I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Every once in a while comes a great crossover book that everyone loves, and Me Before You is one of those books that transcends genre. Me Before You is listed on Goodreads under “Books that had me bawling my eyes out” (it’s number 2) so you obviously have to be in a certain mood to read a book like that, and I’ve owned this audiobook for seven months before playing it.
I’m probably one of the last people to have read Me Before You, but just in case you haven’t here are some reasons to give it a try:
The Characters – Louisa (aka Lou/Clark) and Will are two people who would not have ever met except under these circumstances. Before his accident left him a quadriplegic, Will was a successful businessman, traveled the world, loved extreme sports, and was a lady killer type. Lou lives at home, worked at a café, and has a long-term boyfriend. Lou loses her job and doesn’t know anything about being a home caregiver but gets the job of looking after Will regardless. Will now lives at home with his parents and is a terrible patient, and Lou’s biggest challenge is making Will want to live.
Class distinctions – Will and Lou live in a small town in England with a castle at the center dividing the haves and have-nots. With Lou’s new caregiver job, she’s earning a bigger salary than she ever has and is the primary breadwinner for her family. Will’s life of “privilege” exposed him to literature, music, travel and films that Louisa never had a part of. We see Louisa and Will open each other’s minds to new experiences as they get to trust each other.
Lots to discuss, debate, and ponder – Will wants to die. The indignities of his post-accident life are spelled out quite clearly, and there’s no chance he will recover. His family loves him and will do anything to make him change his mind. Louisa falls for the man he is now. Is it enough to make a difference in his life?
Heartbreak and Humor – Yes, this is a heavy subject matter- no sugar coating it. But, there are humorous moments and Lou brings lightness to Will’s existence. Lou has quite an inventive and colorful wardrobe that brightens up Will’s household. The pair brings out the best in each other and their light moments and banter keep the story from being too heavy. But yes there are still plenty of heart-wrenching moments as well that make this book unputdownable.
Smart, witty and eminently readable – I think this story is relatable to everyone. The writing is engaging and smart, and the story is heart wrenching and realistic. Moyes writes about quality of life, love, family, relationships, infidelity, education, careers, and privilege and just a powerful story overall.
The audiobook – There are six narrators listed as readers for this title, but really Susan Lyons reads about 95% of the book. There are a few chapters where we get the point of view of Lou and Will’s loved ones to provide some additional insight. I liked those small snippets into Will’s mother or Lou’s sister’s mind, and I think it’s appropriate to the story that we don’t get Will’s pov. Susan Lyons does an outstanding job with the narration and kept me riveted to story. Her character voices and pacing are spot-on. This is a good introductory audiobook to try if you aren’t sold on them yet. I was hooked.
Top 10 but not top 5.
Will Trainer, the disabled fellow.
I loved the voices in this one. I'll search for more by this narrator.
Yes. I listened to it everywhere. The shower, walking to work, even in bed with a sleep timer.
I can't offer any suggestions for improvement.
I think you'll like this book if you enjoy rich characterization and people learning about themselves and changing over time.
This is the fastest I have ever finished an audiobook. I couldn't leave it...I listened while getting ready for work, on my drives, having lunch...finally I just stopped everything to finish it. I was totally taken by the story line and how this love story would end. Ahhh, Great book! Ready to read more from JoJo Moyes
West coast Producer/Director in TV/Film, I love new tech almost as much as love good tech!
The narrators were great! I really enjoyed listening to them. I didn't like a lot about the story but I did like that the author set the characters on a clear path and stuck with it till the end.
I wasn't particularly fond of the story. It was very long and drawn out. There is only so much insecurity and anxiety I can listen to before I get bored.
Absolutely! It was a beautiful book and so well performed. I wanted to stop the car and write things down. The author had such a sense of humor, I laughed out loud at times.
Hard to compare, but I haven't liked anything this much in a long while. Other books I enjoyed to this extent were "The Color Of Water," "The Help" "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"
The main character Louisa.
There were many. Her first trip to the Opera, their vacation, the maze...to say more would give too much away.
I really do recommend this audio book. It was beautifully written and performed. It also opened up my eyes to the many realities what is involved in life of life as quadriplegic. If you have a heart, it's a great book. If you don't, you'll probably grow one. It will also reach out to your sense of humor:)
Unexpected, surprising and awesome
How you end up rooting for someone you don't expect to root for
Made you feel like you were right there with the characters.
It made me laugh, cry, yell out loud and laugh again.
This book was so good that I would sit in my car in the parking garage because I didn't want to stop listening to it.
I would recommend this to a friend. In fact, I am going to recommend it to everyone in my book club.
I loved the main narrator. I felt like she embodied the main character.
Tell us about yourself!
Life changing novel. Thoughtful, introspective approach to considering the different life views around a quadriplegic person.
The person themselves, the caregivers and the family with the fears, challenges and joys to be found with each as well as together.
Definitely a must read book.
It would definitely depend on the friend. The topic is depressing, but the author does a nice job crafting some really unique, believable characters. She also confronts head-on that there just is no silver lining to some situations, which some people might struggle with.
I was not totally pleased, though admittedly, I can't really imagine how I would have liked it to end.
You will cry, you will consider really big, difficult questions, and you will cry again.