Me Before You

Me Before You

by Jojo Moyes

Alma Klein (07/08/14): /Review*: I can only add to the other readers. I could not put it down and could'nt wait to see how the author was going to end the story.
Rating: *****

Brenda Horne (06/30/14): I can't add much more to the other reviews other than the fact that I, too, couldn't put this book down. The character development of the unlikely pair was extremely well done. As someone who was involved in hospice care from it's infancy in the US from the late 70s through the 90s, it was a little tough for me to reconcile the differences with the English system, but I understand the need for it for those who would choose it. Great summer book that I would highly recommend.
Rating: *****

Judy Stanton (06/21/14): In one of my "past lives," I worked in public relations at Shepherd Center. I learned so much about people with disabilities. I worked with a man who was a quadriplegic who came to work everyday, worked at his computer, had a wife and daughter, and drove an adaptable van. He was part of an organization called "Not Dead Yet," folks with disabilities trying to educate the able bodied about living with disabilities. So, it was a little harder for me to read Me Before You, because I think it takes the point of view of the person who thinks "if that ever happens to me, just shoot me." And, ironically, spinal cord injuries most often do happen to young, active males. Working with people with disabilities reminds you on a daily basis to be thankful for what you have. So did this book. For Sophie, who at 26 had no direction in life, just was going with the flow, it was an in-your-face, powerful message: This is your life. You are capable. You have opportunities. Go for it! The story is a reminder to be thankful for the small things in life, like being able to feed yourself or take a shower. And that having all the money in the world, good looks and a great family doesn't guarantee you that life will go the way you want it to. Moyes' book is a compelling read; I enjoyed her writing and her chapters that reflected different character's perspectives. Highly recommended.
Rating: *****

Dale Israel (12/12/13): Several others have written excellent reviews of this novel so I will keep this short and sweet. I loved this book as much, if not more than JoJo Moyes' other novel: The Girl You Left Behind. I simply couldn't put this book down. Yes, the ending was predictable...for a rare change I figured it out early on, but it didn't stop me from really enjoying this book. I rate it 4 1/2 stars.
Rating: ****+

Laura Hall (12/01/13): This book reminded me of the story I read as a child called The Secret Garden, but with a more sad and adult-love twist versus a childhood friendship. In this story the two main characters develop a love-hate relationship trying to help one another and themselves figure out what they want in life as well as asking themselves, and me as the reader, what one would do in each characters shoes. Very intriguing and eventful up to the end.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss (09/18/13): Anne's review is an excellent summary about the content of this book. Louisa Clark has become employed as a companion to Will Traynor, a wealthy, worldly quadraplegic who became disabled as a result of an accident. The job is contracted for 6 months and the book expertly relates the evolving relationship between the patient and the caregiver. While one would assume that the disabled individual is the one who benefits most from the complicated relationship, I take issue with that. Louisa learns and grows as a person as a result of her interactions with Will. They become soul mates and they share their most intimate feelings with each other. I loved Louisa, a caring and warm-hearted individual and I loved the book. This is definitely a must read, making the reader think about quality of life issues that face all of us as we age.
Rating: *****

Anne Ferber (03/28/13): Louisa Clark, 26, is the unlikely heroine of this emotional and impactful novel of an extremely unlikely love affair between a mouse of a girl who has no idea of life outside of her small town in England, and a wealthy, worldly young man who has suffered an accident leaving him quadriplegic.

Lou, as she is called, works as a waitress at the Buttered Bun, expecting this to be her life's work and not dreaming of much more. Her working-class family is close, but suffering from the economic downturn and feeling the added pressure of having another daughter, Treena, who has brought home a child, the result of an unexpected pregnancy.

When Lou loses her job, crippling the family's limited resources, she is hired as caregiver to Will Traynor, handsome, witty, educated, but, alas, cynical, sarcastic, in a wheelchair and totally dependent on others for his life, the quality of which he detests. Upon their initial meetings, it is evident that these two are worlds apart.

Lou is like a lost sheep in the wealthy grandeur of the Traynor household. Her lack of education and ambition are alarming to Will, who cannot understand how an able bodied person would not want to "lead a big life and see the world and try everything". As their relationship progresses, however, it is hard to tell which one of them is learning more from the other and it is obvious that they are becoming very emotional about the other's welfare. (Yes, the movie rights have been sold, and I can hear the Hollywood musical background already.)

Although this book can well be described as a "weepy", there are a number of things that give it a larger perspective: First, is the honesty of their relationship. Although Lou is initially afraid to tell Will anything, as he is completely intimidating, she becomes more courageous as the story progresses, and since she is the main narrator, the entire novel becomes more intelligent as a result. Secondly, the idea of severe disability suddenly imposing itself upon an adventurous, risk seeking, life loving young man with infinite resources, presents philosophical questions that are easy to identify and tough to contemplate.

Yes, there is much potential to pass this off as a sappy soap opera, but the arguments about just what is a quality life, and who decides one's own fate, under which circumstances, makes this novel a giant step above a typical romance.
Rating: ****

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