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Friday, December 27, 2013

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Book Review: Me Before You

If you have a lot of friends who are avid readers, or you frequent any book recommendation sites like I do, then you have heard of this book. From the first time I read the description, I knew I had to read it. It only took one personal recommendation from a friend for me to buy this book, and I’m very glad that I did. Warning: Do not go into this book thinking that it will be all fun and games, because this book is extremely emotional. But the lessons you will take out of it will absolutely be worth the heartache.

The story follows Louisa Clark, a small town woman living in England who has just been fired from her cozy job working at a café. She still lives at home with her parents, who are struggling to support themselves. Out of desperation and necessity, she takes a job as a caretaker for a quadriplegic man with an overbearing mother and a negative outlook on life. Without giving too much away, I will say that the rest of the book explores the relationship between Lou and Will, two people who grew up in the same town but led completely different lives.
Right off the bat, this book was easy for me to fall into. The protagonist, Louisa, was extremely relatable and she reminded me a lot of my best friend. Her voice was recognizable to me, and I really felt like I was listening to a close friend recount these events directly to me.  Even though we live very different lives, I could see myself making the same choices as Lou, and so I was always rooting for her. Lou starts the book with no job, and a boyfriend who she doesn’t really care for. She has no real path in life and so she falls into care-taking as a last resort. A large part of her new job is dealing with her boss, Mrs. Traynor, who is a reserved and mysterious woman. Seeing their relationship progress was one of the highlights of the book, because I was anxious to see the ice start to melt off of Mrs. Traynor to reveal that she was a sensible and loving woman who had her reasons for behaving in the way that she does.

An interesting aspect of this book is the appearance of multiple points of view. The narrator switches a few times, especially towards the end, and at first these chapters really threw me off. I felt like I had a great relationship with Lou, as silly as that sounds, but I was uncomfortable when the POV was abruptly switched. These chapters aimed to lend a different perspective to the story, but honestly, they felt unnecessary to me. I felt removed from the narrative and I didn’t really learn anything imperative from those chapters.

The book is advertised as a love story, and although it is the driving force of the narrative, it is not the main focus of our protagonist. I really don’t want to give away any spoilers for this book, because I was glad that I didn’t know too much going into it, but there is a greater issue at hand that becomes the main conflict of this story.  The romance, for me, felt a little rushed towards the end of the novel. I understood the bond between these characters perfectly, I just didn’t want the actual ROMANCE aspect of it to be over the top or too dramatic as there were other elements that were more important.

The most important thing I took out of this book was the reminder that life is short, and it is imperative that we live everyday to its fullest, because you never know what could happen to you on any given day. You cannot let the roadblocks in your life deter you from making the most of the time you have on this earth. That is the kind of lesson that everyone needs to be reminded of.
With that being said, and without spoiling the ending, I was satisfied with the way the book came to a close. I knew going into it that this story would not be traditional, and I was glad that the author maintained a sense of realness with every aspect of the story. I really felt like I came out of this novel with a newfound understanding of the trials and tribulations of caring for someone with a debilitating disability. I would absolutely recommend this book.

Title: Me Before You

Author:  Jojo Moyes
Genre: Fiction

Recommendation: Yes

Best Reader Audience: Adult females (and men who are in tune with their emotions)

Final Rating: Four out of Five Bunny Bums!

Do you want to explore this unconventional and touching relationship? Use the link below and your purchase will help support the Lone Book Club! 

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