“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
When I start reading this novel, I thought it to be another love story but I never know that it would provoke an emotional typhoon within me that is just beyond my imagination.
Me Before You is a page-turner that gives the reader one hell of an emotional ride. This book spun its magic around me and encompassed me in it. While delving into the lives of Lou and Will, I was overwhelmed with emotions; there was not one line in the whole book I didn’t love.
Reading about the six months tenure that Louisa Clark and Will Traynor spent together made me laugh and cry. I laughed on many occasions and there were times my tears would roll down my cheeks and this would continue till the end of the story.
It is a moving tale of two lives that intertwined in such a way that both Lou and Will never realized. 26-year-old Lou is a simple girl who needs a job after she was being laid off from the tea shop ‘The Buttered Bun’. Will’s mother requires a carer for her son who is suffering from quadriplegia after an accident- a condition caused by severe injury in which patient is unable to move any part of his body below his shoulders. Because of his condition, Will longs for death and wants to go to Switzerland to put an end to his misery.
Enters in Lou in the gloomy life of Will who tries to brighten up his life with her quirky nature and weird fashion. Both change each other’s lives for good. She elevates his mood and he introduces her to the finer things in life such as classical music and foreign films. She chides him to be more positive as she communicates with other quadriplegic online to learn their special needs and expectations. He encourages her to live to her potential and expand her horizons.
During her six months stay, she gets to know about Will’s motive of taking up his life. Horrified by this discovery, Lou sets out to improve his life and give him a reason to live and look forward to each day.
As an outsider probably I would not agree with Will’s decision to go for euthanasia but then
going through his life before his accident, would justify his motive. He was a debonair man who could sway over anyone with his smile and easygoing attitude. Unfortunately the accident took away his everything and he could not accept to be weak and dependent, bound in some wheelchair for his whole life.
Meanwhile, Louisa’s character somewhat goes beyond that of a struggling middle-class girl. She may be light and cheerful on the exterior, but inside there’s an unshakeable tinge of tragedy about her. She’s never really ventured beyond the small town she lives in. There are economic restraints, but it’s more than that. It’s a phobia of not playing safe. Louisa was sexually assaulted by a group of men in her teenage days, and in an emotional moment in the novel, she returns to the scene of the assault with Will and explains her trauma. It’s this plot line, perhaps in the novel that gives the most insight to Louisa as a character.
It was a tear-jerker read; what struck me was their love for each other. Love doesn’t destroy you rather it tries to make a better and improved version of you. Love doesn’t suffocate you, it let you fly high and let go of the fear and this is what Lou and Will did for each other! The relationship between them is told in such a wonderful way and develops through several stages, each filled with hilarity.
Jojo Moyes has beautifully crafted the story which is funny, utterly engaging and blissfully romantic. The novel is also adapted for the major motion picture starring Emilia Clarke (Louisa) and Sam Claflin (Will) however, I am kind of person who does not believe in making a movie out of an enchanting and heart-wrenching novel.
To be honest, I have not stopped thinking about this book since I put it down!!I know it will stay with me for a very long time. And I want to give warning to all those readers who want to read this book, it’s better you avoid reading in public because crying in public is apparently a weird thing to do.
I rate this novel 4.5 out of 5
Me Before You
By Jojo Moyes
Penguin Random House, UK