The title of the book is “Me Before You” and the author is Jojo Moyes.
The publisher is the Penguin group. This is the first edition and it has 481 pages. It was published in 2012.
I didn’t ponder on what the title could suggest before reading the book. In hindsight, I believe it implies what extent you’ll go to, in putting the happiness of the person you love before your happiness.
The genre is conntemporary adult fiction.
The book is written in the first person point of view, which is okay. Towards the end of the book, we however get two other points of view for a bit.
I can logically follow the main thread of the book but maybe not emotionally.
This book stirs up mixed feelings for me. It’s disturbing, not in the way ” the girl on the train” was disturbing. It’s disturbing in an okay-easy-to-read-but-i-can’t-accept-this-worldview kind of way.
Will Traynor is disabled, not just a paraplegic but he is a quadriplegic (and the worst case, a c5/6 as we’re informed). He can’t make use of his body from his chest downwards. There is faint movement in his palm but he can’t grasp anything. So he must be fed food, he must be given a drink. He has go to toilet in a catheter attached to his wheel chair, and have it emptied by a carer. He cannot make many decisions on his own. He is liable to having his mother(or anyone which is really my point) walk out on him during a conversation, as she did when he first brought up a topic she considered an outright taboo. This same taboo founds the main conflict in the book.
He is a 35years old man and has to depend on people. This is vastly dissimilar to his old way of life which included bungee jumping, swimming with whales, climbing mountains etc. He was a physical person and that life was ripped right out of reach.
Lou, on the other hand, is content , too content with her life, and it has made her not so smart. At 26years old, she talks and reasons quite slowly. She is the sort of person who counts the footsteps between her house and the bus stop. The kind of person who works at a bakery (butter-bun: her former work place), by just strolling in to the place on the basis of a dare from her younger sister that she couldn’t get employed in a day, and asks if she could work there. She is the kind of person who works there for 6years without a formal employment and without a demand on her part for a raise. All this, not because she is disabled in any way. She is the kind of person who stays in an unstimulating relationship for 7 years with a man who loves keeping his body fit more than he loves her. She has weird fashion sense which causes everyone she meets to raise their eyebrows.
Lou has a strange family too. Strange. Especially her grandpa. Ooh and her father. And her mother. And her sister. And her nephew-Tomotomo. ?
She gets employed as Will Traynor’s carer and inspite of the initial animosity, they ride on smoothly for close to six months.
The changes she is willing to effect in her life are still disturbing because they are as a function of her love for him not because she has seen the folly in her former decisions.
The novels begs the question, “is love sufficient?”
I do not have a favourite character in this book and I wish I could change the beginning and middle of the book to be better paced and gripping.
The style of the book is informal. The language is clear and convincing. It exposes the reader to the life of a disabled person and evokes empathy.
I don’t intend to insert spoilers so I won’t go on.
I didn’t particularly like the ‘force’ of the book which was low. It wasn’t much of a page-turning, gripping book. It didn’t evoke a plethora of emotions from me, only one emotion. Notwithstanding, there was good humour in a number of scenes.
A novel is always beyond the story it tells, it’s the sum total of the author’s voice, techniques etc.
I rate it a 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone interested. You should actually get it.
On living with disability:
“and all I can say to you is that, I wouldn’t be in his shoes for all the money in the world”
On love and choices:
“how is it you have the right to destroy my life ” I wanted to demand of him, “and I am not allowed a say in yours?”
on the gift of quietness and bliss:
“sometimes I stood at the window and watched him, his head tilted back, just enjoying the sun on his face. When I remarked on his ability to be still and just enjoy the moment-something I never mastered- he pointed out that if you can’t move your arms and legs, you haven’t got much of a choice”
On living life:
“there is a hunger in you Clark. A fearlessness. You just buried it, like most people do”
“just live well. Just live”
“I will never ever regret the things that I’ve done because most days, all you have left are places in your memory that you can go to”
“there’s not a lot separating me from anyone you might pass in the street. You probably wouldn’t look at me twice. An ordinary girl leading an ordinary life. Actually it suited me fine”
“”you cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are not that sort of person”. ”
” but I’m not”
I got this book as a gift from someone I do not know personally although I read her blog. It was on instagram, she put up a picture of the book and for the first time in my life I commented with “I want someone to give me this book” and she did! It landed at my doorstep in UI. This is another thank-you note. to Eclectictope.com. :)?
Books, living and choices,
Omg Omg! I watched the movie last month. I cried lol. He shouldn’t have died… so it’s from a book!!
Lool yes it’s from a book.
He shouldn’t have died? The description in the book shows his pains were severe. Love wasn’t enough for him but Lou got to start living. Maybe that’s enough.
It’s all the author’s idea?
Wow! Great summary. Where does one even start from in turning a whole book into a blog post and make people feel like they’ve almost read the book?
That’s actually one of my favorite things about a book review. It gives you a taste and allows you determine what to do with the insight you have into the book.
Awwww I just saw this. You are welcone. Glad you enjoyed it. And your reviews are so beautiful. You should consider sending your work out to magazines and bewspaper. Your work is thorough. Well done
Thanks for this. I’ll start to do so very soon. Very soon.
Oh so lovely! Well done on your book review. Perhaps this might be the push I need to read the book before this year runs out. A friend/blog reader recommended and even sent me a copy and I haven’t gotten to it to convince me of Will’s choice. Lol. The movie spoilt my mood.
Good review once again. Xx
You should. It evokes empathy. It’s so easy to think you have an idea of what disabled persons go through but you realize reading this book, that you often don’t go about observing there aren’t ramps in places. Or that certain fields are muddy and wheel chairs won’t move along. Or inability to use one’s hands would result in being fed everything, including placing straws at one’s mouth.
At all. If I’m in no one’s shoes, I can’t judge. He who wears the shoes knows where it pinches and I thank God that I can use my legs and my hands because I can’t imagine what it feels like. There was just a theme I felt the movie was trying to pass across and I believe this theme wasn’t eliminated in the book or was it? My reading it would make me find out anyway. 🙂 This theme seemed to have even raised an outctry from the disabled community in real life if you look it up on the internet. Like they say, the movie is different from the book. I believe that’s why we also read reviews. To see if someone saw what you saw or should I say kindred spirits? lol