Book Review: Me Before You

I’d seen this title in a number of must-read lists, one being something like ‘Romantic novels for people who hate romance’. The story, however, of a girl who cares for a quadriplegic man and falls in love with him didn’t really sound non-cheesy to me. Worse, it sounded formulaic.

Little did I know.

I finally picked it up after watching the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation (below), which, funnily, looks quite cheesy. But who could sell cheesy better than two gorgeous actors like Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. So, definitely looking forward to that release (June 3rd!)

I hope other skeptics out there would take my advice and just give the book a go. It’s a beautiful story of living life to the fullest, finding out who you are, being brave to get out of your comfort zone, making your own choices.

Me Before You is about love, too, but like the very best of them, it’s about ALL the love around us – between parents and children, between friends, between soulmates; and it is about loving life.

Mind you, I had not laughed so abruptly and loudly at jokes in a book since The Martian. Jojo Moyes’s writing is witty and easy to get sucked into. The characters pop out of the page at the very moment they are introduced, so much so that you start missing them at the end of the day. I actually hurried back from work to read – it’s been a while since I did that.

None of them is more so than Will Traynor, whom the author imbues with personality and thematic significance. The entire premise of the book rests on his carefully built charisma.

So…

Read if:

  • you want to really connect with a book – like just-one-more-chapter-and-suddenly-it’s-5-am connect
  • if you feel lost about where you are in life
  • if you need a good laugh and some ugly-cry
  • if you watched the trailer for the movie adaptation and thought Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin should just get together and make cute babies and adopt some dragons and establish a dynasty to rule over Westeros and Panem

Do not read if:

  • you are put off by plots you can predict – a lot of what happens in Me Before You is, basically, human, and for me that makes it a beautiful story. But human can also mean predictable, so if you prefer to be thrown off by unexpected events or proven wrong when expecting some development – not for you.
  • you value verisimilitude  – there is obviously tons of research gone into this book. It was enough to convince me of the facts of Will’s state. Some might find mistakes in the facts or improbable assumptions or what not. I saw a long discussion under the trailer for the movie, about how the actor looked too buff for someone who has spent 2 years in a wheelchair. Might be true, or might be the guy who started it all did not get there were shots where they show Will before his accident. In either case, if you get annoyed by unlikelihood of something happening – maybe not for you
  • really hate romantic books – yes, this one is not cheesy, but if you hate the entire ‘boy meets girl’ thing, this is definitely not your cup of tea.

Not sure what to tell you if:

  • you are a guy – I am seriously at a loss here. I’d like to think guys would love this as well, because it’s such an important and human story, but I never know where to draw the line. I guess it all depends on what you like and all that, but all I know is my boyfriend likes to say Alien vs. Predator is a romantic movie (in all fairness he did get what Scent of a Woman was about, just wasn’t all that impressed by it).

Let’s have a look at that gorgeous trailer again below.

And for all of you who have read the book already – please, let me know in the comments what you loved and what you hated and just anything about Will and Lou, because I am still in withdrawal 🙂

If Me Before You is indeed not your cup of tea stay tuned for my review of Dan Simmon’s Hyperion!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Me Before You

  1. I recently read Me Before You and LOVED it too! You’re write, it’s definitely predictable, but I think the true magic is definitely how human it is, how much hope there is throughout the novel. Right up to the very end, I was hoping that the worst would not pass! Love your review, especially with how you’ve written “tips” for who should read it! 🙂

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