Me Before You (Review)

Me Before You
By JoJo Moyes
369 pages | December 31st 2012 | Pamela Dorman Books

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

I will start off with the honest confession that I only heard of this book, and wanted to read it because of the film trailer. I loved the actors they chose and from the trailer it looks to be a heartwarming story. I've seen the film now and can advise the film is, strangely (and rarely) must better than the book. Why? It's quite simple.

Louisa Clark is a small town girl who has deceived herself into believing she's perfectly content with her life. It isn't until she gets a job as the caretaker for Will Traynor that she suddenly begins to realize all the sorts of things she has been missing out on. The character development in this book was basically non-existent. Lou doesn't really have a gradual change at any one point, and the only reason she begins to make the tough decisions is because she's basically forced to by the other people in her life. 

I loved the bones of the story. The banter between Lou and Will, the way their relationship develops over time. It was a good tale, with some obviously questionable choices. The majority of the book is told from Lou's perspective. Her family and her boyfriend in her eyes, are quite awful...which begs the question, why is she still around? I get that she has terrible self-esteem but the truth is, as a person with terrible self-esteem, you often convince yourself the opposite of what everyone else can see. 

i.e I know your boyfriend is a jerk, but you convince yourself otherwise because you don't think you can do any better. 

Apparently Lou knows just how awful Patrick is... she just doesn't care. She also has just sat by her entire life and let her family put her down so drastically? I found it really hard to believe that a first born child (who usually gets the majority of the responsibility, lets be honest) would ever be made inferior to their younger sibling intentionally. Lou's obvious awareness of how terrible the people in her life are aside, you're sort of led to believe this is just her misconception of them Until you get to see the story from their points of view and you realize... no, they really are this terrible, huh. 

My biggest issue was that the alternative POVs seemed relatively pointless. We don't really need to know what Trina, or Nathan or Mr. Traynor are thinking.  What I might have liked to know was what Will was thinking. In all of this we only get to see what others think of him, about him, what they think he MUST be thinking. We never actually get to see what he WAS thinking.

It felt a little ironic since the whole book he complains about people making decisions for him, and doing things without asking him. Then we never get to hear his side. It seemed strange. 

Over all, it was a decent story, and I enjoyed the read. I however, enjoyed the movie more because the characters were a little...less unbearable? All their dislikable qualities in the book seemed to be toned down a lot of the clutter in the story had been slimmed to the point. They were certain things they left out that I would have liked to see but overall I enjoyed it much more. 

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. 

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.


  1. I'm so glad that I wasn't the only person that felt like this book was just okay and not this amazing thing that everyone has hyped up.

    1. I'm happy I'm not alone in this opinion either. I wasn't wowed by it.