This is one of the best books I've read in recent years, and one of the most emotional. I bought this book at Goodwill ages ago and kind of forgot about it (oops) until a few weeks ago, when the trailer for the film adaptation came out. The film stars some of my favorite actors, and the trailer captured my attention, so I dove into the book. I devoured it in three days. Totally worth reading.
All in all, I loved it. This book is extraordinary in a way I haven't seen in quite some time. But before I get to my actual review, here's the Goodreads summary:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
Let me start off by saying that I don't read a lot of romance. Heck, usually the only way I'll read romance at all is if it's masked as something else. With that being said, I am head-over-heels for this beautiful book. It's a love story, yes, but it's so much more than that, too. It's a story of hope in the face of hopelessness, perseverance against all odds, and discovering the meaning of a life fully lived.
What got me most about this book is how unpretentious it is. As far as books go, it doesn't seem extraordinary at face value. With some other books I've read and enjoyed, I found myself marveling at the author's expertise and skill, the way they've crafted the world of the story. With Me Before You... that didn't happen. I couldn't put the book down, and I didn't know why. It wasn't until about halfway through that I realized I was being pulled in by the strength of the story, not by the author's mastery of prose.
Good writing makes you forget that what you're reading was created by another human being. It doesn't call attention to itself. And while it's clear that Jojo Moyes knows what she's doing as a writer, there were no moments of "wow, this is so well-written" with this book. To me, it didn't feel written, didn't feel like a work of fiction. It felt true to life and real in a way that some books haven't. This authentic essence is what makes the book difficult to put down, if not almost impossible.
All in all, I give Me Before You my highest praise. Although it's a book in a genre I don't normally enjoy, I loved every minute of it. And although (without spoiling), the ending left me shocked, it also felt entirely satisfying somehow. If you're looking for an emotional, true-to-life read, I can't recommend this book wholeheartedly enough.
What did you think of Me Before You? How do you feel about emotional books?
Find out why @brianawrites calls @jojomoyes' novel ME BEFORE YOU "an emotional, true-to-life read." (Click to tweet)