Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Incredibly gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, beautifully written book. It took me a while to pick up myself after having my heart crushed and ripped into two at the end. What a haunting, emotional read. I wasn’t expecting this.

The emotional effect this book had on me went beyond my initial expectation; this book gave me a lot of emotions – anger, shame, empathy, happiness, and grief. The last several chapters in particular, were like an emotional roller coaster, completely sweeping me up in the emotions and throwing me for a loop. Simply haunting and devastating in a good way – as a book, at least.

The writing is solid, strong, and beautiful. Her prowess and skills were especially well-displayed in descriptive writing where she describes how the snow quietly blankets the ground, for instance. It was simply breathtaking and captivating.
Her prowess doesn’t stop at descriptive writing; her flair in writing is definitely showcased and reflected in the characters’ emotional conflicts and struggles, too. I personally found she is a versatile writer – she can change and adjust the tones and ambiance of her writing depending on the characters’ emotions. One minute she ends the chapter with a gripping, emotional evocative paragraph and then she opens the next chapter with an uplifting, humorous dialogue that makes you chuckle despite yourself. I was really impressed by her writing. Another point that I wasn’t expecting from this book.

The undercurrent theme is undeniably heavy and controversial. The weight and the intensity of the topic momentarily threw me off and may have been what surprised me the most.
While I was reading this, it made me think and recognize a lot of things that I had let slip my mind.
I used to think ’empathy’ is a good thing and is a very important element in our lives. However, as I read into this, I began to wonder if that’s always the case. It slowly dawned on me that nothing could be worse and more disgraceful to the physically challenged than excessive or ostentatious ‘pity’ displayed by those free from physical impairment.  At this point, I began to reflect on my own behavior and feel ashamed of myself; I inwardly pledged to be ‘fair’ and be on an equal footing with the disabled while offering my full support.

But what struck me the most, among other things, were the elements of ‘dignity and respect.’
To what extent should we respect others’ will and decision, especially when the decision that one has reached is heartbreaking, dire, and bleak which you’d want to defy by doing everything in your power. 
But then, what do we do about their dignity? Should we defy their decision against their will just because we want them to live, knowing all too well how tormented and agonized they have been?

This book is no doubt thought-provoking. It really made me THINK and ponder on such issues.
For that reason alone, I’m really glad that I read this book.

However, I did have some issues with this book particularly at the beginning of the book.
Firstly, the financial situation of Lou’s family. I did understand it would be difficult for her mother to go out to work while taking care of her father, but the situation where the entire family is dependent on Lou’s income felt a bit of a stretch and contrived.
Secondly, the mocking tone that her family employs when addressing the disables. I personally found it disrespectful and put me off a little bit. That said, however, as I went deeper into the story and all the emotional element creeps in, such issues became inconsequential. I came to adore Lou’s family despite all the bickering over petty grievances.
Thirdly, the romance. I initially found the romance between Lou and Will unnecessary. This story is already pregnant with meaning and emotionally provoking without having the romance element thrown in. I didn’t want this book to end up being another typical, tear-jerker love story where the romance completely overshadows everything that has been nicely built up.
That said, once again, it ended up needless fear. It develops quite nicely and the pacing is perfect. Not too slow, not too fast. Through the witty, a bit sarcastic banter, Lou and Will gradually forge a strong friendship that would later evolve into love. They have become indispensable to each other’s life. If anything, it was this romance element that made the ending incredibly haunting, heart-wrenching and beautiful, highlighting the best six months that they lived together.

The epilogue broke my heart to bits. I sobbed, sobbed and sobbed. I literally cried my eyes out.
Deep down, I think I saw this coming.  Nevertheless, there was definitely another part of me screaming and desperately wishing for the alternate consequence where everything will be happy and hopeful.
The emotional connection by vicariously living the last six months with the two main characters was much more raw and stronger than I had expected.
I swear that I felt for Lou; the hole in the heart, the memories that were shared – they literally ripped my heart in two.

It is, needless to say, poignant, heartbreaking. Simply sad.
But I don’t think this book is all about grief, nor do I think the morbid, negative point of views and thoughts involving the disabled was what the author wanted to convey in this book. I definitely felt resilience in there.

This is a haunting yet breathtakingly beautiful story of life and respect for human life.
An unforgettable love story that sprang and blossomed between two souls.

It left me in a complete sobbing mess, but I am so glad that I finally read this.
Hands down 5 stars from me – I absolutely love this book.