Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is next up on our 100 Bestsellers List reading challenge. Categorized as a romance novel, Me Before You is not your typical romance story. It’s an engaging take on the Pygmalion story, Worldly Rich Guy (Will Traynor) meets Low-Aspirations Poor Girl (Louisa “Lou” Clark), takes a liking to her, and decides to widen her horizons – only in this story we have a twist. Worldy Rich Guy has suffered a debilitating accident that left him a quadriplegic and he no longer wants to live. And, of course, Low-Aspirations Poor Girl falls in love with Worldly Rich Guy and wants to save his life.
This post contains spoilers.
Me Before You* by JoJo Moyes
A Love Story
Me Before You is a refreshing and captivating love story. In addition to its unusual plot, author JoJo Moyes gives us realistic characters and believable dialogue. The interactions between both Lou’s and Will’s family members ring true. Lou drew me in immediately and I quickly forgot I was reading a book for the purpose of writing a review and instead lost myself in the story.
It was expected that Lou would fall in love with Will – this is a romance, after all. But in a true romance, love conquers all, right? So it’s a bit of a shock when it becomes apparent that Lou’s love isn’t going to change Will’s mind. What does change is the quality of those last weeks at the end of his life. Lou provides Will with a challenge that has nothing to do with his own physical challenges, that of broadening Lou’s horizons. What began as Lou’s challenge to give Will a reason to live becomes Will’s challenge to give Lou a wider world to live in.
Me Before You compels the reader to contemplate on the question, “What is a life worth living?” Is Lou truly living or is she just allowing life to happen to her? Does Will, looking at a life of continually diminished horizons and increasing pain, have the right to decide when he no longer considers that life worth living? Rarely does a romance novel tackle such difficult questions, but Moyes manages to do so with finesse.
I enjoyed Me Before You much more than I expected to – I find most romances to be too sappy or juvenile. Jojo Moyes shows that a romance can be a true-to-life love story without the fairy tale “happily-ever-after” ending. Because of that, I’m looking forward to reading the continuing story of Louisa in the sequel After You.
Have you read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Book-beginnings, a discussion of the first line of the novel
- Karen’s review from a reader’s perspective
- Roberta’s review from a writer’s perspective
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What are we reading next?
If you ever have questions about what we are reading next or when we’re starting the next discussion, check the 100 Book List tab in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Links in the list go to the landing page from this blog where the discussion starts. However, this is an open-ended challenge so feel free to jump in with any of the books at any time.
The next book is number 61. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (2007) – Discussion begins April 30, 2018