“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.” ~ Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
I’m three or four books down on the 20 Book Summer Challenge and I think that’s okay. Perhaps 20 was a little ambitious but I’ll do what I can.
I particularly enjoyed this book, spending much of a Saturday in bed devouring it. I should say I found this surprising, as I hadn’t expected to like it that much.
I’m not a massive “chick-lit” fan (doesn’t that term just stick in your craw?) but I love Marian Keyes, Dawn French‘s lovely novels and a cheeky bit of Jenny Colgan, especially as Autumn turns to Winter and thoughts turn to Christmas cookies and hot chocolates by the window.
Apart from those though, I often find myself swerving the sugared almond covers of books ‘like that’ in favour of the reds and blacks of crime and thrillers. So, imagine my bemusement when I couldn’t put this one down.
I went out for brunch and spent an hour in the gym but all the time I was out and about, I was thinking about Lou Clark and Will Traynor.
*Beware spoilers* (I’m really going to try not to).
Lou Clark is a 26-year-old woman living with her working class family. Recently unemployed after the cafe she’s happily worked in for years closes, she has no idea what she wants to do. I mean, there aren’t that many options for a girl with no qualifications but she could train as a PT and then work with her boyfriend Patrick – but is that what she really wants?
Things at home aren’t great either, given that her income was a great help to her parents. Poor Mr Clark is on the verge of losing his own job to redundancy so when a new opportunity pops up to be a carer for a quadriplegic man, Lou feels she really should take it. Turns out she’ll be caring for Will Traynor, a former banker paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.
With no experience to speak of, Lou is surprised to be offered this job by prickly Camilla Traynor and her husband, Steven. But Camilla assures her she has been hired to brighten his spirits and not for her professional skills.
Can you guess the rest?
Actually, that’s unfair. Although this is a romantic story with a predictable (to a point) plot line, it really doesn’t lose anything from that. If anything it’s as comfortable as one of those crocheted blankets your nan used to make (well, not my Nana) but a really nice soft one. And, I didn’t know the whole story as I went in so there was enough there to keep me hooked.
I won’t reveal too much but I will say that there is more to this story than just boy meets girl, boy is mean to girl at first then they get on and girl cheers boy up. Lou quickly learns that her expected role in Will’s life comes with far more responsibility than she thought. Once she learns just how unhappy Will is and, in turn how far his parents and sister would go to change that, she commits hard.
With the help of her family and Will’s, will Lou be able to make Will value his life again? And how will she cope when her long-term relationship begins to feel less important to her as a result?
I thought I may have become immune to a story that didn’t have at least one horrible murder in it but I’m kind of glad that good and wholesome can still hold my attention. I very much enjoyed my time in this world, identifying with Lou’s lack of direction, getting annoyed at her thoughtless boyfriend and just wishing for the epic happy ending to end all happy endings. Whether I got that I’ll keep to myself.
Revision: I should add somewhere that there is a more serious underlying topic here which not everyone will agree with. Without spoilering, there’s a decision made by a central character that I certainly wasn’t expecting to actually happen, nor did I agree with. I’ll leave it there.
Jojo is a decent writer who shapes her characters well. Some of it is a little whimsical but I don’t mind a bit of whimsy every now and again. In fact, now more than ever I feel like I need a regular injection of it, though this comes with a side order of weepy.
Thankfully for me there is now a film adaptation (in cinemas now) starring Mother of Dragon’s herself Emilia Clarke AND a motherfucking sequel (After You, released 30 June) so there’s plenty more to enjoy over the next month.
10/10 would recommend if you’re open to a bit of cheese (more like 8/10 but who’s counting?). There are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday, that’s for shiz.
Me Before You
Publisher: Michael Joseph; 01 edition (5 Jan. 2012)
Bought paperback (new)