Summary and book reviews of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You

A Novel

by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Dec 2012, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Book Summary

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?

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 never 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?

Prologue
2007

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed. She is wearing one of his T-shirts, and her long hair is tousled in a way that prompts reflexive thoughts of the previous night. He stands there, enjoying the brief flashback, rubbing the water from his hair with a towel.

She looks up from a brochure and pouts. She is probably slightly too old to pout, but they've been going out a short enough time for it still to be cute.

"Do we really have to do something that involves trekking up mountains, or hanging over ravines? It's our first proper holiday together, and there is literally not one single trip in these that doesn't involve either throwing yourself off something or"—she pretends to shudder—"wearing fleece."

She throws them down on the bed, stretches her caramel-colored arms above her head. Her voice is husky, testament to their ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
An Introduction to Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

"The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life—or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else's life that you might as wellhave your face pressed against their window—is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are" (p. 58).

Louisa Clark never wanted to leave her job at the Buttered Bun. After six years, she felt secure in the routine of making tea and chatting with the café's regulars. But when her boss closes the business, the unskilled twenty-six-year-old must take a new job as a paid companion to a wealthy ex–Master of the Universe, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Prickly and embittered, Will Traynor nonetheless...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Me Before You is a story about personal redemption and self-worth, about finding courage, about knowing what to hold onto and what to let go. It's also a meditation on one of the most controversial and divisive issues of our times.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Full Review Members Only (522 words).

Media Reviews

New York Times Book Review

When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it. . . . Moyes’s story provokes tears that are redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous. Some situations, she forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over. . . . with Lou and Will she has created an affair to remember.

O, The Oprah Magazine

An unlikely love story . . . To be devoured like candy, between tears.

USA Today

After finishing Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, you grasp why the novel, a word-of-mouth sensation from Britain, has been sold to 28 countries. . . . by turns funny and moving but never predictable.

People Magazine

Funny, surprising and heartbreaking, populated with characters who are affecting and amusing . . . This is a thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining novel that captures the complexity of love.

Kirkus Reviews

Despite some obviousness in the storyline, this is uplift fiction at its best, with fully drawn characters making difficult choices.

Booklist

Moyes’ latest is made heartwarming, thanks to the vibrancy of its main characters, both of whom will keep readers on their toes with their chemistry and witty repartee. . . .humorous and romantic through and through.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] lovely novel, both nontraditional and enthralling.

The Independent (UK)

If you think this tale sounds obvious – she brightens his life, he acts as her Pygmalion – think again: Jojo Moyes draws on the skills she honed as a journalist to create a clear, candid picture of the practicalities of Will's situation – the health issues, the unrelenting pain – while her novelist's mind casts illuminating light on her characters' reactions to the highly emotive and topical subject of assisted dying.

Reader Reviews

Stephanie D.

Me Before You
I never write book reviews but felt I had to express how I just loved this book! I have a hard time sticking to a book and found that I couldn't put this one down. I enjoyed all of the characters and find myself thinking about them throughout the ...   Read More

Dorothy L

A Wonderful Book
I love this book. I was reluctant to read it at first because of the subject matter. It was one of my book club's selections and I think it is a wonderful book--gripping story and well written. It starts slowly and builds dramatically. When you ...   Read More

Louise J

Couldn't Put It Down!
I didn’t expect the ending of this book at all, it was quite a shock to me to be quite honest and I cried for about ten minutes. The author has done a fantastic job at penning this novel and you won’t be able to put it down once you’ve started and I...   Read More

Diane S.

Me before you
Finishing this book on the 40th anniversary of the passing of Roe vs. Wade almost seems ironic. The heart of this novel also concerns a pressing moral issue, one I will not comment on nor state which side of the debate I would be on. Louisa and Will ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Dignitas

At the center of Me Before You is an intensely emotional and ethical debate about assisted suicide; and in particular, of the assisted-death organization, Dignitas, which plays a primary role in the story. Dignitas, founded near Zurich, Switzerland in 1998, has as its motto "to live with dignity – to die with dignity." The organization's assisted suicide programs are very carefully regulated and require that prospective patients undergo a series of psychological and medical assessments. Patients must also certify that they are making the decision to die of their own free will; Swiss law mandates that assisted suicide be done without coercion or self-interest on the part of the person or organization assisting with the process. Suicide...

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