The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life – or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window – is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.
Firstly, let me just say that this cover makes this seem like Me Before You just might be a lighthearted, sweet romance. While it does have bits of that, it certainly isn’t a fluffy read.
This was me when I turned the last page of this book:
Okay *takes deep breath* I’m ready to try writing a review now. I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about this story… every single time I have a break in my day, I find my mind wandering to the story of Will and Clark.
Moyes gives us a story that has a deep, emotional plot and shares it in a way that at times made me laugh and smile, and frown and sob. Equally. The story itself is so amazingly told and the characters will pull you in from page one.
When we first meet Will Traynor, at the age of 33, he has it all… he’s been everywhere, he’s done everything, (with plenty more on the horizon) he’s got a successful company, and a serious girlfriend and then one day, one accident, changes his entire life…takes every. single. thing from him. At 35, he’s a quadriplegic and living with his parents having a nurse assist him with every aspect of his life.
Louise Clark has worked for the same cafe for the last six years, she’s safely cocooned herself into the small city that she grew up and even though she wonders what it would be like to see more and do more, she is convinced it’s not for her. The loss of her safe job leads her to the Traynor household where she is hired to be a companion of sorts to Will.
That stuff above though… that is only the bare bones of what this book encompasses. While it’s definitely Will & Clark’s relationship and the growth of it that is the main focus, Moyes uses their story to delve deeper into other topics and what an amazing job she does.
Family dynamics are at the forefront. You get to see the growth and progression of these characters, and their interactions with their family really reveal a lot about them. Lou’s family struggles daily to make ends meet and to get by with the constant fear of whether or not they will be able to pay the bills or put food on the table and yet the love and affection they have for each other is always present… even when they are fighting. For Will’s family, this one thing has defined them for the last two years and all the money in the world can’t change the fact of Will’s circumstances.
The right to choose – Will’s life now is a blur of people making decisions for him, never considering what he wants or how he feels or what those choices truly mean for him. UGH – this is when I get all teary eyed because as an ‘able bodied’ person we unintentionally push this “everything will be fine you just need to adjust” mentality but what we don’t know is the constant pain, the suffering, the illnesses…
A running theme in the story is the idea that Lou isn’t taking advantage of the life she could be living. She’s hiding out in her small town, never experiencing anything and Will is offended by the idea that she doesn’t want more, doesn’t pursue more and doesn’t push for more. She’s become complacent in her relationship, and pursuing a life that she wants to live.
“And I cannot for the life of me see how you can be content to live this tiny life. This life that will take place almost entirely within a five-mile radius and contain nobody who will ever surprise you or push you or show you things that will leave your head spinning and unable to sleep at night.”
“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, if you’re stuck in one of these, all you have are the places in your memory that you can go to.”
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
and once you hear Will talk about his past and all his experiences and what he’s done in his life, you can understand a bit more fully his future choices and why he makes them.
I can’t say enough how much I fell for these characters that Moyes created, and I think that is why this story is sticking to my bones so long… The dynamic between Will and Clark was absolutely equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.
I’m going to be leaving things right here for all those of you who haven’t read this story yet. I don’t want to ruin anything or take away from the story.
If you’re looking for a thought provoking read, with incredibly developed characters and a story that will have you laughing and crying and sobbing in turns definitely give Me Before You a read. This has made it onto my top books of all-time list and I think you’ll be incredibly moved by Will & Clark’s story… I know I was. In fact… I’m still thinking about it and I know that I will be for days to come.