Me Before You is also an uplifting story when all is said and done. I’m so glad I took the chance and read this poignant, emotional and at times humorous tale. The humor used here is to soften the blow of the tragedy that has occurred. Me Before You hit me hard in the gut but also made me smile because of the amazing relationship the female protagonist, Louisa has with the sick Will. At first you think Will needs Louisa, but when it comes down to it, Louisa needed Will at the right moment in her life. He teaches her to live in the moment and live each day as it’s her last because Will can’t any longer.
Will Traynor is a successful, handsome jetsetter of a man who's always on the go. He’s traveled the world and has done everything and anything. All this ends for him at thirty-five when he’s hit by a car and is paralyzed from the waist down. He can no longer feed, bathe, change himself or even go to the bathroom and must be taken care of for the rest of his life. His quality of life is next to nothing. He will slowly deteriorate from sickness and infection, and because of that he can barely find the will to live. He moves back in with his parents and he gives his mother and father an ultimatum they must accept, because if they don’t, he’ll do whatever he can to make certain it happens. This ultimatum is that after six months, he'll go to a facility in Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal. He’s giving his parents six months to adjust and come to terms with his decision. To make sure Will doesn’t do anything to harm himself before the deadline, they hire someone to keep him company and perhaps show him that he does have a reason to live. That’s where Louisa Clark comes in.
Louisa has lost her job at The Buttered Bun, a cafe where she’s work for years. The job was very easy and comforting for her. This twenty-something woman lives at home with her parents, her grandfather and her sister and her nephew. When Louisa loses her job, she’s worried because she feels she doesn’t have any great skills that could help her find work. Louisa is the type of woman who’s very set in her ways and afraid to take chances. She’s been with her boyfriend Patrick, a man obsessed with running and exercise, for seven years because he’s a safe choice. Louisa does rebel against her nature in some ways since she loves wearing eclectic clothing that seems at odd with her outlook. When she reads in the paper about a job as a companion to a man who’s a quadriplegic, she goes on the interview even though she has no experience at all. Surprisingly she gets the job, although Mrs. Traynor, Will’s mother has her doubts. And the moment Louisa meets Will, her life will change in ways she least expects it.
At first Will is cold and rude to Louisa, who he calls Clark. But eventually he opens up and they develop a tentative relationship of sorts. Louisa slowly finds out what type of man Will used to be, and Will in turn figures out the woman Louise should be. But then Louisa finds out why Will’s mother hired her. Now she’s determined to do whatever she can to change Will's mind before the six months deadline and show him he has so much to live for even though he’s a prisoner in his own body.
Fans of chick-lit will adore Me Before You. Louisa has a very Bridget Jones type personality. She’s adorable, quirky and lovely in so many ways. She’s the perfect foil for Will’s plan, but Will is set on his course. The biggest question will be if Louisa can change Will’s mind. Louisa does bring Will out of his shell, and he in turn helps her believe in herself and pushes her to go after the happiness that’s due her and thought she could never have.
Louisa and Will’s relationship evolves in a way that will have readers smiling through their tears. You’re hoping for an outcome that may or may not happen between Louisa and Will. The results are surprising. The last fifty pages had me on the edge of my seat wondering how this story will turn out, and if there's that typical happily ever I’m used to. As for the HEA, it’s very subjective on the reader’s part. But I can promise you this, your heart will be lifted up, and don’t be surprised if you’re motivated to get up out of your chair and do something inspiring for yourself, much like Louisa ends up doing.
Me Before You is a story with important moral behind it. I laughed, I choked up and I wanted so much more for Louisa and Will. This is one book everyone should read. You’ll be a better person for it. (Penguin)
Final Grade: B+
A few other Me Before You reviews:
Postcards From My Mind