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.
"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.