Book Review: Me before You by Jojo Moyes

The best book I've read in this year so far. And I one of the best books I've ever read. The cover page didn't do any justice to the story inside. The cover makes the book look like just another chick-lit, but it has more depth than that. It's a extraordinary tale, not a cheesy Hollywood romance. 

Louisa Clark unexpectedly loses her job at a cafe and under pressure to earn money accepts the job as a helper to quadriplegic, Will Taynor. Will, an energetic, intelligent young man loses his limbs in a motorbike accident. He's doomed to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, taking pain meds and fighting infections. He therefore loses hope of a future and attempts to kill himself, after which his mother promises to accept his decision of assisted suicide provided he gave her six months. Will's mother hires Louisa for six months to keep an eye on him in case he decides to kill himself again. Will treats Louisa with contempt from day one. After enduring his rudeness for a few days, she starts answering him back rudely, which takes him by surprise. Slowly a friendship develops between them. To her shock, she learns about Will's decision of assisted suicide and confronts Will's mother about it. Will's mother requests her to keep him happy in the meantime in the hope something would happen to change his mind. Louisa researches and plans his every day in an attempt to generate hope in him and to keep him happy. In the process she falls in love with him.  Will she succeed in changing his mind?

The author wrote the book as realistically as possible. As a reader I totally understood why Will would make such a request to his mother even though it's selfish of him to do so. His mother is not heartless, she had no choice. I read Lousia's plans with desperation, really hoping that she would win. But sometimes, money and people you love are not enough to keep a person happy. It's also important to have hope about future. When that is lost, dark thoughts creep in.

It also makes me wonder, once again, what is the meaning of living? If you are satisfied with your life of going to office and coming home and watching telly in a small town, is it not living? Is everybody required to travel, to take risks, to live in a big town, in order to prove that they are 'living' too? What does this say about generations of Indian women who spent their entire life in the Kitchen, first cooking for husband and then for grandchildren. Have they not lived? And yet why do we remember them with love? Are they not living in our hearts? Their lives are not worthless. They too did something to shape the lives of their children. I felt that Will forced his idea of living on her by criticizing her constantly. It's only because of his idea of living that he found it difficult to accept his new life. 

I loved the friendship between Lou and Will. I loved the way he changes her life forever and for the better. I loved the determination with which Lou tries every possible way to change his mind. I loved Lou's family. This is the kind of book which makes you wonder what you would have done in his place, and secretly thank god that you are not in his place. This is one book which is oddly satisfying even though by the end it brings tears.This book also raises lot of questions. Is assisted suicide the only option available for a quadriplegic? Isn't he inflicting his pain on his family while he rested in peace. Would his family ever be able to live in peace after this? Would there be a different ending if he met her right after the accident, before losing all hope? 

I'd suggest everyone to take this book as a beautiful romance in unusual conditions rather than concentrating on ethics of assisted suicide. The characters certainly were so beautiful that they'd stay with me for a long time. My rating 5/5.

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