Still Sobbing From This Brilliant Book!
Do you like books that make you cry? I definitely do, and my house is now depleted of tissues thanks to Jojo Moyes' gripping Me Before You
. *shakes fist at author* Talk about a book that makes you FEEL. I totally dived into the characters' lives, and I continue to feel gutted a day after finishing.
Twenty-six-year-old Lou (Louisa) comes from a working-class family in small-town England. Other than an ancient castle attracting tourists, the town doesn't have much going for it. Lou loves her job waitressing at a cafe, until the owner informs her he's shutting it down. Without skills or much of an education, Lou has trouble finding a job. Fortunately, a disabled man living nearby needs a caretaker.
When Lou meets the quadriplegic thirty-five year old Will Traynor, she cringes from his harsh criticism and disdainful attitude. He's a proper arse, and she'd love to quit but her family desperately needs her income. Will was a wealthy venture capitalist who sustained a horrific accident that severed his spinal cord. He pines for the adventurous, elegant life he once led. To boot, he's in chronic physical pain.
Turns out Lou has a tragic past of her own, and if two souls ever needed each other, these two do. But they get off to such a rocky start that it doesn't seem possible for love to bloom in this dark place. Another barrier is Lou's long-time boyfriend Patrick, who had "the kind of face that became instantly invisible in crowds". Patrick is a compulsive exerciser, training for triathlons and neglecting Lou for the most part.
Other than the compelling characterization, I loved the realism of this story. It's gut-wrenching but never sappy or predictable. And the humor is a welcome relief from the intense sadness. For example, Will bonding with Lou's father by laughing over all of her faults brought a smile to my face. (Her father likes to refer to Lou as "lardarse".)
One of my favorite scenes is when Will takes Lou to her first classical music concert:The conductor stepped up, tapped twice on the rostrum, and great hush descended. I felt the stillness, the auditorium alive, expectant. Then he brought down his baton and suddenly everything was pure sound. I felt the music like a physical thing; it didn't just sit in my ears, it flowed through me, around me, made my senses vibrate. It made my skin prickle and my palms dampen. Will hadn't described any of it like this. I had thought I might be bored. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.
When Lou discovers a family secret, she creates an "anti bucket" list that's full of love and hope. Will she succeed in her mission?
Lou narrates from her point-of-view but a few chapters enter the heads of other characters, which I think adds to the story.
I still haven't worked out the title in relation to the story. Does anyone have insight?
[b:Me Before You|12649718|Me Before You|Jojo Moyes|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359617637s/12649718.jpg|17763198] and [b:Hopeless|15717943|Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)|Colleen Hoover|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353489892s/15717943.jpg|21389085] have been my favorite reads of 2013. If you like emotional reads, get this book now!