Jojo Moyes is a former journalist and has been writing full time since 2002… She is well known in the romantic genre and Me Before You is author’s most known book and on 3rd of June a film adaptation came out for it.
This book has stirred a lot of people’s feelings; it is a story about Louisa, who loses her job in a cafe, which she has had for six years and is desperate to find another one, because her family relies on her salary a lot. She gets an unlikely and unwanted job as a carer and that sets things in motion to change her life forever.
The more I think about this book, the angrier I get, I honestly didn’t mind it that much, when I was reading it, but now I dislike it more and more. That is also the reason why I am having such a hard time getting myself to write a review for it. So, here we go…
Many say that Me Before You is a romantic novel, yet, I believe that it is only a novel, that has romance in it. It is mostly a story about life, death, choices and meaning of life. I like these thoughts behind the story a lot, but they are not played out very well.
The story shows a disabled man Will in an amazing environment where everyone around him are trying the hardest to make his life worth living, to make him happy and content. But that doesn’t work for him, he experiences pains and discomfort and hates everything about his life, he ignores any good thing that might come into his life and always hates that he has no control over anything.
Although his life description doesn’t really match all of the disabled people’s in the world and don’t give me a prejudice against them, I can see how disabled people who read this book could feel devastated and let down, angry and even depressed, because, if this rich and beautiful lucky bastard can’t be happy, how could I? And that is wrong, I can’t talk for everyone, but most are loved, most have happiness already in their lives (or have the chance to be happy), just like Will, he just chose to ignore it. Happiness is a choice and dislike the fact that there is even the slightest chance that this might make the readers (not only disabled people, but also their family members, carers, lovers etc.) give up on life or feel bad. It might sound harsh, but that is how I see it.
Louisa – our protagonist – becomes Will’s carer although she has no experience, no knowledge and no interest in the job. Lou has taken in her head that she is stupid, so she acts accordingly, thinking of her sister as the smart family member and Lou is despising her for that. She also has no interest in exploring the world, getting a degree or going on adventures, although she is still in her twenties and hasn’t seen anything besides small part of England.
And you would think that it is her choice and reasons, we should respect it, right? Wrong, Will, who has been crying like a baby that he has no input on any decisions in his life starts to command Lou around. He, who defends his own rights to decide things that he wants to do, takes away Lou’s rights and does it all for her. You might say – but wait, it was for her own good, she needs to see the world and try new things! Yeah? Well why then Will doesn’t? Isn’t it for his own good to go outside, experience new things and learn about the new life he might have? He has just imagined that everything is bad and doesn’t give a chance to the world, just like Lou. The only difference is that she does what he says, but he doesn’t do what she says. And so he takes away her ability to choose, by taking decisions for her.
Surely she changed by the end of the book because of all the pushing, she at last saw what Will had lost, she saw all the possibilities in life and went head on in adventures? Wrong! She read a letter he sent her in which Will told her explicitly what to do, where to go and how to live and then she simply did it. There were zero decisions from her involved. Sure, I see how the next book probably will see Lou as a great adventurist, yet I don’t see how that would have happened in the real life, when she wouldn’t have actually changed the way she makes decisions, but just followed instructions. Would her few experiences that were dictated by Will be enough to change her personality? Well, that degree she will get, probably will.
For me Louisa’s sister and her child were two most unlikable characters in the whole book. I honestly hated them and there were many thing that didn’t make much sense around them, but that is a whole different rant.
I also disliked both protagonists, because how stupid you have to be to stay in a cafe job for six years (without a contract) and in relationship that has no love for even more and not plan life out at all? Obviously the family was struggling, she should have tried to find a way to save it or help it more. And besides, if they were so poor, where did her sister’s son get all the sweets, toys and… oh, ok, you got the idea.
This book reminded me a lot of Fifty Shades Trilogy, there was a girl who adored a rich man, who commanded and played with her, made her do what he wanted and so on. And that is also a story many see as love story, so yeah.
And although it sounds like I really hated the book, I didn’t actually feel so when reading it. I disliked some mistakes or some things that obviously should be different, plus the big controversy, but for the first third I thought the book was okay, after that everything went downhill and became cheesy. I am not planing on watching the film, but I might pick up the second part of the book or some other books by this author. This book received two stars from me on my goodreads page. And I would suggest it to those who love romances, because fans of romance don’t see what I see in this book, they see just love.