I’ve been writing so much about the books I’m reading recently, I might end up becoming on to those Book blogs that are so popular! But I’m getting lucky with the books I’m finding because every one of them has been so good! With a summer movie on the way, it was time I finally picked up Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Here’s my spoiler free review of the book that’s guaranteed to touch your heart!
You know when you purchase a book, hear and read about it endlessly, yet it sits untouched in your library for ages? Yea, that’s Me Before You by Jojo Moyes in a nutshell.
Brief Summary: Me Before You tells the tale of Louise Clark, a girl in her mid-twenties who has recently lost her job and is desperately seeking a new one to help financially support her family. With limited options, she jumps at the opportunity to work as a caretaker for Will, a vibrant and energetic man who is now living as a quadriplegic after an accident left him paralyzed. Louise and Will don’t hit it off. He’s angry and dismissive and Louise is chatty and upbeat. He struggles to find meaning in his confined lifestyle and she is simply determined to make him find joy in life. It’s a beautifully inspiring story, that has very important messages about life, acceptance and the realities of living with a disability…in a world where most don’t understand what that means.
Interestingly enough, I set out to read and review Me Before You because I want to get in the routine of a monthly book review here on Dream in Lace and it all seemed so very timely with the movie coming out in early June. (Hello, Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke!) After thoroughly devouring the story though, I ultimately want to discuss Me Before You because of the many thoughts it further opened up in my mind.
A little background that gave me an interesting perspective on Me Before You is that I personally work every day around people with disabilities. For four years now, I’ve worked in marketing for a nonprofit that creates programs for people with a multitude of disabilities. Some individuals are more higher functioning, others are in very similar situations to Will’s. Every day, I see, hug and enjoy these people – floating in and out of their programs to tell their stories and capture their joy on camera for the world to see. Before I started work at this agency, my exposure to physical and mental disabilities was very limited and it’s definitely been an eye-opening experience that has absolutely made me a more open-minded, accepting and patient person.
Working around people with disabilities has been enlightening and made Me Before You‘s story resonate with me much more than I thought it would when I initially purchased the book. I didn’t expect the book to ring so true, but as the story unfolded I found myself relating to Louise and recalling my own experiences as she learns what life with a disability entails and the public’s perceptions of those individuals. I found myself relating to her unease at first, and then total comfort as time goes by…making any initial awkwardness seem totally foolish because really people with disabilities and living in a wheelchair are ultimately people just like us that we can laugh with and relate to.
The key takeaway though, is I think at the core – I mostly connected to Me Before You because working with people with disabilities has without question changed and opened me up in the same way it did Louise.
Live Your Best Life
When we meet Louise at the start of Me Before You, she’s really closed off from the world. She’s a dutiful daughter doing her best to support her family. She’s a dutiful girlfriend, watching on the sidelines as her long-term boyfriend trains for his dream to run a marathon. She goes through the motions of everyday life without having any true passions and when asked about what she wants for herself, her response is that she’s never thought about it.
Through working with Will, that changes. Louise comes out of her shell. She starts to see life as the gift that it is and pushes herself to experience new things. Of course, there is a love story at work between Louise and Will, but I was mostly touched by the way he brings her spirit to life. Will shows Louise that life is precious and that she needs to appreciate life, not take it for granted.
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possibly.”
It’s a quote so beautiful I almost want to convert it into a tattoo, don’t you? Oh Will Traynor, that wise soul. Prior to his accident, Will had an adventurous life and it was beautiful to watch him inspire Louise to appreciate the world and seek out adventure for herself.
Go Live! Do something!
I really do want to keep this review spoiler-free, so can’t discuss some of the book’s other issues…but above all, I think we can walk away from Me Before You wanting to stand up off the couch and do something! Let’s go experience something new. Feel something. Go somewhere! Anything that will make Will proud.
Me Before You is a beautifully inspiring (and yes, at times tragic) story that will definitely stick with you. Jojo Moyes reminds us that it is our duty to live life fully and respect the people around us, no matter what their abilities or limitations may be.
I absolutely recommend picking this book up. It’s a light and important read that will inspire you to be better and do better. Then, we can all laugh (and cry a little) over the movie when it comes out in June. Aren’t you excited?
Learn more about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, here.
My next inspiring read will be The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane Von Furstenberg. Stay tuned for my review and follow my reading conversations with the hashtag #ReadInLace.