They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose.
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life - steady boyfriend, close family - who has never been farther afield than her tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life - big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel - and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy - but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn't have less in common - a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, what do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
©2012 Jojo Moyes (P)2012 Penguin Audio
Canadian girl in Kansas, love audible, books on kindle or kindle fire, and old fashioned books! I enjoy fiction most, mostly books with strong female leads. Favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Genova, many more!
I am normally not one for romances or love stories, however I kept getting 'Me Before You, A Novel' recommended to me. It seemed as though every time I turned around another friend was telling my how touching the novel is and how it should be on my 'must read' list. I took advantage of the holiday sale and bought the book at audible, as well as the kindle book. I am the type that likes to listen and read along.
The author, Jojo Moyes, introduces us to Louisa, who lives in a small town in England which has one main tourist area which is an old castle. Louisa has been in an fairly stagnant relationship with her long time boyfriend Patrick. He has recently become obsessed with working out and they really have nothing in common anymore. She figures she'll marry him, and have his babies all the while living in the same five mile radius in which she grew up.
Louisa lives with her mom, dad, grandfather, sister and nephew in a tiny home barely built for all of them and her parents rely on her wages at the 'Buttered Bun' to help make ends meet. When Louisa is told that the owner of the 'Buttered Bun' is closing down his restaurant, she is forced to find another job. Surprisingly, she does find a job as a caretaker for the wealthiest family in town.
Louisa is in charge of looking after Will, who was once a very successful business man and a daredevil. He traveled the world and lived life by the seat of his pants. He was miserable in his state of having to be taken care of around the clock, with little control of his movement and bodily function. When Louisa finds out that the job is a contract position for six months, her suspicions arise and she figures out that Will has given his parents six months to try and convince him to continue to live, but after the six months is over, he will go to a clinic in Switzerland where there are legal procedures for people who wish to die.
Louisa and Will develop a very guarded and intimate relationship, and soon Louisa finds that her sole purpose in life is trying to convince Will that he is indeed a person that is loved and needed in this world, despite his body's failure. Does she convince him to live forever? You'll have to have a listen to find out.
Me Before You is definitely a page turner. The characters are all very earthy and I loved them all. The narration was performed by several different voices (people) and they all added their own point of view on the situation. I enjoyed this as I delved further into the characters and what their thoughts were. My heart ached for Will's mother, who of course under no circumstances wanted her son to die. This is a very emotional book and it deserves to be listened to with full attention. There is so much humanity and ultimate love and sacrifice. It provides hope to the reader that people still do care about others, and it also presents things to people who have no physical ailments. Those of us not suffering with debilitating diseases take advantage of our health, which is something we may want to think twice about.
I am rating this novel 5 stars across the board. This is not a typical romance, but instead a gritty, character building novel with a rich story line and a lot of heart.
This book is so unbelievably predicable and formulaic, I found myself knowing what would happen or be said before each and every syllable came out. Surely it is a carbon copy of a dozen other chick flicks. After only a chapter or two in, I wanted to stop listening and it only gets worse. I have never written a review before but feel it necessary to warn others. Save your credits for something else, you've heard this all before.
I finished this book only because it was a book club choice. The main character was annoyingly simple and immature. There really were no original thoughts in this entire book, and I found it very boring.
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Well, geez. I'm not going to lie to you: this book is a really awkward mix of boring, silly, predictable chick lit and serious, depressing would-be tearjerker. The characters are on the shallow, unbelievable side (e.g., we are to believe the heroine, Louisa, is nearly 30 years old but somehow has never even considered reading a book, attending college, or moving in with her shallow, silly boyfriend of nearly a decade). The main narrator is good, and a good fit for the material, however, and even though the additional narrators are introduced so very late in the story that they feel like an awkward distraction, the sum total is a book that mostly flows along at an acceptable pace. I never truly felt for the characters because I never really believed in them as real, three-dimensional people, but there were some interesting aspects to the story. One thing I didn't expect was the fascinating glimpse into lower middle class British society. I also learned a few things I didn't know about the life and limitations of a quadriplegic (although I couldn't help but notice a few bits of misinformation scattered in amidst the truths).
Grade: C plus (or B minus if we are grading generously on a curve).
Bechdel test: Pass. (Lou and her sister Katrina converse about Trina's school plans and career goals...as well as which of them deserves the larger bedroom when they're both still living at home with their economically unstable parents.)
There is a market for tear-jerkers. Me Before You is a tear jerker. That market, for a special book, includes me, a male of the species.
Implied in the label is the success of an author making readers both treasure and worry to nail-biting about a character(s) and what will happen to him or her next. With successful transport into the tear-jerking tale, the reader disappears into the author's imaginary world, and mundane concerns recede to vanishing. Where the teenagers are, whether or not the bus will come on time, or what to fix for dinner, all become minor problems for later. Much later.
Good authors in all genres have an ability to make us care about their characters. What makes tear-jerkers special is that the author consciously makes caring about a character the goal of her writing. There are other admirable ways of hooking readers: Gasps of horror, “there but for the grace of God go I" reactions, “wow, how informative” or ‘so hot my panties melted’ panting are all reader reactions an author may legitimately seek. Moyes has sought our tears. She succeeds masterfully.
There is usually an addition fillip, an additional stimulus, that carries a book above the high water mark set by less original offerings in the genre. Here, Ms. Moyes explores the world of quadriplegia. Her exploration is not so much about how special wheelchairs operate as it is an investigation of how the injured person and those around her respond. Here, the exploration is worth the price of Me Before You even if the story was modest.
Often there is a formula, a group of tropes, associated with tear jerkers, as with any genre. We the readers can predict the outcome often just from the blurb, or surely from the first few chapters. A well done tear jerkers causes us to question our certainty as to the outcome several times before the end. Reversals happen. Crises are not avoided. Could this be the book in which only the bad guys are left standing? In which there is not "happily" before ever after? I wrote “too predictable” in a note to a friend about a third of the way into Me Before You. There followed several mental “maybe this will end up somewhere unexpected” questions as I kept reading. Whether the story does or doesn’t end up where you (or I) expect, I’ll leave for you to find. Ms. Moyes kept me engrossed to the end.
Note to Narrators: Good actresses make a stage whisper carry to the back row. Why some narrators can't simulate a whisper while avoiding the necessity of the audience having to pause, rewind and turn up the volume, is beyond me. Surely, if the narrator can't do this, why don't producers fix the problem? Grrrr.
Based on the reviews I read before buying this book, I am apparently in the minority.
And, although I've listened to books before that I didn't really care for, I have never been compelled to write a negative review, until now.
I had to make myself finish this book. I felt I had already invested so much time (and a credit), and surely it would get better. But overall, it really didn't. I felt that it was very slow, and unpleasant in every way.
This is the first book I've read by Jojo Moyes and I'll be on the look-out for more. The characters sprang vividly to life, their voices and personalities unique to themselves. And they are memorable. It will be a long time before I forget Louisa Clark and Will Trainer. The pacing was intense too. The story grabbed me on page one and never let go.
The one cautionary note I have to add is that looking at the cover design, this book looks to me like a fairy tale romance. It's not. In my opinion, it's so much more. But I think if you are looking for a formula American romance, you may be disappointed.
In these reviews, I always try to think of another writer to whom I can compare the style of the work. Moyes reminded me a little of Liane Moriarty, a little of George Elliot and a little of Kurt Vonnegut. But really, she's in a class all her own.
audio book junkie
I read a review somewhere that said the cover art and title of this book were misleading. That couldn't be more right on - the cover of this book looks like it should be a tragic love story set in the seventies and the title doesn't help that. Luckily "Me Before You" while having a dose of tragedy and touch of love story has so much more. It's a topic I don't often read about or think about, the life of a quadriplegic and the caregivers around him/her. This book really delves into the details of living a life where one is totally dependent on others to do even the most simple of daily tasks... it's not often I stop in my busy life to consider situations like this. This book looks at tough questions of assisted suicide and quality of life and it makes you think. It forces you to put yourself in someone else's shoes... what an important thing to do. This is a great read, a book you can't put down, highly recommended.
i had huge expectations for this book... But i was disappointed. I do not regret reading it, because it gave some insight into what it would be like to be a caregiver for a quadriplegic person BUT it gave v little insight into the feelings and thoughts of the person with quadriplegia.
Strangely, even though the book is told mainly from Lou's viewpoint, at some of the most emotional moments, the author turns to a third person's viewpoint. Disappointingly, we get very little of Will's viewpoint.
So while the book was engrossing and interesting and slightly educational, it fell short on the emotions, and failed to surprise me overall. There were also lots of details of secondary character's lives that could have been built into the story more engagingly, but in the end fell flat.
So i do not regret reading it, and it has made me want to read more stories involving main characters with disabilities, but i did not think it did a great job of it, was hoping for more.
The main narration was very good, though.
I LOVE to listen to audiobooks - the Audible ap is by far the best thing that's ever happend to my iPhone.
I did enjoy Me Before You, but I'm sorry... I didn't like the ending.
Perhaps because it could have been real, or perhaps because it was something I didn't want to happen. I didn't like how the book ended. It was as if a balloon was being filled and you were waiting for a great surprise, but were left with a dismal pop.
It was a solid performance and story - but it's not something I would rave to friends about.
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