I read the last bit of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes at home with a box of tissues by my side. I had been reading the book on the train all week, but knew that the only way I could enjoy a proper cry at the end would be to finish the story at home where I wouldn’t have to worry about making a spectacle of myself in front of my fellow passengers.
Me Before You is a romance, the story of Lou and Will. Lou was from a poor family and took on the job of caring for Will in preference to working in a chicken factory. Will was a paraplegic who, before his injury, had been a ruthless and successful businessman who rode a motorbike, traveled all over the world and took part in extreme sports.
Two years after his accident Will was in constant physical pain, unable to move any part of his body below his chest and worst of all, in emotional misery.
Lou was employed by Will’s mother, who stressed to her that the job was only for six months although she did not tell Lou that Will was suicidal.
Lou and Will were complete opposites. Will was moody, bossy and sarcastic, but Lou treated him with honesty and humour, calling out his bad behaviour with empathy. When Lou learned that Will intended to die at the end of the six months he promised his parents, she set about trying to make him see that his new life could be worth living.
As a couple, Lou and Will would never have met in ordinary circumstances but as they got to know each other they learned from each other and were inspired by each other. Lou, who already had a boyfriend, found herself falling in love with Will.
This is a book with a terrible moral dilemma and I have to admit, I struggled enormously with the idea of Will not wanting to live. I would have liked to see some of Lou’s focus to have been on what Will could do mentally, rather than only providing him with physical experiences in her quest to change his mind about the value of his life.
I’ve previously read Paris for One and Other Stories by this author, which I found to be enjoyable but completely forgettable. I’ll probably think about the plot of Me Before You for a little longer as it was so much more substantial than the short stories. I’ve got plans to watch the movie too, with Miss S, chocolates and that hard-working box of tissues.