time day carer for him and finds Louisa Clark, a recently unemployed young woman who doesn't have any qualifications. At first, Will and Lou don't get along at all, but they learn a lot from each other as time goes on. This is a heartbreaking story about two people whose lives are irrevocably changed from the moment they meet.

      Me Before You is written from the first person perspective of Lou, the female protagonist. Lou is a really likable character and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her narrative because she's really funny and fearless but also sensitive and unique. She is the sort of girl who wears yellow and black striped tights even though she's twenty seven and you can't help but love her. I really connected with her character and felt both her happiness and her pain as I read this book. There are a couple of chapters which give us an insight into the minds of some other characters including Will, Nathan (Will's medical carer), Camilla (Will's mother) and Katrina (Lou's sister). The book starts off with a small chapter from Will's perspective on the day of his accident which is great because it means you can really understand what Will was like before his accident and see the tremendous difference afterwards.

      The story line of this novel is really moving. I've never really thought about what it would be like to be completely paralysed or how it would make me feel but having read this book I feel that I have a greater understanding of what life must be like for those with disabilities. Obviously I'm still nowhere even close to really understanding the life of a quadraplegic but I can certainly appreciate that it's a lot more difficult that one might at first imagine. This isn't the sort of book I usually read, in fact, I usually avoid 'illness'-related books but I seriously regret keeping this book on my shelf, unread, for the past year.

      This is a completely different sort of romance to any that I've read before because it doesn't really involve any physical touching and, in fact, it's not even really mentioned until the last few passages of the book. Even though it is not explicit, you can feel it developing between the characters, a real connection, a not the whimsical ones you often find in romance books. This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful and heartbreaking love story I have ever read in my entire life. This is the sort of love that creeps up on you when you least expect it. There was one moment whilst reading this that I actually started sobbing, like full on sobbing, and I had to put the book down for five minutes whilst I got all my emotions out. This was not the only time I cried whilst reading this novel, oh no, I was pretty much crying not stop for the entirety of the second half and this book touched my heart in a way that no other book has. In some ways, you could call this an adult version of The Fault in Our Stars, as there are similar-ish issues explored, but I was much more moved by Me Before You - if that's even possible!

      Lou and Will learn a lot from each other as the book progresses, so in turn, I too learnt a lot. I think reading this book may have even made me a better person because I certainly have a completely changed perspective on quadraplegics, on life and on love. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is absolutely phenomenal and a must-read for everyone! For teenage readers, if you liked TFIOS, then Me Before You is probably also up your street. For adult readers, anyone with a heart will love this book.

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        18.05.2013 17:34
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        have the tissues ready you will cry

        I will not give too uch a way as it spoils the enjoyment of the book, however this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I picked this up at a trainstation before a long trip home, assumming, like many of the books I read it would be a regualr light hearted read for a long and boring journey. However, this book was so much more than that, although it has the same light hearted humour and range of charcters as many chic lit books at the core is deep and powerful message revloving around a much debated topic in society.
        The genius behind it is, that you dont realise or suspect what this issue is going to be until you are already engrossed in this wonderful text. I won't give the ending away but I will say that you will definatley need the tissues at hand.
        If you like books by Jodi Picoult as well as your typical chic lit you will love this, as it combines humour, romance and real issues together in an effortless way.
        Its only downfall is that once youve reached the middle you can sort of guess how its going to end, but you can't predict what happens along the way.

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          14.12.2012 23:14
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          Really breaks your heart and makes you appreciate life

          I was recommended this book by a friend who lent it to me after she had read it. I thought it was going to be a regular chick lit book that I usually read, but this really surprised me and is now one of the best books I have read!

          The book is about a man called Will who lived a full exciting life before being paralysed in a motorcycle accident. He needs carers to do pretty much everything for him, feed him, bath him etc. He has no life, he feels there is nothing to live for as he cannot do the things he used to, he really misses his old life. This part of the book in itself broke my heart! To think there are people actually out there living their life this way, just like Will, this book tells this story so real, it makes you think of those in real life suffering and adapting to being a quadriplegic like Will.

          Lou is one of the main characters of the book, who takes a job as a carer for Will. She recently lost her job as a waitress and has never cared for anyone before, nevermind a quadriplegic, so she does find this job hard in the beginning to adapt to. She is an easy character to warm to, as her family think she has never achieved anything in life, and she only tries her best. She has a big heart and is being taken advantage of by her boyfriend Patrick, you can tell she is not happy until she meets Will.

          When Lou first starts her job caring for Will, he is so angry and depressed about what has happened to him. The story is about how Lou tries to convince Will that there are things in life worth living for, by taking him for days out, getting him to do different things etc.

          I don't want to say too much about the storyline, as I don't want to ruin it. This is not your usual chick lit book in terms of the story and the ending, but you could guess from the start that the main characters fall for each other, it was very predictable, but very believable.

          Lou had me laughing and smiling throughout the book with her funny ways, and I also cried reading this book! I have never ever cried at a book before! It really gets to you, just because the story can be so real for people out there living as a quadriplegic and also their families, it just shows you how lucky you are, and what some people are going through. I couldn't even read the last few chapters of this book it made me cry too much! It was about a week later when I made myself finish it!

          I really could not put this book down, it made me laugh, cry, and I will always remember it as it really makes you appreciate the little things in life and your family and what you have got! It tells the story in such a light way though, not too serious. It is so easy to read and follow, and there are other great characters that fill up the book like Lou's family and Will' family. I would highly recommend this book, definitely one of the best I have read, just make sure you have your box of tissues ready!

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            13.11.2012 20:15
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            A lovely read that you will completely lose yourself in!

            When writing book reviews, I don't like to give too much away as I still want people to enjoy the ups and downs of the book themselves, so I tend to focus more on my enjoyment of them. Whilst this may not be to everyones tastes, I hope this review will encourage people to pick up the novel.

            Since purchasing a Kindle a few months ago I have tried to keep an eye out for books on special offer and came accross Me Before You. I had heard about the book and was intrigued so downloaded it and got stuck in that night...

            Me Before You is focussed on one of the most debated subjects at the moment - assisted suicide. As expected, it is an emotional read but it's not all doom and gloom. I often found myself having a giggle in bed. This was mainly due to the fact that Jojo ensures you really get to know the characters and their personalities so you can share quirky moments with them. It also explores other subjects in a tactful and sypathetic way.

            The assisted suicide theme is approached in such a way that really makes you open your eyes and it is very up to date with the current discussions. There are even references that relate to recent events and so the book feels relevant. However, I never found that this aspect of the novel was too heavy that you struggled to comprehend it.

            This novel is essentially a love story with a twist. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a novel they can really feel involved with and something that has a lot of depth.

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              13.09.2012 10:29
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              A fantastic book.

              When I came across a few reviews of this book it jumped straight to the top of my books to read. I had never read another Jojo Moyes book so cannot compare it to her others. I did like the style of writing after a few chapters I thought this book would be really depressing but she manages to cover the whole book really well mixing emotions up.

              Louisa Clark still lives with her parents and bumbles along in life. She has had the same job for years so when this suddenly gets taken away from her she needs to find something new. After struggling to find anything new she comes across a job as a companion to Will Traynor which after a terrible interview she is very surprised to get. Will used to be a high flyer until a motorbike accident changed his life forever as he is now a quadriplegic. Neither of the two main characters had a clue what would happen when they met by chance what a difference they would make to each other lives.

              Louisa and Will are the two main characters throughout the book. It is told from Louisa's perspective mainly although it does include a few chapters told from different characters. I found myself warming to Louisa straight away. She is fun, quirky liking to wear odd clothes and generally a nice person. She liked to drift through life doing what was expected of her without worrying too much about what she could really achieve. As the book goes on we see her grow and start to think differently about life which is involving and pulls you in.

              When we first meet Will I found an instant dislike to him. He makes things very difficult for Louisa which in turn makes the reader feel very uncomfortable for her wishing he would stop as she has already had a tough time from the beginning of the book. Although we also get to see Will pre accident at the beginning of the book I did had sympathy for what he was going through I find the author makes it very difficult to like him at first. As you continue to read you begin to understand a little how he is thinking and why exactly he is so rude. We get a glimpse of hope of him being a nice person and watch them both learn from each other. There are other characters like Will's nurse Nathan, Louisa's and Will's family and Louisa's fitness fanatic boyfriend. These characters do play some important parts in the book but it is the two main characters that the story mainly focuses around.

              I like the way the author sets the scene as she paints a clear picture of everything we need to know without going over the top with descriptions so you become bored. She also builds the characters well making us care about what happens to them by keeping them interesting and likable. I was a little surprised as I knew very little about the book so when I picked it up as the cover and blurb on the book both suggested it was a love story. I was excited for a light love story but what you receive is actually different. Although it is very easy to read and I like the style the author writes in it really are not all hearts and flowers covering some tuff subjects the book does manage to balance between happiness but also covers the difficult issues well.

              I found this book to be rather emotional; reading the pages I laughed out loud began to cry and even became frustrated at parts. I originally brought this to read a little each day but once I began to get a few chapters into the book I just could not put it down. I found myself wanting to know more making time to read it which ended with me finishing it in two days. I really did think from about half way through the book I had it all sussed out. I really believed I knew the ending but infarct in was completely different to what I expected which made it and more enjoyable read. I really liked the way the book was written. I was a little worried with the story it was covering the book would become a little too much but she manages to mix the sadder subjects with the positive points very well. I found myself wanting to continue to read to find out what happened next.

              The story covers how Will requires constant help from other people and finds it really frustrating. We get to get a clue to how he is feeling, the struggles he has to go through day to day and difficulties he has to overcome. We also get to see the changes in Louisa's life, the choices she begins to make differently and how she copes with change.

              One thing I did not like too much is for a few chapters in the book she swaps from the story coming from Louisa's point of view and we get to hear what his nurse Nathan thinks and also views from Wills mother and Louisa's sister's view. Although it was nice to see how the others were thinking I don't think she introduced it into the story well. The change of chapter brings the change of personal thoughts and then it jumps back again once this chapter is done and I just found it a little annoying. Also I know it may have been hard for her to write it from will's perspective but seems as we had a glimpse at other people's views it would be nice to have a taste of what he was truly thinking rather than guessing.

              Overall I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for a light but interesting read. Although it took me a little while to get into the book I found towards the end I couldn't put it down. I have no real ideas on the subject in question it seemed realistic enough I was able to make my way through the story without doubting that it could really happen. It is not a book I would read again as I know the twists and turns but it certainly was a lot better than I had first expected. It is a very thought provoking book making me come away thinking about the characters and their situations. RRP is £7.99 but I purchased it for around £4 from Amazon. You should be able to find a copy really easily from any good book stores or online at places like Tesco and Amazon.

              ISBN 13: 9780718157838

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                14.06.2012 23:02
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                A must read!

                I not heard of Jojo Moyes before and even if I had done I probably wouldn't have picked this up as I tend not to read authors I am unfamilar with unless it has been recommended by my sister. This beauty fell into my hands when I was visiting my friend in London. After the inital journey there I realised I would be spending a long on tubes and trains so wanted something to read. A few, including this one, caught my eyes in Smiths but I tend not to pay full-price so went to look for a charity shop. I came across a second-hand bookshop and this was on top of the chick-lit pile - a lot cheaper than I had just seen it for. So I suppose you could say I was meant to read this.

                Now the actual topic of the book I feel is different from the blub on the back of the book. I didn't realise his injuries were so serious. However it is good that is was not on the back because I am ashamed to say that I would not have read the book as I wouldn't have thought it was my thing. How wrong I would have been!

                Now initally I didn't click with Louise; her taste in clothes was a little too eccentric for my tastes but it didn't take me long to change my mind. Afterall i'm not reading a fashion book! Louise was persistant with Will iniatially because she had no other option but to keep the job, but then because she saw in something in Will that was deeply hidden. A further reason comes to light later on which sets a sad undertone to the book even in happy circumstances.
                The trick Will played on Louise during their first meet was cruel but I can full understand why he did it. He was a touch egg to crack for Louise as his sudden drastic change in lifestyle left him depressed and completely void of the character he used to be. It was lovely to see the moments when we glimpsed his former self.

                I cannot recommend this book enough, it is brilliant. I have already passed it onto my friend and as it turns out my sister already had it. I wish she had told me about it! This book is addictive; I was reading it on every train/tube during my trip and even nearly missed my stop because of it. Consequently I rushed off with my lugguge and knocked a poor women on the leg with my suitcase, sorry! The last section I knew had to be read all at once rather than split up and it was about 3.30am one morning when I finished it sobbing like a baby and reaching for the tissues. I have not cried at a book like that before. That is not to say the whole book is sad, I laughed out loud several times, probably earning curioius glances on the tube. The book makes you think about life and how lucky you are. All I can say is thank goodness Louise Clark came into Will's life.

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                23.04.2012 15:16
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                a sad but uplifting love story set in an unusual situation.

                I've just finished this book after 3 evenings rabidly, devouring its content. I was very unsure initially as to whether the material would be a little too sensitive, as my husband is severely disabled and only has use of his left arm, but I'm very glad I persevered. The research for this book was amazing, particularly when Lou lists the things Will likes and does not like. Realising that it's actually the simple things that are really important to individuals locked in such a situation. Things they can do on their own such as listening to music, reading the news and watching television and films.
                I read parts of it out to my husband and we laughed out loud on many an occasion but particularly when she described the day at the races. We have been in that situation so many times and no matter how ridiculous it sounds it is so true, even down to the fact that the most helpful of people are usually the most unlikely.
                The subject matter regarding Dignitas and the desire some people may have to no longer continue with the constant pain and discomfort of disability, at such an extreme level, was conveyed with just the right amount of gravity and sensitivity. I also loved the way Jogo attempted, and in my eyes succeeded, in portraying so many different viewpoints and how complex the situation is. I particularly sympathised with Will's mother who very touchingly lets the reader know that the maternal instinct is so strong that you would do absolutely anything to persuade your children that life is worth continuing.
                In summary this book is far more than just a black, comedic romance novel and would be of interest to any reader whether they have been affected by the issues contained in the book or not. It's funny, bitter, sad and empathic but above all a really good read. I have to say though, that I did cry for about the last twenty pages of the book, but this is just testament to Jogo Moyle's great storytelling and characterisation. I highly recommend this book.

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                16.04.2012 22:18

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                A brilliant read :)

                This book was recommended and subsequently given to me by a relative. I've not read any of Jojo's other books and this book has left me undecided as to whether her other books are as good or whether I'll be disappointed as I believe that Me Before You could be a hard act to follow.
                It usually takes me well over a fortnight to read a book, yet I'd finished this one (in tears) within 3 days.
                The story is about Lou, who has just lost her job and applies for a position as carer to Will, who was left a quadraplegic after an accident.
                Jojo Moyes has managed to capture the traits and insecurities of the characters and the relationship between them in such a way that I immediately identified with them. The mix of laugh out loud wit and thought provoking moments had me hooked from the first chapter, making me want to read it at every available opportunity, but not wanting it to end. Jojo's tasteful humour prevented this from being a 'heavy' read.
                Although the cover somewhat suggests chick-lit, men shouldn't be put off as the pages provide a heart wrenching but sometimes comical insight into how fragile life can be and the difficulties and life choices forced upon those involved.

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                14.04.2012 17:19
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                A chick lit book that tries to discuss a serious theme but is essentially a fairy tale

                I have read several glowing reviews for Jojo Moyes' book "Me Before You" and generally when I encounter a book so overwhelmingly loved, I feel pretty confident that I am going to love it too. So when I was last out shopping in Sainsburys and saw the book as part of their wonderful 2 paperback books for £7 offer, there was never going to be any doubt about me buying it.

                ~~The Plot~~

                Will Traynor used to be a high flying, thrill seeking middle class young man. He had it all - good looks, successful career and a beautiful girlfriend. One day a road accident changed everything, leaving him a paraplegic and in need of constant care and assistance from other people.

                Lou Clark comes into his life as a carer. Lou is a hard working girl from the poor side of town and at first there is no real common ground between Will and Lou however slowly a bond forms between them as Will comes to appreciate Lou's ditzy warmth. What Lou doesn't know however is Will has already made plans about his future and she has been hired by his mother in the hope that Will may change his mind...

                ~~Opinion~~

                Jojo Moyes has written a book which is, essentially, chick lit with the added bonus of what at first glance seems to be a little controversy in the shape of the debate over assisted suicide.

                I must state from the off that I really don't care much for chick lit, being of the opinion that if you have read one you generally find you have read them all; with each book in the genre tending to follow a variation on a theme.

                To be fair to Moyes, her writing style is rather good and she certainly knows how to suck the reader in although it took me several chapters to actually get into the story. The vast majority of the book is told from Lou's perspective but for some - rather inexplicable - reason, Moyes has added a few chapters which are told from some other characters' perspective and this doesn't work for one crucial reason.

                Throughout the book Moyes almost rams home the message that since Will's accident he feels he has had no voice and he fears that his choices are being taken away from him. Yet she doesn't give Will himself a voice in this book and for me that was a huge turn off as it somehow adds to what I found a rather patronising attitude towards the disabled in the book. Will's carer and Lou's sister both get chapters enabling them to convey a different perspective but Will - who is the leading character - doesn't.

                When I was a student I knew a young man who was paraplegic following a rugby accident so I am fully aware of how much paraplegic people rely on the help of others but there was something rather one dimensional about Will and his surly reluctance to attempt any form of acceptance towards his disability. Perhaps because I have encountered someone in real life who genuinely had to face up to this issue I found Will's initial attitude to be very annoying and while as the book progressed and his attitude did improve the fact of the matter was I found him to be such an unpleasant character I really didn't care about him or what his decision was going to be.

                I do wonder if the book would have worked better with someone who had lived a life less exceptionally perfect than Will. Moyes goes into great detail in letting the reader know about Will's life prior to the accident - the successful career, the gorgeous girlfriend, the luxury flat in London, the exotic travel and, perhaps most importantly, the physical activities he took part in when he got to these exotic places.

                Lou is a far more pleasant character however once again Moyes falls into the trap of being patronising when describing her working class family and her blissful ignorance, and I am afraid to say Moyes' fails to create a working class family that couldn't step out from the realms of "stereotype".

                The book's cover is filled with review captions describing the book as "romantic" and I can't really argue with that even if I find that kind of romance rather predictable in a book featuring a disabled leading man. It is to Moyes' credit that she doesn't gloss over the realities of life as a paraplegic but it's not going to be spoiling the plot for anyone to learn that his carer falls in love with him. The thing is it's hard to know if Lou's feelings are based on true love or a desperation to bring him out of his deep depression. Also, to be less than romantic, I couldn't help but wonder if Lou was attracted to the lifestyle of Will's family and their money. Had Will's character been from a less well heeled background this wouldn't have been a concern of course - but then again it wouldn't be yet another variation on "Cinderella" then.

                Overall this is a fairly enjoyable and undemanding read which is let down by the one dimensional characters and a plot which tries to add a serious theme to what is a bit of a fairy story.

                I clearly hold an unpopular opinion on this book however - almost every review I have read of it has been glowing but if you are expecting a book which is life changing then I am afraid this may let you down. Moyes can certainly write decent enough prose but the predictable plot line and characters which I personally found hard to care about left me feeling decidedly disappointed. Where she let me down the most however was in not giving Will a voice in his own chapter despite ramming the point home that he didn't have one in the book.

                Maybe of course I am just too cynical for a book such as this but when it comes to something as deadly serious as life changing disabilities and assisted suicide I don't think predictable chick lit is the place to do it and if this book had been published by Mills & Boon I suspect some of the people who raved about it may think twice.

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                  12.03.2012 17:19

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                  more mojo than you could throw at lou's tights...more jojo than you can read and not be moved

                  more mojo than you could throw at lou's tights...more jojo than you could push the most reluctant of readers to open their eyes, turn the pages and read.

                  so go on, indulge yourself..get a little lost in the plot of the will he wont he..

                  this book from beginning to end is a soulful read. its lightness belies the seriousness of the dilemma faced by its participants. the story (for them at least) is a life changing one and for the reader it is indeed very compelling.. tearful...humouress..an all encompassing throw that hits you square in the stomach and will not allow you to breathe until you reach the end.. quite a book then i hear you say?.. one nods and admits that although it isn't the mayor of casterbridge, the subject matter is just as challenging and the characters are just as real and flawed but who, although challenged, ultimately win the day.

                  it brings up 'the' most daring of topics..what does a man do when he is stuck in a wheelchair as a quadraplegic with no hope of recovery? How does a family, faced with the strains of a marriage already doomed to fail, cope with the knowledge of their sons impending mortality?... enter lou... a vibrant, dress fussed, stressed out delightful scatterbrain who tries to hold it all together for them..

                  at first they all hate each other and lou wants to pack it in but circumstances pull her into this families life and will's in particular until she can't pull away.. at times she runs the risk of jeopardising her own happiness but then while searching to fulfil another's happiness finds her own.

                  Me Before You made me laugh, made me cry but its ultimate message is to listen and to try and understand what another person might need from life. the challenge ultimately is to be brave enough to accept them, even when they are totally against your own wishes and in looking at another's life - to be brave enough to have and want a life of your own.

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                  04.03.2012 14:41
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                  A Book to savour.

                  February was a poor month for new book reviews and so I went to my library armed with a list of the best looking books on Dooyoo. I'm still getting these back, which is why I'm reviewing some different genres to my normal finds. I have read and reviewed one by Jojo Moyes last year and enjoyed it, but this looked like chick-lit so would I like it?

                  ***Take two different people***

                  The plot of this book centers on the relationship between two very different characters brought together by unusual circumstances. Louisa (Lou) Clark has lived all her life in the small town of Stortford, it's main claim to fame a castle that does bring in some tourists. Working in The Buttered Bun teashop has been her only job for 6 of her twenty-seven years but she's about to be made redundant. Without any real qualifications and little experience it's going to be hard for her to find a job and her family need her income.

                  Will Traynor was forced to move from London back to the family home near the castle when a motorbike accident took away his movement (he's a quadriplegic) and confined him to a wheelchair. He's always been independent and at thirty-five he feels his life is over. For two years he's managed to get along with a male aide, Nathan, but now his recovery has reached it's zenith his mother feels he needs more help around his own annex, allowing for more freedom.

                  This is the job that is suggested by the Job center to Lou when her few tries at other menial jobs end in disaster. She's not too keen on being a Carer, but when she is told it doesn't mean any very personal duties, she agrees to go to the interview, after all, the money offered is good and the contract is initially for six months. Her family are used to depending on her income and Lou 's sister, Katrina is desperate to take up a college place now her son Thomas is five and old enough to go in a crèche. It would appear to be a good solution but what neither expect is that Lou will bring both frustration and colour to Will's depressive life, or that Lou will come to realize there is more to life than buttered buns and her boring boyfriend, Patrick.

                  ***A Love Story with a difference. ***

                  From the blurb on the book I expected a lot of the book would be about a budding romance between the two with a fairy-tale ending. Such plaudits as 'Gorgeously romantic' and 'A small-life-big-dreams weepie that'll have you sniveling ecstatically into your cocoa' suggested I might want to put my finger down my throat, but as I read on I got caught up in the story and knew that under the façade of happy-ever-after, there was a real story with characters that weren't going to act as a fairy-tale prince and princess, no matter what the story promised to deliver.

                  After Lou gets used to being overlooked by Will she decides that some changes might do him some good and embarks on a course of action sure to lift him out of his self-imposed exile. After all, his family has plenty of money and she was taken on to drive his adapted car. The possibility that Will doesn't want cheering up and might have a very different view of his future is something that Lou isn't going to sit back and accept, especially when she finds out something that his haughty mother Camilla has kept from her. Lou has determination on her side and before long the story starts to add humour to its poignancy.

                  ***A Class Act***

                  While the story is predominately about the two main characters, the difference between the classes is evident from the start of the book and without it I don't think the story would have been such a remarkable success. Lou is a working class girl who hasn't appeared to rise beyond her basic upbringing with some of the descriptions of family a little like the Royle Family, warm-hearted people with little money who get by on dreams and family ties. Lou's family consist of her mum who is never still, her dad who is afraid he'll lose his factory job, Granddad who has suffered two strokes and is looked after by all the family. Then there's Lou's sister, Treena (Katrina) who had her son Thomas when she was two thirds of her way through a college course, now having to make do with a job at a florists. They all live in the same house and both space and money are tight.

                  By contrast Will's family is affluent with a large home, well-to-do parents and Will's sister Georgina who lives abroad. Will had a partnership in a London firm before his accident and never wanted for money. The difference between classes is still a very English thing and Lou is sometimes hostile because she feels looked down on. Will helps her to see her goals in life could be wider, but although you feel sorry for his condition, it's sad that he doesn't see why Lou is held back and this creates barriers.

                  Ultimately the class differences lead to some misunderstandings but they also bring warmth to a family who desperately want their son to live and find some form of contentment. Moyes makes it clear that this was something she used rather than use Will's illness and symptoms to show the differences between the couple. Lou is still enthusiastic and hopeful because life and her family make her that way. I wouldn't have enjoyed the story so much if Will's health were the main issue, although it does have a big part to play later on.

                  ***Tears and Laughter***

                  I loved the book despite expecting to find it maudlin. Instead it became an affirmation of all that can be good in a relationship based on mutual respect and willingness to make the other happy. There are parts where you will need your hanky and not be ashamed that tears are trickling down your face. Any person who has suffered a long-term illness or accident will know that fear of infection is terrible for sufferers and what any carer dreads. Also there are times when a cheerful face cannot lift depression, though it can help to stop it getting worse.

                  There is laughter when Lou takes Will to a racetrack and gets his wheelchair bogged down in mud. There is pleasure when Will helps Lou realize she has strengths she didn't know about and then there are times when it seems that nothing else matters except for a quiet, gentle love that grows from such an unexpected start. These are moments of magic when the author shows why she is such a respected author.

                  I have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone who loves a good story written with sensitivity and a strong sense of real people and issues.

                  My copy is a library hardback; you can buy this on Amazon for £3.45 at present.

                  Thanks for reading my review and please note that this may appear on other sites

                  ©Lfuller2012.

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                    28.02.2012 01:15
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                    A thought provoking, realstic, laugh-out-loud, and tender experience.

                    I had never heard of Jojo Moyes, or this book inparticular, before at all until a few weeks ago. I was in Tesco looking at the selection of newly released books and randomly picked a few to buy - without realising what I was about to become mercilessly pulled into. I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting, I could not take my eyes off the pages and really didn't want to, either.

                    The story tells of a young man, Will Traynor, who is involved in an accident in 2007 right at the start during the prologue. We are introduced not only to him and his very normal life, but also a hint of his current relationship with a woman he is clearly besotted with. We are told of his exciting adventures sky-diving, rock climbing, and travelling to large cities all around the world. But his life has been changed forever.

                    Jump forward to 2009 and we meet Louisa Clark - a 26 year old woman who has always been very content on living a quiet life, working at a snug cafe called The Buttered Bun and listening to people's stories everyday. We can immediately tell the difference between her's and Will's way of living. But, when the owner of the cafe closes his business and leaves Louisa out of a job, she struggles to find her way into a new job role that fits her as well as the cafe did. She is forced to enrol at the Job Centre, still lives with her parents and her sister (who seems to be the favourite child), and is extremely set in her ways of wearing bright, unusual clothes. However, she is in a long-term relationship with a man, Patrick, who clearly cares more about winning marathons than he does her.

                    Louisa is a character that instantly draws you in. She is colourful, open-minded, polite, and very real with some laugh-out-loud one-liners to keep you going. The fact that we can follow her journey through the book in such a rollercoaster ride of thought-invoking emotion, and the subtle hints of a haunting memory, especially helped me to believe in her character. I also love that, as a reader, I knew that her boyfriend was wrong for her on so many levels, even if she wouldn't admit it. The little things like that make me appreciate a good book when I find it.

                    Louisa is given a six month contract to care for Will Traynor in his wealthy parents' household, not really able to turn down the job or the wage for her family's sake. Although Will doesn't seem at all willing to give her a chance, and she does the best that she can to keep her mouth shut and get on with her job, we get to witness Will's life as a paraplegic, forever stuck in the confines of a wheelchair and paralyzed from the chest down. I loved reading about these two characters coming together step by step until they found a mutual ground, because they are so different, but both willing to change each other's lives. There are so many things that they have to say to each other that it even made me think about alot of different things - another reason to love this book; the thought-invoking detail is astounding.

                    I just want to add that the book really sets off an amazingly emotional tone. We journey through this story learning about Will losing his will to live, and Louisa's desperation to keep him alive as she falls in love with him, witnessing the hard truths and the tender moments as he asks her, "Tell me something good." throughout all his pain. Although the inevitable ending will leave us somewhat saddened, to have it any other way would have taken the story away from it's ultimate realism.

                    But, as Will keeps telling her, and as the one line that will most likely stay with you long afterwards, this book is bound to leave you satisfied of being told something good.

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                      18.02.2012 16:03
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                      A beautiful read

                      January was a low month for me when it came to books being released, my big problem was I was going on holiday and needed to stock up on my books! The one that did catch my eye and I had heard good things about was Me Before You, I had never read any of JoJo Moyes previous books but I was eager to try this book to see if it was as good as people had said.

                      Plot

                      Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

                      What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

                      Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

                      What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

                      My Opinion
                      I came accross this book in WHSmith in the paperback chart and the first thing I have to say about this book is I love the cover as it gave no indication as to what to expect from the storyline but yet the colours used on the cover instantly pulled me in.
                      From the first chapter of this book I was HOOKED as Moyes has such a realistic and natural flow to her writing, which makes it a believable storyline that just keeps flowing along beautifuly.

                      This is a true romance story through and through and what sets this book aside from other romance books is the unique storyline. The two main characters in this book are Lou and Will and I found that both of these characters are very likeable and they felt very life like that towards the end of the book they feel so familair they are like friends of ours.

                      I loved the different emotions the storyline brought out in me, there were times when I laughed out loud and there were also times when I cried behind my sunglasses!! There really are some heartbreaking moments for both of our characters during this book.
                      It was amazing how Moyes managed to take such a delicate subject matter which could have made for a very depressing read and yet still managed to bring some humour out in the book so that the book didnt feel too deep all the way through the book.

                      In my opinion this is a sensationally moving read that has to be next on your to be read list and easily gets a full 5 stars from me!

                      Review also on my book blog http://reabookreview.blogspot.com and amazon

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                        12.02.2012 20:39

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                        You will be gripped by this story and will make you intrigued to know what happens next!

                        The book begins, in 2007, by the telling the story of paraplegic Will Traynor who became disabled when he was hit by a motorcycle. Before the accident Will was a spontaneous city boy who enjoyed mountain climbing and other thrill seeking activities. But now being wheelchair ridden, dependant completely on others Will is struggling to come to terms with his life and his future.

                        The story then jumps forward to 2009 where the reader meets Louisa, a waitress at the Buttered Bun Cafe who wears very odd clothing. The money that she earns from the Cafe goes to support her family, however when the owner of the Cafe decides to close it down, it seems that Lousia is in big trouble! After attending the Job Centre many times and endless failed interviews, her advisor suggests applying for a carer job that would change her life forever.

                        After Will's accident he is forced to move back home and rely on his wealthy parents for care, however unbeknown to Lousia when she is offered the job, Will considers his life not worth living and therefore wants to travel to Switzerland to end his life completely.

                        The story follows the efforts of Lou to change Will's mind by organising different activities to show Will that he can still have a fulfilling life even though he's disabled.

                        The book has laugh out loud moments as well as very emotional parts. The ending of the story came as a big shock to me as it is a totally different outcome than you would think throughout the story. A VERY good read!

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                        06.02.2012 17:22
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                        An enotional but compelling read.

                        Louisa Clark is perfectly content working in The Buttered Bun cafe, but when the owner suddenly announces he is closing the business, Louisa finds herself entering a whole new world of dull experiences via the Job Centre, until she is offered a six month contract as a companion to quadriplegic Will Traynor, whose life changed forever following an accident where he was hit by a motorcycle. Will cannot accept his life the way it is now and he knows exactly what he is going to do about that. However, he didn't bank on Louisa entering his life and Louisa herself could never have imagined her own life was about to change so much after accepting the job.

                        Me Before You is a book I was given to read and told I must read it. Even though the cover suggested it was not going to be the type of book that I would normally read, I like to keep an open mind about things and therefore was happy to give it a go, although at the back of my mind I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this book. Indeed the last time I was given a book to read which differed from my usual reading material, I must have been one of a tiny minority who actually didn't enjoy the book as it received rave reviews from fellow readers.
                        I had no previous experience of the author Jojo Moyes, although the cover describes her as a prize-winning author who received great reviews for her former novel: The Last Letter From Your Lover.

                        Me Before You begins in 2007 with a Prologue featuring Will Traynor in the hours leading up to his accident. Will is a high-flying city worker who also enjoys hiking up mountains and hanging over ravines in his spare time. As Will himself states: "I need to be doing something."
                        Therefore finding himself stuck in a wheelchair and relying on others to help him with personal care and feeding etc is not something Will can adjust to, as he was never one for relaxing or doing nothing anyway. After a lot of treatment and time spent in hospital he is forced to live back at home with his wealthy parents and as Will reflect on what he has lost, he decides this isn't how he wants to live.

                        Following the accident, the book jumps forward two years to 2009 and we are introduced to Louisa, a colourful character who wears odd clothes and still lives at home with her mum and dad despite having a long-standing relationship with her fitness freak, marathon-running boyfriend. I warmed to her character right away and sympathised with her plight of trying to find work. The Job Centre find her some work in chicken factories and fast-food chains but nothing works out for Louisa, who needs a job not only for herself but also to help her parents out with household money. So when she is offered the position of carer/companion to a disabled man for six months in his own home, she is not in a position to turn it down, despite dreading what lies ahead, especially when she discovers the man she is going to be looking after isn't the old man she had imagined it would be.

                        What particularly endeared me to Louisa, was on her first day at her new job being a carer/companion to Will. Louisa feels totally out of her depth and then added to that is the fact Will isn't very friendly and doesn't seem to want her there anyway. I found I could identify very well with many of Louisa's thoughts and feelings on her first few days in her new job and feel the author has not only researched and described Will's condition and emotions very well, but also described Louisa's thoughts and feelings very well too as she initially sees only Will's condition and not the person, which is a perfectly normal reaction. One of my first jobs a long time ago was working with disabled people with varying conditions and I can recall on my first few days in the job feeling nervous and out of my depth too. I found it difficult at first to see past these people's conditions and so could totally relate to all of Louisa's feelings which are perfectly described and enables the reader to warm to her character.

                        Louisa slowly begins forming a relationship with Will despite everything and I found I was enjoying both characters as they both have an effect on each other's lives that neither of them expected. However, this isn't just the straightforward tale of Louisa brightening Will's life as I initially thought, as along with the happier laugh-out-loud moments there will be times you will be reaching for the tissues too. You will find yourself laughing as Louisa supports Will along with the help of his male nurse Nathan, to what ends up being a comic day at the races, or there's the night where Louisa dances with Will in his chair at his ex-girlfriend's wedding and ends up drunk. Indeed these are just a couple of the lighter moments here which are wonderfully written and show the developing connection between Louisa and Will, which is further highlighted perfectly at a birthday dinner at Louisa's house, which is particularly touching. This is in contast to the scarier side of Will's life as he battles to control pain as well as potentially fatal infections and Pneumonia. My heart went out to Will as he turns to Louisa and says: "Tell me something good."

                        To say anything further about the relationship between Louisa and Will and what develops would spoil the story and I do find that Me Before You is a very difficult book to describe, other than it really touched me in a way I did not expect, which is down to the sheer quality of the writing and character development from the author.
                        The story is mainly told in the first person from Louisa's perspective with the odd chapter written from the other character's perspective too, but it leaves Louisa and her feelings and emotions as the focal point of the book which are in turns charming and funny but also heart-wrenchingly sad.
                        Me Before You follows Louisa on a journey that changes her life forever and what made it special was it wasn't all about the effect Louisa has on Will's life, but also how Will actually helps Louisa to discover who she really is. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I found it difficult to put down. I laughed and I cried, but I am glad I read this book. It is a superbly written, powerful and emotional story.

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