Once in a decade, maybe, a book comes along that I fall in love with. A book that wrenches my heart and makes me gasp. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes, is this decade’s book.
Here’s the story outline: A young girl, Louisa, after losing her job as worker in a café, begins a new job as a caregiver to a quadriplegic man named Will. She has no goals and doesn’t think much about the future. For reasons that become clear later, her primary concern in life is to do the “safe” thing. She has a boyfriend who’s obsessed with running and fitness.
Initially, she hates Will, her employer, and he barely tolerates her. He makes her feel stupid with his cruel remarks and taunts. Later she understands the reason why he acts like this, but at first she just wants to quit, she’s so miserable. She stays away from Will as much as she can by hanging out in the kitchen, running the vacuum, bringing in firewood and the like.
The first sign of change in their relationship is when his former girlfriend and employer visit to tell him they’re getting married. After they leave, Will goes ballistic and manages to break a bunch of picture frames, shattering the glass. Louisa makes a snarky comment, and he smiles. Barely. But it’s enough for a new beginning.
So we have a potent mix: a man who’d had a “big” life before his accident confined him to a wheelchair and caused all kinds of other health problems, and a girl who doesn’t really know who she is or what she wants from her life. One who is content to just bump along. Raise the stakes hugely with the revelation that Will is contemplating ending his life.
I don’t want to tell you how their relationship evolves, because you’ll want to discover it for yourself. I wouldn’t rob you of that pleasure for the world.
After finishing Me Before You, I had a startling revelation about myself as a reader. When it comes to a book that touches me deeply, I don’t really want to read an interview with the author, read professional reviews, or reviews from bloggers, or any from Amazon either. Because I think the book, or the story, has become an entity in and of itself. It’s a thing that’s out there and it’s separate from the author. It belongs to me now. It’s in my heart and soul and mind, and I don’t particularly want to share it, nor do I want to know anything about its creation that might affect how in love with that book I am.
Sound a little wacko? Yep. Sure does. But there it is.
I didn’t want to go into writer mode with this book, but I have. I’m reading it for the third time in a month to try to figure out how Moyes made me so emotionally attached to the characters and story and never want to let them go.
What’s your latest book obsession?
Okay, you’ve convinced me. You’ve raved about it in person and online, so I must read it!
And I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to read others’ opinions when you fall in love with a book. I’ve actually told people I didn’t want to hear their opinion about certain books I loved, if I thought they might disagree with me 🙂
I’ll move this one up in my TR queue!
Lisa–I know you’ll love it too. I was actually listening to an interview w/her and had to turn if off!
[…] Characters are edgier, more brittle, and often fearless in letting their feelings be known. (See my review of Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.) And many contemporary writers excel at humor, a la Carl Hiiasen, […]