I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—I am a hopeless romantic. I will never love a book the way I love “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and I find the story of “Jane Eyre” to be beautifully eloquent.
A great modern day love story, though, is hard to find. Sure there are a plethora of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult books coming out on the regular, but stories like that are a dime a dozen. It’s a rarity to find a romance nowadays that actually makes you feel something long after you’ve closed the book. I was moved by “Water for Elephants” in 2006, but that was nine years ago. Romance novels just aren’t written like they used to be.
However, the latest book I read, “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, tested that theory.
The story starts out by introducing us to Louisa Clark, a young waitress who abruptly loses her job. Looking for any way to make some consistent money for her family, she finds a short term assignment as the caretaker of a young quadriplegic—Will Traynor. Will used to be a daredevil with a perfect career, perfect girlfriend and perfect life. However, when he is injured in a motorcycle accident he loses everything—including the use of his arms and legs.
In the beginning, these two don’t really get along, but the more they get to know each other, the more they understand each other. Pretty soon they become friends, but Louisa finds out an appalling secret about Will that changes everything. She decides to use that negative news to turn Will’s entire life around. What she doesn’t expect is that her life will be changed forever too.
There are many things about this book that I liked. I like the tone of the book, I like the way it is written and the word choice of the author. I like the way the characters are a complex mix of likeable and beautifully flawed.
The realism of the story is what really got to me, though. Sometimes you don’t like someone when you first meet them, but once you peel back the layers, you think they’re a diamond in the rough. Sometimes life really does seem too hard to bear. Sometimes you can’t overcome your circumstances. Sometimes love doesn’t actually conquer all.
This book takes you on an emotional journey. If you read this book, you will feel a full range of emotions. You will question your ideas on some controversial issues. You will (probably) shed a tear or two.
There were moments I was happy, there were moments I was sad, and there were moments I didn’t even know how to feel. At one time, I actually was so happy I put the book away and considered not finishing it. I was just so nervous something would go wrong and the book would be ruined for me.
I did break down and finish it, though, and the book was not ruined. I would be lying if I didn’t say that the cried throughout the last few chapters. Even when I finished “Me Before You” I sat in the same spot for about 20 minutes weeping uncontrollably. When the tears subsided, I still couldn’t shake what I had just read. Even a week later I am still thinking about it. If that isn’t a good book, I don’t know what is.
I recently found out that a film adaptation of “Me Before You” will be hitting theaters later this year. Sam Clafin, who I am a fan of, will be staring in it. You can rest assured I will be one of the first people in line to buy a ticket. I am also looking forward to reading Jojo Moyes other books.
My only regret in reading this book is that I made the mistake of borrowing it from the library instead of buying my own copy. I’m going to have to change that.