February 11, 2013

Tell Me Something Good

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Release Date: December 2012
Publisher: Penguin | Viking
Pages: 384 pages
Source: NetGalley; e-ARC
Amazon Goodreads

Summary (from NetGalley)
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Thoughts on Me Before You
Me Before You caught my eye after Rachel from Hello, Chelly chose it as her blogger recommendation for Rather Be Reading's January The Big Kids' Table post. I commented on the post that I was interested in reading it but wanted more opinions before I took the plunge. Then, as luck would have it, I spotted it on NetGalley.

I started reading it almost immediately after I got the exciting email that I'd been approved and didn't look up from the book until I was done. Yes, I read the whole thing in one sitting. And then I ordered a hard copy of the book for my shelves.

Louisa (Lou) Clark loses the job she's had for years as a waitress at The Buttered Bun tea shop. Worse than losing her job is how much her family needs her income. She's in her twenties and still living at home with her parents, an ailing grandfather, her sister and her nephew. And they all need her to get back to work immediately.

In desperation, she accepts a temporary position as a caretaker to a quadriplegic, Will Traynor. Will already has a nurse to care for his medical and physical needs - Lou has been hired to keep him company. Her sole purpose is to spend all day every day trying to make sure he's doing okay emotionally. As she comes to find out, that's a huge job to take on.

Will hasn't always been confined to a wheelchair. As a prosperous businessman, he was the one in charge. No matter what he did - from a business deal to extreme sports - Will was always in control. And now he doesn't know how to deal with being confined to a wheelchair and unable to do anything for himself after a devastating accident.

His frustration and feeling of helplessness have made him bossy, moody and incredibly rude. Until Lou, no one has dared to challenge him or demand to be treated better. In being real with him, Lou is able to earn his trust and become his friend. Everything is fine until she overhears a secret about Will's plans for his future, which sets a plan in motion to show Will all the joy that can be found in life, despite his limitations.

One of my favorite things about this book was how well the story flowed, as you can probably tell from the fact that I read it in one sitting. Will and Lou's friendship, conversations and adventures are compulsively readable. I eagerly wanted to find out more, see more and read more. I would have thoroughly enjoyed the book even if that was all it was about - the relationship between this man and woman who change each other for the better. They have a camaraderie that just leaps off the page and makes you care about them as if they were real.

I adored the banter between Will and Lou. I loved seeing Will come to life through conversations with Lou, and it was wonderful to see how Lou's horizons were expanded because of meeting him. The tone of their conversations and the wittiness throughout really sold me on the book because it felt authentic and believable. Me Before You was funny, thought-provoking and sad. I thought it was very well-written, and it managed to be heartbreaking without being trite.

But there's another huge component to this novel, and it's one that sparks both moral and ethical debates. You may already know from intuition or other reviews, but I won't spell it out here. I will say that regardless of which side you fall on in the debate, this is a book that makes you think. It makes you question. It's controversial without feeling political or heavy-handed. What would I do if...

Another thing I loved was that it opened my eyes more to the life of someone in a wheelchair. Reading about the challenges in Will's day-to-day life, and then the added challenge of actually trying to leave the house, made me so much more aware of something I hadn't necessarily thought about before. Even more heartbreaking was reading about he is treated by others. It's definitely a thought-provoking book on many levels.

No matter what you think about the controversial topic addressed in Me Before You, I am convinced you'll find the book engrossing and memorable! There's just so much to love about it. We're barely in to 2013, and yet I feel confident in saying that this is absolutely a book that will top the list of favorite reads at the end of the year.

So Quotable
"You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."

*I received a copy of this book from Penguin Group Viking in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for my review.

19 comments:

  1. Yayyy! I'm so glad you found this book as memorable as I did. I read the book in one sitting too. It's hard to stop once you start it.. you just get so absorbed in Will and Lou's story. I really loved all their moments together :)

    And I added your recommendation for this month's Big Kids' Table post to my TBR list. Will read soon!

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    1. So glad you recommend me this on Rathe Be Reading because I honestly don't know if I would have picked it up otherwise! I love adult fiction, but I'm not sure I would have grabbed this one. But yes, once you start this you definitely can't stop! And yay for my pick! Hope you like it :)

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  2. I honestly can't even put into words how much I want to read this book right now. I know that Cassie absolutely loved it and your review made me even more excited for it. It sounds like one of those books that makes you think and just fits you like only so many books do. I can't wait to read this!!

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    1. Yay! I'm so excited you'll be reading this book. I really loved it, and it's definitely something you'll be thinking about long after you put it down. Hope you love it too!

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  3. I love your review. I've pondered this one. I think you've convinced me to check it out.

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    1. Yay! Glad my review has convinced you to pick it up :)

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  4. I have this on hold right now at the library! I think I'm number ten? Or something like that. Anyway! Wow, your point about the ethical/moral issue makes me super curious. I love that it's heartbreaking and thought provoking though. I'm pretty sure I would want to discuss with you once I'm done reading. :)

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    1. Yay for having it on hold! Can't wait til it comes in for you :) And yes, we will definitely have to discuss once you're done reading! SO GOOD!

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  5. This is the first I've heard of this book, but it sounds really interesting, and possibly something I'll need to nominate for book club in the next month or two. And maybe I'm in the minority here, but I really love the cover art. Something about the simplicity of typography against that bright red background totally works for me.

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    1. Yes, this would be a great book club book! It's something I like a lot of people will enjoy but has some good elements/issues that will make for great discussion! AND I LOVE THIS BOOK COVER. It stands out so much - and the typography on the red is just gorgeous!

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  6. Good gracious, Hannah! I made it part of the way through this review and opened another internet window and placed this book on hold for me at the library right away. I have no idea where I am on the list, but it will be a pleasant surprise for me when it becomes my turn.

    This review is OUTSTANDING. I had seen the cover around, but this is a case of my eye not being drawn to the book because of the look. I didn't even know the synopsis.

    I'm really excited about this one! Thank you so much for the (indirect) recommendation!

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    1. AHHH I feel so powerful since you opened another window to put this on hold :) YAYYYYY! I am so glad you loved my review and that it's made you want to pick up the book. We will definitely need to discuss it once you're done! I'm so excited for you to read - especially because of how deeply you FEEL things when you read. I think you'll be caught up in this one for sure.

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  7. Thank you for this review, I had no idea what this book was about, just that I keep hearing "heartbreaking" and "amazing" in the same sentence. Those two words are hard for me to sit together. Or at least to get excited about reading a book with them in it (unless 'hopeful' is also there). But now that I know more about the characters and subject from your excellent review, I have a better sense of what is to come and I really WANT to read this book. Have you seen Million Dollar Baby? From your review, this book makes me think about that movie. It is about a boxer who ends up in a similar physical situation and she makes some choices at the end of the movie...that I'm guessing are similar to Will's thoughts. It is a very powerful, thought provoking story.

    I will definitely add this one to my list and break out the tissues!

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    1. Haha yeah I think this is a book that can be hard to review, which can end up meaning you write a review that doesn't say a whole lot about it. And I'm so glad that I was able to make you more interested in reading this book! You've hit the nail on the head - I have seen Million Dollar Baby and the issue is the same choice she wants to make in the movie. I agree that it's a really thought provoking movie - and I think the book will stay with you even more!

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  8. I'm really looking forward to reading this one, and soon! I got approved for it on NG as well, and the reviews I've seen from you and Rachel are very positive. It sounds like just the book to break up the YA monotony for me.

    I love that it made you think (about whatever that issue is, anyway), and I look forward to meeting Lou and Will!

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    1. It's the perfect book to break up the YA monotony! Such a great read! I actually read it because of Rachel's recommendation, and she definitely didn't steer me wrong.

      Can't wait for you to read this!

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  9. Somehow I missed that you read this, Hannah! Time and time again it makes my favorites. Month after month I still think about it. And I love JoJo Moyes, and can't WAIT for more from her! So glad you enjoyed this one, I truly adore it, and its characters soooo much!

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    1. I still think of it, too - even though I read it at the very beginning of the year. It's just that memorable! I just finished her new book, The Girl You Left Behind, and loved it. So looking forward to more from her!

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