Saturday, 31 March 2012

Me Before You

When Lou Clark loses her job in a cafe, she is faced with trying to find a new one where there just isn't work. She still lives at home, with her sister and nephew, and her income keeps the household going, just about. Her dad's job is at risk too. She reluctantly accepts a job as a carer for Will, who's an arse. He has good reason, his perfect life was ruined when he was hit by a motorbike two years before, leaving him quadriplegic and completely reliant on other people. He's alive but not living and that's the last thing he wants.

I wasn't even really planning on starting Me Before You last night, I am in the middle of another book but picked it up and started reading the first few pages. Next thing I know, it's 3am and there's tears streaming down my face. From the very start, it is made clear that Will never was never able to sit around doing nothing before the accident, which just makes his situation all the more difficult for him. As Lou becomes friends with him, she does everything in her power to make life worth living for him, but is that enough?

It's not predictable and it's one that's never going to have a perfect ending, even if you can decide what that would be. It tackles the incredibly difficult subject of a person's right to die. As a reader, you want so much for things to work out but it is a very realistic book, and there's not going to be any frivolous miracle cures. Not only is Will paralysed, but he is often in pain and the injury causes numerous health complications. It is eye-opening at the very least.

Lou is the very opposite of Will. She has lived in a small town all her life, had no ambitions and doesn't have much purpose to her life, living one day to the next. She doesn't like her boyfriend all that much and she feels under pressure to support her family. Lou might want to change Will's life but he also wants to change hers.

I'm reluctant to call it chick-lit, not because I think it's a disparaging term, but because it may put people off this fantastic novel. It is the very best of what the genre has to offer, dealing with topical issues with very human relationships at the centre.

8 comments:

  1. This sounds great! The cover doesn't really go with the content of the book though - the cover looks like very shallow chick-lit.

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    1. You have to ignore the covers, Marian Keyes is the same and there are so many fantastic chick-lit books with pink covers that deal with real life issues. I do think this is still chick-lit or "women's contemporary" as it's now being called but people get the wrong idea about the genre. Chick-lit is not romance, although there is usually a central relationship but that can be said for so many books :)

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  2. I think that I am going to have to keep an eye out for this book.

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  3. This book has been stalking me for far too long. It seems to pop up in every recommendation engine I visit and I see copies of it every where. I've been put off by the girly cover, but your review has convinced me to give it a try. I hope I love it as much as you do.

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  4. Love this review, the book sounds great. So much so I am considering going into town to buy it.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

    P.s just ordered it - fastest ever from reading a review to buying it :D

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  5. This sounds great. I've read one or two other books by Moyes and I would not call them chick-lit.

    And maybe this *is* chick-lit, but indeed the Marian Keyes kind which is not at all about mindless young women trying to find the love of their lives. There is a serious message in the books.

    I obviously need to read this book!

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  6. Oh yes! Thanks for reminding me of the fact that this needs to go on my wishlist as soon as possible! I've wanted to pick this up for a while but I never got round to doing so.

    And I can definitely agree with this whole chick-lit issue. There are books that just don't deserve to be called like that. I'm okay with the term but I know it puts some people off.

    Great review!

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  7. I've been curious about this one for aages and hoping it might pop up in a charity shop or something, and also can't believe I didn't comment on your review! I remember reading it because it was your review that convinced me to give it a try.

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