Thursday, September 8, 2016

Me Before You - Review (w/ Movie Commentary)

Me Before You (Me Before You, # 1)

By: Jojo Moyes

Published: December 31st 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking (first published January 5th 2012)

481 pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Source: Borrowed from the library

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Goodreads description--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 rarely do this, but I saw Me Before You (the movie) before I read the book. It was more of a timing issue really. I had the book on hold at the library, but it wasn't available to me to read yet, and I really wanted to see the movie in the theater with my friend Paula. I knew I still planned to read it so I wasn't too worried about seeing the movie first.

So as the description says, Lou's been working at a local cafe for several years. And she's been dating the same guy for 6 years. Even though she might not categorize her life as exceptional, she is comfortable, and even content for the most part. But The Buttered Bun closes and Lou loses her job. However, her family depends on her income. She must find another job as soon as possible. After trying everything that Job Center has available for her, she ends up on a job interview to take care of a quadriplegic man.

Will was the definition of a physical man before his accident. He went skiing and skydiving. He climbed mountains. So when an accident with a motorcycle injures him to the point of having only minimal ability to use one arm (he pretty much doesn't have the use of his body or limbs from the chest down), he doesn't see how he can live a life stuck in a wheelchair. But it's more than that. There's constant pain and humiliation, extra infections and illnesses. There are many new changes to his life and body that have turned Will into a bitter, angry man.

Lou is determined to continue her job as Will's caretaker despite his horrible attitude for the sake of her family. They need the money and this is the most well-paying job she's ever had. But Lou stumbles upon some secrets that the Traynor family meant to keep, and that changes everything for Lou. She becomes a woman on a mission. Her mission: show Will that life can be worth living even if it isn't the way that he used to live it. Will's mission: show Lou that every moment of life needs to be lived. It needs to be experienced because you never know when your life might be changed in the most important ways. I believe it would be pretty much impossible to spend as much time with someone as Lou and Will do without developing some kind of bond. These two open up to each other and an unlikely relationship begins to develop.

There are so many questions that Me Before You causes the reader to ask. Will Lou be able to change Will's mind about his new life? Will these two find some way that they can be together? How would you feel if you were Will? Would you be able to stand by a loved one if they made a choice that you couldn't understand or that broke your heart? Does support mean agreement? Will you choose to live your life in the moment or will you take what you have and the time you have for granted?

The first section of the book I remember thinking that the movie pretty much matched up event for event pretty spot on. But by the time you get to the chapter narrated by Camilla things start to change a little. For the most part, the movie was right along with the book. Obviously there are some changes. The biggest ones I noted were familial. Will doesn't have a sister in the movie--probably because they didn't want to pay another actress. They solved this by merging a bit of the sister's traits in with Camilla. They also made Camilla and Steven closer in the movie than they were in the book. Lou's family was a bit different too. I felt like even though they joked on Lou in the movie, they were a bit more critical of her in the book. Also, Lou's relationship with Treena was definitely more strained in the book whereas the movie makes them seem like besties. I also liked the slight change in the movie of the necklace that Patrick gives Lou for her birthday. That made me laugh out loud.

Both the movie and the book made me tear up, but they didn't actually fall. I'm not an easy one to make cry--especially since I'm not pregnant anymore. But both were definitely emotional. I think you pretty much expect them to be sad though.

Me Before You gets 4.5 Stars. I think had I read the book before watching the movie then I might have given it 5 Stars, but since I knew how it all ended that kept me from enjoying the book as much as I would have had I been blind to the story. But had I read the book before, I likely would have been more critical of the movie. Either way, Me Before You is extremely well written and will make you ask all kinds of questions and feel all kinds of emotions. I highly recommend it. Have you read Me Before You? Let me know!

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