Book Review: Me Before You

*Disclaimer. This post contains spoilers to the book.*

I started seeing commercials for the movie Me Before You in passing maybe a few weeks ago. I’d never heard of the book, so I had no interest in seeing the movie. It just seemed like a really cheesy love story, and those are not my “thing”. So how did I end up reading the book? Well, a friend of mine was doing an online book exchange on Facebook. How it works is that you “like” the post of the person who is already participating, they will send you a message with an address of a friend of theirs. You have to either send them a book you are not using anymore, or you can order one from Amazon and have it mailed directly to the person. It didn’t have to be anything expensive, just a book of your choosing. Included in the email is your friend’s address. You have to take their address and pass it on to anyone that likes your status about the book exchange. You also have to give them your address so their friends can send you a book (confused yet?).

So I sent the person I was assigned 3 books and I received Me Before You from someone else. Let me start off by saying that I loved the authors writing style. Even though where was some English jargon that I had to translate (lift= elevator, loo = bathroom/ toilet, etc.) the writing was easy to follow. I love books written in the first person because it helps me feel like I’m part of the story as opposed to being told the story by someone else. The majority of the book is in first person from the main character, Louisa Clark’s, point of view. There were some chapters from a few other characters as well, but they didn’t disrupt the flow of the story, well at least not for me.

I thought Louisa and her sister Katrina were both immature for their ages, and Katrina was kind of a bitch. I was pretty bothered at first because I think I took it a little personal. I remember thinking to myself more than once, “Oh, Louisa, grow up” but once I got out of my feelings and remembered it was just a story I got over it. I didn’t understand how a 26- year-old, ex-waitress with no real medical skills, or any skills at all for that matter, got a job to take care of a quadriplegic man, but again, it’s just a story. I didn’t know how much quadriplegics went through as far as medication, illnesses, pain, and travel before reading the book. I think the descriptions were detailed but not confusing or convoluted. Some of the story was kind of predictable though: grumpy man hates girl, they have a fight, he starts being nice, and they fall in love…blah, blah, blah.

Louisa was a woman on a mission who was doing all she could to try to convince Will, that his life was worth living even though he was immobile. She never stopped to ask him what he wanted (it was a secret apparently) and became way too emotionally involved. Toward the end of the book, I didn’t want Will to die either, but I tried to put myself in his shoes (something Louisa never did) and tried to think about constantly being in pain and having to depend on others to do literally everything for you. As I read, I became more and more curious as to how the book would end. A woman I sat next to on the flight to Jersey told me I was going to be in tears towards the end, but I just got a little misty eyed- no tears.

I will say that I enjoyed reading it; it wasn’t disappointing. I think it has made me more interested in seeing the movie now, (but I’ll wait until it comes out on Redbox). Others who have read the book felt like the book was sending a message that a disabled life is not worth living, but I didn’t feel that way about it. I felt it was more about personal choices and being able to make decisions for yourself no matter what situations you are going through in life. I’m not an advocate for suicide; however, I just try not to judge.

If anyone has read the book / seen the movie, please share your thoughts. And if anyone is interested in learning more about the book exchange, let me know, and I’ll update this post with the info.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Me Before You

  1. I liked this story (it made me laugh, it made me cry). My initial reaction to Will’s choice was thinking it was selfish but later I was able to evaluate both sides of the argument, although that’s not to say I came to a different conclusion than the one I had.

    Do NOT read the sequel to this though. It was so contrived and utterly ridiculous, which is saying a lot considering some of the scenarios in MBY were contrived and questionable.

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    • Thanks for the advice! I’ll skip it and move on to something else. I felt the way you did about Will’s decision, mostly because it hit close to home with me. But I tried to look at life through his eyes and wonder if it were me, if I would want to have to live like that. Some people are stronger than others, I suppose. But its hard to say “what you would do” unless you are actually IN that situation…no?

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