If you’ve heard that this book will shatter your heart, you are incredibly correct. But it is so worth it.
Me Before You follows Louisa Clark as she takes a job as a caregiver to Will Traynor, a former adventurer turned quadriplegic in a tragic car accident. Louisa finds out that Will is considering assisted suicide and takes it upon herself to show him that there is a life worth living, even if it’s not the life you imagined for yourself.
And that, short and simple, is the entire gist of the story.
It sounds really simple, but it actually really does take you on an emotional roller coaster. You feel Louisa’s frustration at Will not even wanting her there in the beginning, but you also feel his own frustration for feeling helpless and dependent on someone else.
You feel sad for Will when Louisa describes the pictures in his room from the amazing adventures he’s had or the stories Will tells about the things he’s done. When Louisa’s first outing to show Will he can still do things besides feeling sorry for himself goes to hell, I personally felt close to tears for her. The poor girl tried so hard to no avail.
You root for her to succeed, you root for Will to come around, you root for the Louisa to break up with her boyfriend so her and Will can fall in love and be together.
Their relationship was my favorite. Louisa has absolutely no experience in caregiving, Will really doesn’t want the help, and both of their bold personalities make for some fun back and forth and sarcastic dialogues. Plus, it’s set in London, so they have slang that made me smile like bloke and arse and so on.
There were also occasional chapters that would switch points of view to the mom, to the male nurse that helps, or the dad. And it would only be one single, short chapter, but those few pages really gave something extra to what’s going on in everyone’s minds.
And not only is it a beautiful love story, it actually has an incredibly inspiring message about living your life to the fullest. People say that all the time; “live your life to the fullest,” “do things now before you can’t,” “enjoy what time you have and make the most of the situation.” And they all sound like cliches and you’re like yeah, I will eventually. But this book makes you want to just quit your job and travel the world and have all these amazing experiences because you really truly never know what will happen or when you won’t be able to anymore.
Should you read it?
Absolutely. Before the movie, which is out today actually. Or see the movie then read the book. (It has an all-star cast, that’s for sure.) But definitely read it. 5/5 stars on goodreads.
Keep your tissues close, though. You will need them.