This novel will stay with me for a while… sigh.
Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, haunts me because it’s how I feel about this book. This book introduced me to Will Traynor, a man who was a president of a Company, a thrill-seeker and a ladies man who loved his life. Then he was cut down in his prime by a tragic accident that caused him to live as a quadriplegic, his days are filled with therapy, prescriptions, catheter changes and a humiliating dependence on others for everything. He lives under an oppressive cloak of depression, fear and pain. Here comes Louisa who is a working-class girl, her family depend on her meager wage from a local cafe where she worked for 6 years – to her shock she lose her job. Louisa knows that her family need her to earn and desperately starts looking for another job. After a few false starts, she reluctantly accepts a position as a carer to a young man who is paralyzed. Will Traynor’s mother hire Louisa to be his companion and a caregiver during the day. It doesn’t take long to Louisa to figure out the true reason for her position. However, once the family sees their connection, Louisa asked the help of Will Traynor’s family to convince him to live.
Told mainly from Louisa’s view point, the novel appears more balance when Jojo Moyes throws in a chapter from Will’s mothers’ perspective or that of Louisa’s sister that the novel becomes fragmented. We, people have that moment in life when something occurs that forever changes everything, an event that literally makes the world stop because nothing will ever be the same. Will’s moment was obviously his accident, but Louisa had one too, causing her to pick the safest path in life. Louisa’s contentment with her small life frustrates Will. He is a prisoner of his own body and she is a prisoner of her own fear. The twist in the story is that as Louisa attempts to convince Will that his life is not over, that he can still do things, that he can have a new life. That’s the point Louisa started to realize this may be true for her as well.
The story really came alive when it was just Will and Louisa. The dialogue between Will and Louisa is priceless, they stimulate one another. The irony is that, if not for a wheelchair, their lives would never have intersected.
The truth is, there comes a time while reading the book I am still hoping that miracles might happen that Will might get up and walk off into the sunset with Louisa. But quadriplegic is a quadriplegic, it’s like I am praying that a black crow will turn into a white crow. Jojo Moyes is an amazing storyteller, able to capture my attention right away at the first three chapters. She never ignored the facts that her hero was in a wheelchair and took the time to make sure that readers really understood what his daily existence was like. She successfully communicated his angers, fears and regrets. As a reader, I felt Louisa’s desperation to make Will’s life better; I desperately wanted to make it better too. The ending was not what I would have chosen. But I think Jojo Moyes wrote a realistic story that will leave its readers with bittersweet feelings, if somewhat of a broken heart. It is a very powerful and emotional novel, full of insight into people’s lives. We will think that it is a perfect read-uplifting, but also a tragic.
“You only get one life, It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
5 out of 5 stars (two thumbs up)