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Me Before You - "Tell me something good."
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
Member Name: JMayHough
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
Advantages: A brilliant, one-sitting, read.
Disadvantages: May lose track of time and/or sleep.
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.
Summary: A thought provoking, realstic, laugh-out-loud, and tender experience.