Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You Jojo Moyes
Published: December 31, 2012
ISBN: 9780143124542
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Recommended for readers looking for an emotional read

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 their 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?

My Thoughts:
Warning: We are about to entire "unpopular opinion territory."

Nearly everyone I know--either in real life or in the book blogosphere--loved this book.  I....did not hate it.  Really, I liked it...I just didn't love it enough to jump on the bandwagon.

This is, in many respects, an interesting book.  Moyes has taken a hot-button social topic and has centered a love story around it.  I try to stay away from spoilers, but I can't really review this book without talking about that topic....

(I'm not really sure this is a spoiler as it is strongly hinted at in the summary, but I'm giving you space to back out now....)

Death with Dignity or Physician-Assisted Suicide is not a comfortable topic but Moyes tackles it head on.  While I believe she did the best she could within the confines of the genre of this book, I really felt that she needed to go deeper .  It is not that I'm personally offended by the topic--although I can see how some readers might be--but I do think that it is a serious enough topic that it needs it due.  Moyes scratches the surface of things--Will's mother doesn't want him to do it, but she loves him; Lou doesn't want him to do it and thinks life can be better than he thinks; a random dude in a chat room totally gets why Will wants to do it.  But, other than Will stating, when his mind is made up, why he wants to do it, we really don't get any of his struggle in the decision.  I really felt that this aspect of the story needed, well, more.

I also felt that Lou was not a fully developed character.  The Lou at the end of the novel was not much different from the Lou at the beginning of the novel and what few changes did happen were made to or for her and not by her.  I really felt that there should have been more growth in her character after everything that happened in this book.

I also had some problems with the structure of this book.  There are a few chapters that are told through the eyes of some secondary characters (Will's medical caregiver, his mother, his father, and Lou's sisters).  I thought this was a nice touch, but I found it odd that these didn't appear until about two-thirds of the way through the book.  At that point, it became jarring to suddenly switch viewpoints.  If Moyes had scattered these more evenly through the book, I think they would have been more effective.

Also, I will admit that I cried at the end of the book--which isn't really that notable since I cry at pretty much everything.  However, the ending was not the emotional climax for me.  Instead, that came a few chapters earlier in a section from Lou's sister's point of view. That chapter was incredibly well written and may have had the truest emotion in the book--which is both great and not so great.  You see, the ending of the book should have surpassed that and it just didn't, which left me feeling a little disappointed, which is what I carry from the book,

It wasn't horrible--I like Moyes writing and am looking forward to reading more by her.  I applaud her for taking on such a subject, even if I felt she wasn't completely successful in doing so.  And she made me cry which, while not a difficult feat, is still something I appreciate in a book.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes

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