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on May 10, 2016
Let me start by saying that I know I'm in the minority here, but I did not care for this novel at all.
Im not going to get into the movie trailer that was recently released, but I must say that a lot of movie goers are going to be deeply disappointed.
I have to applaud Moyes' high-quality writing, the way she seems to effortlessly string words together to tug the reader in whichever direction she pleases is impressive and the beginning of the book seemed promising, akin to the fault in our stars' plot line where the characters' illnesses provide them with a depth and humanity that makes their relationship and interactions intriguing. But it all goes downhill from there.

Lou's character is so precious, her perseverance and love for Will was strikingly beautiful. However, her efforts are all pointless and the message we are left with is that a life with disability is not worth living. This book had the chance to inspire and challenge the reader, to bring them close to the realities of living with physical challenges while proving that life can go on and there is beauty and hope in what others would deem tragic. Will is surrounded by a family that cares for him, he has financial stability, he can still do countless activities despite his condition and most importantly, his life is enhanced by the presence of a character who is willing to give up absolutely everything for the slim chance to change his mind.

I was furious as I read the book's ending. (which was predictable but still undesirable) Lou is willing to give up everything because she learns to see beyond the wheel chair, she can see Will as the man he can no longer see himself as. Will's letter at the end was especially infuriating. He asks her to fulfill her potential and pursue a life she'd missed out on, to live the life she "deserves". He spends his last months telling her that nothing would make him happier than seeing her flourish outside their hometown, yet he is unable to understand that the only life she wants is one with him in it. He urges Lou to expand her horizons and challenge her limits and yet he can't seem to see beyond his wheelchair. It was cowardly of him to give everything up when he had a chance at life with someone who could see him for who we truly was, he is haunted by an image of his old self and fails to realize that Louise is in love with the man he is now, and asks for nothing more than his will to live.
It is NOT a heroic act, it is arrogant to decide when his life should end and the suffering he caused Lou far outweighs any "opportunities" he could have given her with the inheritance.

It seems that only those that are close to or have witnessed the struggle of someone living with physical disabilities see the atrocities being discussed in the novel. That despite all the reminders that his life can still be filled joy and love, he has the right to choose when to end it, regardless of who he hurts in the process. I've read many books that don't end in happy ever after, but there was not point to the depressing, suicidal ending. No reason could have justified his choice but his decision to die is summed up as his inability to cope with the fact that he can no longer live the adventurous life he used to have or behave as the successful, athletic, popular, rich kid he once was.

Will despises the fact that he can not make his own choices, and yet he urges Louisa to go back to school, move on with her life, and witness his death without regard for her only request - his presence. The final scene is selfish and cruel, Lou is left suffering quietly because of her love for him. It goes against everything ethical and moral Lou's family stands for and yet she stands by him as he fails to see the life he could have led with her. Life already has its downsides and challenges, I don't need a novel that celebrates suicide and contemplates that tragedy makes life pointless.
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on October 5, 2017
When Louisa Clark loses her comfortable job as a waitress at a local café, she is forced to seek new employment. Money is tight in her family, and Lousia is having difficulty finding a job that is a good fit, especially given her lack of training. She reluctantly accepts a position as a day-time caregiver to Will Traynor, a man who had once lived a big life, but is now a cripple and cannot even feed himself. At first, Will seems to want nothing to do with Lou, but he gradually seems to accept her and begins to teach her to look outside of herself for the bigger possibilities her life might hold. One day, Lou overhears a conversation, and her blood runs cold. It seems the six-month term on her employment has a reason, a very sinister one. If Will does not change his mind about his life in six months, he will travel to Switzerland and commit assisted suicide. Lou tries everything to change his mind, widening her own horizons in the process, but can she convince Will life is worth living?
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on July 1, 2016
Every summer I like to read a book like this – popular, a page-turner, and something I can read with the women in my family that everyone would probably like. This fits the bill. Within the first 100 pages of the book I thought, “This will either be a good book, or a horrible book – depending on the ending.” Although the ending was predictable in my opinion, I still found that it validated my declaration of “Me Before You” as a GOOD book. In fact, the last 100 pages had me oblivious to the world, as I desperately needed to know how it ended. The author allowed a couple of random chapters to be narrated by other characters – a technique that is done a lot, but this was not alternated or done in any kind of methodical way. I’m still not sure if can say it worked or not, but felt it was an inventive way to allow us to see how others viewed the main character (infinitely more positively than she views herself). The main character’s insecurity and severe low self-esteem may be irritating to many people – especially in this day and age of such powerful female characters in literature, television, and cinema. However, her softness and openness to the experiences in the book was believable and endearing because of these qualities. Overall, a good, satisfying summer read.
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on June 12, 2017
I cannot write much about this book for fear of giving to much away. This masterpiece forces you to dive deep into the depths of your soul and ask yourself, what would you do? What would you do if you were Will and had to live each day with such horrible pain? What would you do if you were Clark and had to decide to be present and accounted for or refuse a loved ones final request? Would you even really know what you'd do because you, as the reader, are just an outsider looking in? It makes you explore the depths of your soul, though. I promise you that! What if this was you and your loved one? Everyone should read this book so they could explore the possibilities of what they would do if they were backed into an impossible corner.
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on December 1, 2016
Beautiful love story! Despite the slow pace, I really enjoyed it. (I may or may not have shed a few tears along the way.... especially at the end) The characters seem so real and so relate-able, it's extremely well developed. I never would have seen myself reading a book about a middle to low class girl turning caretaker, and falling for a quadriplegic man. but, I totally just did, and am so glad!! Jojo's ability to take such a far fetched story line and turning it into a realistic heartfelt masterpiece is a beautiful thing. Kudo's Jojo! I can't wait to read the next in the series!
Will was a prominent man who came from money and made money - loads of it. He lived life to the fullest in every way. He conquered unthinkable things in life and then was struck by a motorcycle and everything came to a halt. Louisa Clarke came from a family who was struggling to get by. They depended on each other in every way. Even at 26 she still lived at home and played her part in contributing to the family funds. After loosing her job abruptly she landed a new one (by some miracle) as one of Will's caretakers.
What happens on their journey together pulls at every heart string imaginable! Will's mental state has made him a very hard guy to be around. At first it's a real struggle for her. Over time they are able to tolerate one another, then soon become very close. Close to the point of Louisa being so completely in tune with his emotions and expressions that their fondness for each other is inevitable. Will and Louisa transform each other into better human beings in every way. Their love is undeniably a beautiful thing.
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on December 3, 2014
Read it for book club. Hated it. Young, poor, helpless female gets rescued by rich wheelchair-bound beast who lives in a castle.... the overly simplistc characters and tired Disney trope (Cinderella/ Beauty & Beast/ Little Mermaid, etc.) made it a painfully predictable story. It's less sophisticated than a Trixie Beldon novel.
One redeeming thing was that i don't often get to read about life as a quadruplegic, but even that was gravely oversimplified and sugarcoated (no colostomy bag, for starters). Also, i liked that it [very sophomorically] explored the Death with Dignity movement. But overall it was saccharine slop.
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on May 24, 2016
I'm going to split this review into 2 parts. This first part will be a fairly non-spoiler review, and then I'll give a warning when I delve into spoiler territory.

So, for the no spoilers (or as minimal spoilers as I can) part.... I read this book quickly, I think it only took about four days. I would say it's fairly predictable, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable to me. In fact, it was one of those books that made me feel so strongly that I was in complete denial about the direction the book was going. Deep down, I completely and totally knew what was going to happen, but my brain and my heart were having 2 different ideas on the matter. I thought about it for days, I re-read several chapters, and I still didn't (and in some ways still don't) want to accept it. To me, that's the mark of a great story. I know not everyone will have the same reaction, but considering this book made me actually go through the 5 stages of loss and grief as I read it, I simply have to give it a good rating.

On the other hand, I can only give it 4 stars because it really is very predictable and the characters are very one dimensional. Every character other than Louisa and Will is simply fluff in the background of the story. Both sets of parents, both siblings, Will's ex girlfriend (and ex friends), Lou's boyfriend.... I didn't find any of them to be complex or interesting in the least bit. They all have a schtick and nothing about them changes throughout the entire book. I found that Patrick, Lou's boyfriend, is the worst offender in terms of being one dimensional. He really adds nothing to the story except to add one more thing that shows how Louisa doesn't do anything extraordinary or change anything about her comfortable, boring life. And boy, is Patrick boring. There's nothing wrong with him, per se. It's just made painfully obvious in every single scene he's in that he and Lou aren't "right" for each other. Frankly, I think he could have been left out of the entire book and we wouldn't be worse off.

While all the other side characters are equally boring, the one character I actually did find interesting was Nathan, Will's medical caretaker, and I wish we could have seen more of him. There are several chapters (four, I believe.. one each from Will's parents, one from Nathan, and one from Lou's sister) in the book that are from different perspectives other than Louisa's. While 2 of these chapters help move the story along in ways that Lou's chapters couldn't, or offer a welcome change in perspective, there were another 2 of them that did nothing for me except slow down the story.

As for Lou and Will, they aren't terribly complex, but they at least have some dimension to them, and they are both pretty relatable. I think it wouldn't be a far stretch for anyone to imagine themselves in either of their situations and reacting the way they do; Lou became too comfortable in her life and never took risks or tried new things, and Will became disgusted with himself and the life he was forced to live after his accident. Both are stubborn and terribly hypocritical, as they both spend much of the book trying to get the other to do more with their life.

I read this book shortly before the film was released, so I had already watched the trailer, and ended up re-watching the trailer multiple times as I read in order to see certain scenes. I hate to be the person to compare the book to the movie (and not even the full movie, but just the trailer!), but watching the trailer makes me wish I could take off another half star and make this rating be 3.5 stars. When I watch the trailer, I find the chemistry between Lou and Will to be amazing. They just work together. But I didn't feel the same chemistry while reading, and that really disappointed me. There are multiple scenes in the book that feel very platonic to me. The same scenes in the trailer feel flirty and romantic and electrifying. It makes me wonder if this will be one of those rare cases that the movie is better than the book.

All in all, I think it's a worthy read. It's short and probably won't take you long to read. You won't feel like you've wasted time if you don't like it, and if you love it, it will just go that much faster. I recommend not reading the last 25% of the book in public, but rather while snuggled under a blanket with some tissues.

Now for the spoilers...
>>>>>>SPOILERS AHEAD!!<<<<<<<
As I mentioned before, I was in complete denial about what was going to happen at the end of this book the entire time I was reading, even though I KNEW what was going to happen. Unfortunately I read this book after the sequel was already released. Whoever's idea it was to name the sequel "After You" should really be ashamed. Way to completely spoil it for anyone who hasn't read Me Before You yet. When you search "Me Before You", it also comes up with "AFTER YOU, THE SEQUEL TO THE BESTSELLER ME BEFORE YOU".

So anyway, I knew that someone wasn't going to make it through this book. But like I said, I tried to convince myself up until the very last chapter that I was wrong, and that Will and Lou were going to live happily ever after. And we all know how that turned out....

The only other thing that want to mention in this spoiler section is how surprising the "romance" of this novel was. Like I said in the earlier part of my review, I found there to be a definitely lack of romantic chemistry between Lou and Will, and I find it very hard to classify this as a typical romantic story. Will never says "I love you" to Lou, even not in his final letter. She changed his life for the better and I believe he certainly loved her in his own way, but this just isn't a standard love story. I think it shows that love isn't the same for everyone, it isn't necessarily about spending the rest of your life with someone. Love takes many forms, and I think this novel does a great job of showing that. I'm certainly ok with the unconventionality of the love between Lou and Will, but I could see how it might confuse some people or put them off because they're going into it expecting a love story, but I think you come out of the book realizing it's as much about living as it is about loving.
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on October 11, 2014
Ok, I'm a new fan! I just love when you read a book by an author you don't know about and you fall in love. This was one of those. Firstly, I have to admit I love all things English. I'm obsessed! With good reason though, I am English! Well... English-American I guess. My grandmother and mother were born in England, sadly I just haven't made it there ... YET! That said... do I think it's Jojo's Englishness that drew me in? No! This has fantastic writing, a great plot with suspense a bit of romance, and a great ending! The English slang just drew me in even more!!

Actually, although this could be figured out it's the fork in the road that had me guessing. I was really curious how it was going to end! It's interesting because Jojo Moyes is able to take such a deep subject, assisted suicide, and lay it all in a format so you can see the pro's and the con's all at once. It's incredibly well done. Never did I fell like she was trying to shove rhetoric down my throat.

I think one thing that she does very well is introduce and get her readers to love and have empathy with her characters. They are brilliant. I love that Lou is such a strange sort but it makes sense that she keeps to herself. As her story emerges we get to find out why she is ok playing life safe, everyone has a reason for no longer being brave, and hers fit the story quite well.

And then we meet Mr. Smarty Pants himself, Will Traynor. I just fell in love with this guy! It was hard because there's also Patrick. I never felt attached to Patrick and although I wanted the best for everyone I just felt that Patrick was a bit of a narcissist. I'm excited for him but come on Patrick, there are other people and other things in the world! Seriously. Funnily, I do really enjoy exercising so I could really understand his point of view but at the same time was sad that he was so mired in his own existence while Lou was really struggling.

The plot of the story was fantastic and had me on the edge of my seat. I kept glancing at my Kindle's percentage wondering how much more Lou and Will could endure but I never felt like I wanted to rush the story along. The pacing was quite good.

I loved the ending! Love, love, love, love!! I actually wanted to go to bed an hour previous but could NOT with being so close to the end. It was fabulous. Matched the book and the characters quite well but left me wanting more from these characters!

In short: Really emotional but good read. Hard hitting subjects that will have you thinking for days and days!
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on June 7, 2016
Here are a few problems I had overall:
1) Everyone/everything is predictable. I mean "see it a mile away" predictable. The big "AHA!" moment when Louisa overhears Will's mom and sister discussing why they even hired her was painful to read since I could basically feel the author trying to make it suspenseful, but it fell miserably flat. (Psst! We already know. We sussed it out 5 chapters ago.)
2) Louisa's rape story has ZERO foreshadowing...nada, zip. The only thing that would remotely suggest such a thing would be that she doesn't visit the castle. Well...neither do any other locals apart from those who work there...??? The author smacks you upside the head with it in the middle of the book like, "Oh yeah! I forgot to mention this pivotal part of my main protagonist's past until JUST NOW. Hope you can still follow along down this rabbit hole of a story! My bad!" I just don't understand why there wasn't more of a lead-in to mold that part of her story to her personality and really explain why she is the way she is. Very poorly done, in my opinion.
3) The end of the story was moving only because I'm a human being who cries when good people die. The topic of euthanasia has such emotion tied to it, I couldn't help but root for him to stay and love Louisa then be thoroughly disappointed when he didn't. Other than that, it was an anvil drop of an ending. "Well...he's dead now and I'm in Paris on his dime. Tra-la-la!!" Even the parting letter he wrote to her was lackluster.

Those three things really kept me from enjoying the book. I think it had major potential, but something didn't translate. Maybe it's just me seeing as, overall, this book has a 4.5/5 star rating. Eh. Take from it what you will.

God bless!
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on July 7, 2016
Oh my God, I thought I knew what was going to happen but all of details revealed with spectacular writing made this a compelling read! The descriptions of the story from sevreal different chacters' first person accounts was well done and a love story in such a unique situation not only revealed growth and change in the main characters but in all of the characters.
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