Me Before You & After You
by Jojo Moyes
I read Me Before You months ago now and I have never been the same. It really struck a chord with me. I absolutely loved the book and yet was broken-hearted over it. It was moving, intense and absorbing from start to finish. I really liked Moyes’ tone and style of writing, which made me immediately love Lou and root for her. It’s the best feeling to fall right into a book and enjoy it from the start. Ironically, when I read After You I did not really love the plot and had a hard time getting into it. I was won over in the end, but it definitely took a while. I’m really hoping Moyes will make this a trilogy because the second book left off in a bit of a cliff hanger.
Me Before You is a heart-wrenching novel about a man who wants to end his life and the woman who tries to stop him. Lou is a a twenty-something woman working at the local bakery until the day it closes. At a loss for where to work, Lou goes to a temp agency where (after several failures) she lands a job as a home care professional for a parapalegic. What she doesn’t know right away is that the person she is caring for is young man who had everything going for him before he got in the horrific accident that took his mobility. Will is determined to end his life because he is unsatisfied with his quality of life. Spoilers: when Lou finds out that Will doesn’t want to live, she is horrified and does everything in her power to change his mind, including taking him on an amazing holiday where she tells him she loves him. In the end, her love and determination to show Will that his life is worth living, even in his handicaped state, is not enough. He goes to Switzerland with his parents and sister (Lou coming at the last minute because she originally thought she couldn’t be there) to peacefully die. He leaves Lou some money so she can go to university, and a letter explaining how he couldn’t stay and how he wants her to live her life to the fullest. Heart. Wrenching.
The sequel picks up where the first one left off. Lou is living on her own and is horribly depressed. She hasn’t done what Will wanted and gone back to school. Instead she works at an airport bar/restaurant. In this novel, Lou has to learn to pick herself back up, even though she is heartbroken and angry at Will for leaving her. She meets Will’s troubled teenage daughter (that he never knew existed) and helps her reunite and reconcile with Will’s parents. In doing so, Lou finds healing and new love in a stranger. She is able to open up and find love, while also letting go of the past in order to move forward in life. At the end of the book, she decides to take a job in New York, leaving her new boyfriend behind, because it is the experience of a lifetime. He’s supportive, and she flies away. Which is why I’m hoping for a third book!!
Summing it up: I enjoyed Me Before You more than After You (though I did like it by the end). I’m still processing Will’s choice in the first book, but I highly recommend it! I recommend the second book too, and maybe you’ll enjoy it quicker than I did!
All the best, Abbey