This book is my book club secret santa and I’ve really been looking forward to reading it – sometimes I just want an easy read that is almost guaranteed to make me cry! In case you weren’t sure, the cover lets you know this is and INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON, and also a major motion picture. I was given this book with the words: This will make you cry. Hooray!
Overall, it’s a super easy read. No dictionary required. You get easily drawn into the story of the slightly useless, 26 year old Louisa Clark. She’s aimlessly going through life and without much consideration, beyond a quite desperate need for money to support her family, she ends up as companion/carer to 35 year old, quadriplegic Will Traynor.
It’s revealed he is planning on ending his life at Dignitas, but has agreed to give his family 6 months before he does this. She begins to implement a plan to change his mind, and obviously falls in love with him. As he falls for her too. But it isn’t enough for him. He feels he’s not enough for her. So he’s going to do it anyway.
All the hooks are there to get you invested and throw your emotions all over the place. I enjoyed reading it and couldn’t put it down for a few days until I was finished.
Many people have an issue with the fact that Will’s decision to end his life gives a very negative view on living with disability. I didn’t have too much of an issue with how this is presented in the book. I can accept it is presented as one person’s opinion and not a general comment on disability. I understand why others may find this extremely distasteful.
What I really had a problem with it that a past sexual assault is given as the reason she starts to dress alternatively. I get that the assault is a turning point for her and something she hasn’t dealt with yet, but citing her wish to dress modestly because she thinks she attracted to assault, and mixing this up with her starting to dress individually and colourfully is wrong to me. I suspect this pushed my buttons because I’m not a conventional dresser myself and it irked me that this defining, positive part of her is revealed to be the consequence of assault!
In fact, the entire sexual assault subplot is completely unnecessary in my opinion. When it was revealed, I might have even audibly exhaled. Not another book turning to a rape to explain a character’s life. Would it have been so bad for Lou to have decided to stay in her home town because she ummm… just wanted to?
The overall theme of Me Before You is about Lou having her horizons expanded. She starts off with no ambition or clue about what to do with her life and ends up excited about furthering her education and doing some interesting things with her life. She also ends up inheriting the means to do this. Convenient!
Having said all that, if you want an emotional roller coaster, good, easy read – then this is the book for you!