Sometimes in the fight to save someone, you learn to save yourself.
Louisa (Lou) Clark just lost her beloved job as a waitress at “The Buttered Bun”. She never thought she would have to find a new job. Lou was 26 years old, with no job, no ambitions, and a lack of qualifications she knew finding a new job that she would love as much as the one she held at “The Buttered Bun” would be difficult. Lou was stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of mediocrity that was reinforced by her parents and more successful younger sister. Lou has it set in her mind that she is inadequate in every way, a failure before she even tries. All of that changes when she is forced to take as a caregiver for a quadriplegic man named William (Will Traynor).
Will Trayor was once a successful businessman with a taste for the extreme. He loved good food, good sex, and pretty woman. He had an insatiable appetite for adventure and with his financial success as a businessman, he was able to travel and achieve his wildest desires. Then, on a particularly common and rainy morning Will was hit by a car which leaves him a quadriplegic, and his whole life changes. There is no hope for recovery, and the promise of a lifetime of suffering and pain are ahead of him. He comes to the ultimate decision to end his life. His parents beg him to wait six months before he heads for Dignitas, in the hopes that he will change his mind and find happiness in his new life.
The next six months Louisa’s only goal is to change Will’s mind and to give him hope that life is worth living. She needs to prove that outside of his pain, suffering, depression, and the feeling that his former life is over, there is still happiness to be found in the world. While Lou frantically tries to save Will, Will fights to save Lou from her own mediocrity. It’s a romance with a moral twist when trying to save others you in end up saving yourself.
I really loved this book. It made me laugh out loud, and it made me angry. I felt joy and helplessness with each new turn of the page. At times, I had to close the crisp pages of the Me before You and sit and reflect on what I just read and my own feelings. Me before You has made me want to expand my own horizons and seek experiences that I couldn’t imagine myself doing. If Will Traynor taught me anything, its that life as you know it can change in a singular moment, you can’t squander any time because of fear of failure or the notion that I might not like something that I have never tried before. If something were to happen to me, I don’t want to be left on the other side thinking, “What if”.
I could relate to Louisa Clark. She is stuck in her small hometown and is comfortable in her small routine. She’s afraid to expand her horizons for the fear a failure, or for the fear that she won’t like something new. Once she meets Will, and he forces her to try new things, things she swore she wouldn’t like, and would never do because she believed they weren’t who she was, that’s when she blossomed. In the beginning Lou suffered with her own lack of self-confidence. She was trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of holding herself back. With each new experience though, from something as small as reading new books, watching foreign movies, or going to a symphony, she changed. The small four walls she trapped herself in began to break down. The changes were minute while reading, but with each new push Will provided, Louisa changed. She became unhindered by her own fear.
I believe Me before You would appeal to all audiences, but especially readers in their 20’s and 30’s. Me before You would speak to audiences who have a romantic relationship, children, or other loved ones. Fair warning to those who are easily prone to crying during emotional packed moments, you will cry.
Me Before You, JoJo Meyers
Publication Date: January 5 2012