I loved several of Jojo Moyes’ other novels, but for some reason I resisted reading Me Before You. I finally succumbed to the novel’s popularity and gave in. I thought this was a romantic story that stared when Louisa (Lou) took a job as a caregiver to a quadriplegic. The medical aspect alerted me to the fact this would be somewhat more of a serious romance, but did not prepare me for what I found, which was a slightly disturbing, dramatic and somber work.
When Lou learned that her patient, Will, wanted to end his life, she began a campaign to brighten his days and change his mind. My problem was there was no motivation given for why Lou suddenly cared so much about him, which seemed odd given that she candidly stated, repeatedly, that she took the job purely because she needed the money and not because she wanted to actually be a nurse. Since their relationship at that point was still platonic, there was no other factor propelling her actions, so there was no reason she would care about him. As a result I didn’t believe in the story.
I mean even in some of the most ridiculous plots I can go along with it as long as the characters are committed and believable. I get that the Moyes puts Lou in a position where she attempted to help Will appreciate love but the opposite happened as Will impacted Lou’s life. I liked that Lou examined her life and altered her goals to start focusing on a career and examining why she was with her boyfriend. Lou’s family was supposed to be one of the negative aspects of Lou’s life and the author put that together a little too well. Lou was constantly torn down by her parents and sister even though they shamelessly relied on her income for support. I couldn’t get through those interactions quick enough; it was uncomfortable to read the mean things they said to Lou. But, Lou never stood up for herself to them, so in the big picture, I didn’t feel like Lou really blossomed enough.
The Epilogue was the best part of the novel and made this worth reading. But when I finished, I honestly wondered why this is a bestseller. Did people actually like this? Why? I would recommend several other books by this author before this one, especially, The Girl You Left Behind and The Last Letter From Your Lover.