Me Before You
Series: Me Before You #1
Published by: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Date of Publication: December 31st 2012 (first published January 5th 2012)
Genres: Contemporary-lit, Romance
Rating: 5 Stars (previously 4.5 stars because REASONS lol)
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.
My Good Reads Mini-Review AKA 1st Thoughts:
4.5 I’m a bit conflicted with Me Before You, I gave it 4.5 stars because I am still very attached to the characters. Lou is now one of my fave female protagonists, she embraced her individuality like none other. I loved the witty banter between Lou & Will. Then there was the elephant in the room, often times I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’m still unsure where I stand on the topic of Euthanasia or assisted suicide. Overall I didn’t take this as a romance, it felt more like a story of friendship, hope, and human rights.
After Thoughts (slept on this for a couple of nights):
I’ve come to the realization that if a book can linger in my head days after I’ve finished it, leaving me questioning my own beliefs…said book was pretty darn GOOD! This was a contemporary romance that tackled the very real topic of Euthanasia & or assisted suicide very well. Each of the characters that loved Will Traynor (Our male protagonist) had their own ideals/beliefs on quality of life however, I appreciate the respect he was given by those closest to him. Will Traynor was introduced as a young & attractive guy on the fast track to success. The type of guy to close deals, wing big, and always get his way in the board room and in the bedroom. The guy who has a type…. tall, blonde, fun, & easy. His whole life was turned upside down by a motorcyclist, leaving him as a quadriplegic in need of around the clock care. After receiving physical therapy to alleviate the pain associated with muscle atrophy & a non-reversible diagnosis, Will decided to end his life through Dignitas
Google Search–> I had no idea this organization actually exists in Switzerland! On their web page in their About page it reads: “DIGNITAS—To Live with dignity–to die with dignity” this is where I put the book down, went to bed, and seriously tried to place myself in that situation. I tried seeing it from the perspective of a mother as well as the disabled and couldn’t resolve where I stood. I decided to remain undecided & continued reading…
Will’s mother asks that he re-consider and he makes a deal with his parents to give them 6 months. As a mom I can see how this must have been a desperate time to try & find anything that would change my sons mind. Enter Louisa Cark AKA Lou AKA Busy Bee, hired to be a companion for Will who had pretty much become a recluse.
I LOVED Lou from the start! Her odd or rather quirky fashion sense, selflessness, and subtle wit has made her a new favorite of mine. When she created her username Busy Bee to talk to an online community of people with the same or similar disability, she stole my heart! Lou was determined to reignite Will’s desire to live. In the process she developed some complex feelings for him made even more messier by the fact that she was already in a relationship. I can’t even remember his name that’s how much I disliked him so for all intents & purposes, let’s call him “Whatshisface” I lost track of how many times Whatshisface talked about himself, his body, and his track time. Lou’s interactions with Whatshisface solely provided me with comic relief & tons of eye rolls. Lou’s self worth however, was very low. A result of what is insinuated to have been her being raped by a couple of guys she knew, while intoxicated. This also played into Lou’s sense of fashion. She figured that if she dressed weird or un-provocative, she wouldn’t warrant the attention of men.
Will- Although he found himself developing feelings for Lou, it never went past that. Lou goes about finding places for Will to vacation in & activities for quadriplegics on a 6mth deadline. The fact that Will managed to find enjoyment in watching Lou experience so many firsts and pushed her to LIVE was heartwarming. There was clearly chemistry between the two but there was also friendship. It was difficult at times seeing Lou go so hard (race track scene) to show Will that he could still enjoy some of the things he used to before his accident. Even harder were the final pages…time was up…Will had not changed his mind & instead asked for Lou to be by his side during his final moments. When Lou finally realized that ultimately this was Will’s decision & Will’s life, I felt like a weight was lifted off MY shoulders (yea I was that stressed lol).
MY dad, before he passed away, told me that death was hardest on the loved ones & NOT the person passing. I always wondered if this were true…for me, it was. The reason I loved this book & now it’s finale (I had to sleep on it) is that Will prepared Lou (and his mother) for his passing. He made the tough decision to end his life & by doing so, reclaims his life. He showed compassion & understanding for those affected by his decision til the very end. In the epilogue, we get the sense that some time has passed, Lou is in France in Will’s favorite cafe reading his letter while eating croissants & drinking coffee as per Will’s expert recommendation…I call this closure.
After much thought, I may not be so undecided anymore on the topic of Euthanasia & assisted suicide. This book led me to do some research of my own & for that alone I have changed my star rating.