Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is the story of 35-year-old Will, who, having suffered a severe motorcycle accident several months previously, requires 24-hour care, and Lou, a 26-year-old woman who has never left the safe haven of her small town. When Lou gets made redundant at her job in a cake shop, she tries and fails at several career routes before stumbling across the position of Will’s carer.
Lou initially hates her new job; Will is rude and snide towards her, and she feels uncomfortable in his presence. However, she accidentally overhears a discussion between Will’s mother and sister that changes her perception of everything. Suddenly, she is on a mission to cheer Will up and provide him with life-changing experiences.
The characters in this novel are incredibly well-developed: they are flawed, emotional, and feel very real. Will and Lou share some brilliant interactions, but alongside them, the supporting characters are astoundingly well-written and pivotal to the plot, including Lou’s family and her boyfriend, Patrick. The relationships between the characters are deep and profound. This is no fluffy rom-com; it is a contemporary with heart and meaning.
This book is a thoroughly thought-provoking read. The essence of the novel isn’t a love story — it is much more than that (although the actual detail cannot be revealed as it would ruin the whole plot). It is a tale of friendship and bravery and the power of the individual mind. The ending is superb and heart-wrenching, and I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a solitary tear.
The movie version of Me Before You, starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin as Lou and Will, and Matthew Lewis as fitness-obsessed boyfriend Patrick, hits theaters June 3.