Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
THE Low Down
Lou has lived her 26 years quietly within the borders of her small English town, holding the same job for nearly a decade, helping her family get by, keeping her resentments to herself as she puts her family before her. Will has spent his time traveling the world, amassing wealth and a life list that many modern day adventurers would envy until a motorcycle accident derails his high flying lifestyle, leaving him a quadriplegic. Lou's life is also turned upside down when the loss of her job also shakes the stability of her neatly ordered world.
Lou in need of a job and Will in need of a “companion”, their lives are thrown together in a way both despise. Lou does not want to be the companion to someone who hates her; Will doesn't want a companion of any kind, or to continue living a life where he requires one. But there is much more to the story than Lou first realizes, as Will already has plans to escape. But not if Lou has anything to do with.
MY Low Down
This has been touted as a modern day love story, but to say only that does a disservice to this incredibly deep, heart wrenching novel that can both lift you up and knock you down in a matter of seconds. It looks at some of life’s most difficult questions in a way that is so fluid and moving that you often don’t realize the importance of the subject at hand, just that it has been presented in a way that is both readable and thought provoking.
At its heart are the characters who are actually REAL. No, they didn’t hop out of the book and start having a conversation with me, but it felt like they could have. Louisa is the child who has always been second fiddle to the “better at everything” older sibling. She compensated by dressing in bright colors, bringing home money to contribute to the family kitty, remaining stable in the face of her sister’s “look at me! Love ME!” attitude. We’ve all known this person, been this person, and Lou embodies it in a way that is realistic, lovable, annoying and relatable all at once. While her stability has helped her family, it has hindered her personally. She’s never left the shadow of the castle, her town’s one claim to tourist fame, and she doesn’t really care if she ever does. Will on the other hand was happy to leave it in the dust to wander streets of Paris, surf on exotic beaches, leap tall buildings (or off tall mountains, or planes, or whatever else he could get his hands on) in a single bound. Now, Lou has the ablebodiedness to do the exploring but not the heart to do it. Will has the heart but not the physical ability. The combination of these personalities brought out one of the many deeper messages from within the pages: do YOU live your life to its fullest? And if you’re Lou, you also ask who has the right to judge whether you have or not? And if you act as your own judge and jury, from what are you basing your opinion? There are no actual answers to these questions, for anyone, anywhere, yet they are ones that many of us spend a great deal of time in life trying to answer. If we are lucky, we may someday know ourselves well enough to trust that our verdict is correct, or have enough faith in ourselves to follow through, but that is such a personal thing that I honestly don’t feel it can even be described.
The relationship the develops between Lou and Will is tenuous at first but develops into genuine love for one another, though the way they see their future and what that love means could not be farther apart from one another. Lou can’t see her life without Will, who has opened her heart, her mind, and the doors through which she has begun to broaden her horizons. Will can’t see his life at all, and even worse he can’t see himself burdening Lou’s newfound freedom and passion with his disability. To Lou, losing Will is unimaginable. To Will, losing Lou is the ONLY thing he can do. The manifestations of their love for one another are in such different realms of human thought that it is hard to believe that stem from a common bond, but JoJo Moyes takes you through their relationship in such a way that it ultimately more sense than you ever could have imagined. Don’t get me wrong – it sucks – I cried like a baby – but it made sense. And I loved it for it. There is not happy anything here, yet somehow it is all happy. It forces you to look at a perspective that is not often brought up.
Plus, the writing is just excellent!
View all my reviews