Review: Me Before You

I’ve always liked to think that I am one of those people that isn’t affected by advertising…Or books like this, unless I’m looking for ‘holiday reading’. But if you go and stick Finnick Odair’s (or Sam Claflin’s) face on the front cover of a book looking all fine and dandy, apparently I’ll buy it. Well played Penguin, well played.

I knew little about the book when I placed it on the counter of a WHSmith’s and paid £7.99. All I knew was: it’s now a major movie from Warner Bros, a colleague was keen to see it, and Finnick is handsome. For once I didn’t read the blurb – I wanted the story to be a complete surprise. Apparently I didn’t really look at the cover either, as it wasn’t until a few chapters in that I realised what it was about! The fact he’s in a wheelchair should have given me a little nudge in the right direction.

This is a ‘feel good’ (*spoiler alert* until the heart-wrenching ending) story of determination, friendship, and a fight for life and love. A weepy one, essentially. Lou Clark has lost her job, has a pretty rubbish boyfriend, and finds herself working for Will Traynor – a quadriplegic.

Moyes delves into a whole host of sensitive subjects: redundancy, disability and assisted suicide. But she does so in a very mature, unbiased and relateable way. Writing from the point of view of every character, except Lou’s parents and boyfriend, the reader has a full overview of how everyone feels and thinks of each situation. It is refreshing to read a book that doesn’t solely focus on one  character. It seems important to relay different ideas and opinions from different perspectives, and I praise Moyes for doing it so well.

I actually found that this novel wasn’t just a soppy, heart-felt, romance, but one that left me thinking about the more important things that she highlights; should assisted suicide be illegal? How far have we come in medical terms to ‘curing’ paraplegia? And, how would I cope if my partner suddenly got hit by a car or motorbike or anything else that left him paralyzed from the neck down: Would I leave him, like Will’s ex-girlfriend? Or would I fight for him like Lou?

This book, though I am sure will be slated somewhere for it’s content; that it is a poor portrayal of subject matter, should be given high praise, if for nothing more than making ordinary people think about matters they wouldn’t necessarily think of in the everyday.

I’m not going to rush to read the sequel, this was enough of a story and an ending to finish it there for me. And I’m certainly waiting for the film to come to DVD, just so that I can quietly, drool and lust over Claflin, and cry like a baby in private.