“I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.”
I found Me Before You to be a surprisingly deep and beautiful book that dealt with far more serious issues than one might imagine judging by the cover alone. The basic premise involves Louisa Clark, who is 26 and lives a “small life” that is turned around when she loses her steady job. Because she’s the main breadwinner in her family she is desperate to resume work and ends up taking a position as a caregiver for Will Traynor, a 35-year-old former business executive who became a quadriplegic after being hit by a motorcycle two years prior. Lou is reluctant to begin this job with zero experience as a caregiver, but she basically has no choice (it’s this, or stripping, or working in a chicken packaging plant), and Will is really obnoxious and rude to her at the start, as he is pretty miserable with his existence since his accident. The longer Lou is employed by Will and the Traynors, the more we learn about how important her job really is and the consequences that it might have on them both.
I am giving Me Before You 4 stars. I adored this story and felt that many of the characters’ actions and decisions were incredibly realistic in an extremely difficult situation. Lou was such a relatable character, especially being the same age as me and going through the typical mid-20s career struggles and relationship issues that my friends and I have all grappled with from time to time. Also, I’m definitely a little bit in love with Will (don’t tell Anthony)… Listening to this has absolutely changed the way I think about many things, I think for the better. For example, I’ve started to always look for ramps and other handicapped access in all of the public places that I’ve been over the past few weeks, because that was such a struggle for Lou and Will. At the same time, I did end up successfully predicting how the book was going to end fairly early on and because of this I wasn’t really as emotionally moved by the story as I could have been (as in, me, the queen of tears, did not cry at all during my reading). I am very glad that I read this and hope that it has improved me as a person, but just wish that I was able to feel as much as many other readers did.