Book Review #23 – Me Before You

You are scored on my heart, Clark – Jojo Moyes.

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There aren’t many books that make me cry multiple times. That alone should give you some kind of indication of how emotionally straining this story is – the story of two people who are quite seemingly opposite and yet they somehow manage to bring out the best in each other, despite their personal, physical and mental differences.

Lou Clark is a woman just over her mid twenties who is secure in her small town life. She’s comfortable, and she doesn’t step outside of that comfort zone. Will Traynor, who she becomes to know as his carer is in his mid thirties and lived a life bursting at the seams before his accident which made him wheelchair bound and under care 24/7. They live in a small tourist town with a castle at its centre.

At first, their lives clash. He is the the son of a wealthy family, an ex-partner of a high firm in London, one that kept him busy, bustling, excited. He now has everything done for him, which he loathes. She is there to do her job, earn her money and return home to help the family income due to the current recession. He is sarcastic. She is overly chatty. They are seemingly opposite.

Without giving away the entire plot, there is a secret in the Traynor family, one which Lou overhears; it shocks and pains her, and makes her disbelieve everything about this idealistic posh family from the other side of the castle. Nevertheless, she stays due to Mrs Traynor’s protests and she attempts to make each day brighter for Will.

Throughout the underlying trauma of this novel, a kind comical thread is weaved through it. Will and Lou bounce off each other with a dry humour that is crucial to the both of them. It is a love story where there are limits and boundaries, lines that must not be crossed due to so many factors. However, it is what keeps us moving through the six month period, following the pair as they become more comfortable and close enough that boundaries are broken even if it is just for a little while. Both of them grow and spread their wings a little further in the months of knowing each other: in different ways to the other but beautifully nonetheless. This personal growth is inspiring and leads you to believe that no matter the circumstance, there is always something to smile about. With that in mind, it gives you a reflective happiness with life, theirs and your own too.

Will and Lou are the central characters, yes, but family is extremely apparent throughout the novel, so much so that there are even a few chapters from viewpoints other than Lou’s, none however from Will himself. Lou’s family is the opposite of Will’s. They have little money but her mum is proud of her home and she dotes on her family without a pause. The Traynor family on the other hand is falling apart. An affair is known but not talked about and nobody discusses what the near future may hold. Yet, it is undeniable that there is an excruciating level of love on all sides, one that breaks families apart and mends them together in times of heartbreak.

You know that the end is coming and you don’t like the outcome. It isn’t the ending you expect, but one that makes you think logically and it breaks your heart, not only for Lou but for Will also. I wished for a happily ever after but not a lot of love stories end that way; it is heartbreaking but you also understand it even though you wish for something different.

I don’t know how I’m going to watch the film. I’m saving it for next year when the story isn’t as fresh in my mind. I’m going to read the sequel After You next. I will have the tissues ready.

What are your thoughts on the ending? Did you want something different for Lou and Will?

Love, Faye x

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