Feb 16, 2014
[TSS] Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (Unabridged Audio Version)
ME BEFORE YOU is the unlikely story of a twenty-six year old English woman still living with her parents and elderly grandfather, struggling to help contribute to the family's income. Louisa, unlike her older sister, did not exude much independence and drive, so her parents didn't expect a lot out of her in the long term. She put up with her father's constant teasing and light-hearted put downs and for the most part, didn't show how deeply his words wounded her. Her mother made up for her father's insults by offering non-stop complacency with Louisa's choices. When Louisa lost her job at a local coffee shop she was forced to scour the limited workforce. Reluctantly she took a job working as a companion for a local wealthy family looking after their grown son who had suffered a life changing accident two years prior. Once a hard-nosed, thrill seeking, successful executive, Will Traynor was now confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
Will Traynor was an impossible man who seemed to take pleasure in being harsh to Louisa and making her feel completely inadequate for even the simplest of tasks. Lou, as she was often called, wanted to quit right away but her sister Katrina guilted her into staying on, especially after their father lost his job at a local furniture factory. She was making good money taking care of this man and if she quit now she would be hurting her family. Lou decided that the only way to deal with Will was to stand up to his bad attitude. As time went on, progress was made and they even developed a kind of comfortableness with each other.
When Louisa overheard a conversation with Will's mother and sister, it became clear to her why they had only hired her for a six month contract. This information disturbed Louisa and went against everything she believed in. She felt completely helpless and felt she couldn't discuss it with anyone, considering the legal ramifications it entailed. Neither her family nor her boyfriend realized the stress she was under and when she finally confided in her sister, a plan was devised. Lou made it her mission to make Will see that his life was not over. To complicate matters, Lou's close proximity to Will's every personal need created a closeness that became second nature for her. She was also spending more time with Will than her own boyfriend, Patrick.
Lou is fighting time and battling a decision, that frankly, she has no right to change. This is Will's life and she must find a way to come to terms with it, but she vows never to give up until the very end.
Though this is a story of love, it is only secondarily a love story, in my opinion. This incredible story is told from a unique perspective and goes beyond the outer surface to the very difficult and controversial topic of assisted suicide. That being said, there is even more than that. Through her complicated relationship with Will, Louisa also learns so much about herself, as does her family. I like that they begins to see her in a different light and even gives her the respect she deserves for the difficult job she has. The compassion is not all one-sided either. Will, even in his most vulnerable state, is able to help Lou overcome an event in her past that has, until this point, shaped her life. The beauty of this story for me was the unexpected gift of self discovery that Will is able to give Lou. The impact he has on her life changed her drastically and will stay with her forever.
This is a complicated, layered story that is anything but a typical romance. As with the previous Moyes book I read, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, I was completely immersed and satisfied with the story. I chose the audio version of this title and I felt it was superbly done. The narration was done by several different people and they all had fantastic performances.
Jojo Moyes is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and one that I will not miss in the future. This book is totally different than the earlier one I read and it shows her versatility. Some writers stick to the same theme or technique throughout their career and though there is nothing wrong with that, Jojo Moyes has surprised me twice and that makes me want to read more from her.
I couldn't recommend this book more, whether in print or audio. It is an absorbing, interesting novel that deserves all of the accolades my fellow readers and reviewers have given it. If you're looking for a good book to lose yourself in, you must read ME BEFORE YOU.
ME BEFORE YOU (Unabridged Audio Version)
Author: Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes)
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 14 hrs 40 mins
Recommend? Absolutely YES!!!!