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Publisher's Summary

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

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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Predictable, Tough but Recommended Read

It was quickly obvious where this novel was headed. The author could hardly deal with such a serious subject cutely. There could not be a "riding off into the sunset" HEA. I've read other reviews that called it a romance, a love story. I saw it more as a life story. Any romance was really just a potential. A potential that could never develop. About the only part of the book that rang untrue to me was Clark's declaration of love. If I had been on the receiving end of that declaration, right after hearing that the person giving it knew my secret, I would have thought it just another attempt to try and get me to change my mind, a ploy and a ruse.

But life is real and rarely if ever cute. I thought the author did a good job of presenting the dilemma of this particular life in an upfront, even handed way. There was very little preachiness and even after finishing the book, while I am relatively certain where I stand on the issue, the author did a very good job of not passing judgment. I expected her personal opinion on the issue to be evident at the end. It wasn't. At least not to me.

This is one of those novels that deals with an issue that needs to be discussed. As long as we continue to place more value on the quantity of life rather than the quality of it, this issue will not go away. And sometimes it is an issue that simply can't be raised on its own - discussing the plot of a novel is a more benign way to start the conversation.

Several other reviewers I read admitted to weeping through the last hour of the book. I can cry over a sad story, as much as the next guy, but I didn't cry over this one. I think that was partially because I knew where we were headed, so I wasn't caught off guard by the inevitable conclusion. I also don't think of it as a weepy read, because the real sadness, the accident that left Will a quadriplegic, was dealt with quickly in the first 3 minutes of the book. That was the tragedy, not the inevitable after-effects of it. And the tragedy was presented fairly clinically and abruptly at the beginning, before I was emotionally invested in the characters. So it didn't have the emotional punch to start the tears.

This was a better book than I expected it to be. I lost patience with Clark several times. She started out too immaturely. So much so it was a stretch to believe she came so far in such a short amount of time. And her complete lack of relationship skills, with her boyfriend, her family, or anyone else seemed a little extreme. That might be my only character-related complaint. I appreciated that the author didn't make Will a tragic figure. He wasn't a saint before the accident, as a matter of fact, he did not sound particularly likable. Nor was his family. That made it more believable than if he was portrayed as heroic, generous,compassionate or kind.

I usually don't like multiple narrators. Instead of clarifying perspective, they tend to just confuse me. I thought they all did a very good job on this and the periodic switch was helpful.

This was not an easy book to read. I had to put it down several times. I had a lighter, easier read going at the same time. That distraction helped me get through this. But I highly recommend it. It made me pause, made me think, made me dig deeper. And for a novel, that is saying a lot.

20 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • LOUISVILLE, KY, United States
  • 01-05-13

so formulaic, I've heard it all before

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.

45 of 66 people found this review helpful

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  • G
  • 05-31-16

Fantastic

Character development and intricacies of relationships were beautifully played. I could not stop listening to this one...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Julianna
  • Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • 05-11-16

A must read!

I didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I blew through this book and loved all the characters... very well written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow- so powerful.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is just so original. Characters are so well developed and stay true to themselves.

What did you like best about this story?

Definitely the originality and definitive characters. The emotional side is a close second. You can't get through this story without all the feels.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrators definitely kept you inside the story. They were consistent and kept the characters alive in my head.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were most definitely tears!!!

Any additional comments?

I would definitely recommend this book and tell you to open your mind to these characters and their situation. You will come away with something better for having read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wow. Exceptional.

Unusual and unpredictable story with richly drawn characters. Funny poignant and satisfying. I will definitely put this author on my list of favorites.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Had potential, but ultimatly disappointing

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.

23 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Slow and depressing

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.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 06-20-13

Great read

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.

11 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Lacking in depth

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful