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Monday, February 4, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
ISBN: 978-0670026609
Published Dec 31, 2012
Hardcover, 384 pages

From the moment I read the synopsis of this book I knew I wanted to read it. When I downloaded it from Netgalley, I decided to take a peek and dip into it. After all, I surmised, it could turn out to be corny. Not! I started reading and... never stopped. It was unputdownable! It's been awhile since a book had me so engrossed. I smirked, laughed (burst out loud), sighed and cried, especially as I came to the end of it all. I wanted to call someone and talk about the book.

Louisa Clark lives in a touristic English town with a castle at its centre, working in a small café, doing a job she loves. But when the café closes down, Louisa needs to find another job fast. Her father is on the brink of losing his own job and her smart sister wants to go back to college, but needs her family's financial support because she also has a preschooler. Out of desperation, Louisa accepts the job as caregiver to wealthy Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who was once a high-powered business man. After a rocky start, both Louisa and Will discover there is more to each other than they had first anticipated. And their lives are never going to be the same.

I loved this story. It was different, thought-provoking, deep, funny, serious and, oh-so-captivating. I read for hours non-stop; something I don't usually do with my frenetic schedule. Although there is a romantic element in the story, this is not a romance novel, even though the book cover is suited for chick-lit. The element of true friendship stands out more. It's an easy book to read, without slow spots. I was surprised by Moyes ability to so strongly pull me into the story and keep me there.

I found the characters to be realistic. Louisa may have come across as a real simple girl to begin with, hanging on to a 7-year relationship that was going nowhere and having no real aspiration for her future, but I really liked her a lot, and I began to see her strong qualities as the story progressed. I loved her self-confidence, her colourful wardrobe and the way she could see the good in people, even when at times she wasn't treated well. There was so much more to her and the author peels back the layers to her personality as the story progresses until we get to see the full picture. She does the same with Will.

Will's life changed dramatically after an accident leaves him dependent on others for all his basic needs. I appreciated how the author gives the reader a realistic and sometimes painfully honest look at what it's like to be a quadriplegic. The ethical subject of euthanasia is at the core of this story, making this book great for book clubs. I have my personal view of this topic, and I will not go into it, but having lost friends to suicide I can understand what pain and suffering can drive a person to do and it saddens me to no end that there are many people who suffer enormously everyday.

The ending was bittersweet. It left me sad and happy all at the same time. It's a story that has stayed with me days after I read it. And will stay with me for many days more.

Note: This book is rated P = Profanity for f-bombs and religious expletives.

Reviewed by Laura

Disclosure: Thanks to Penguin Group Viking and NetGalley for sending me this e-galley for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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