Books

Review: “Me Before You” Is More Than a Love Story

Olivia Handscom ‘18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The trailer for Me Before You premiered last month, and it has already racked up several million views. It looks like Me Before You, which comes out June 3, may become the romantic drama of the summer. But before Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin take this story to the big screen, catch it now on a shelf near you. Warning: have some tissues handy for this read.

Me Before You
Image Credit: NY Daily News

Louisa Clark just lost her beloved job working at a cafe. Now, as one of the main providers for her household, she is desperate for any type work, so she takes a job for care and companionship of a disabled man. Will Traynor lived the good life. He made a lot of money, went on crazy adventures, and lived his life to the fullest. That was, until a freak accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. Now he needs help with everything from eating to bathing to making sure he doesn’t get a life-threatening infection. The pair clash immediately upon meeting. Will doesn’t understand how Louisa can be satisfied with her limited world and opportunities. Louisa can’t seem to grasp why Will won’t try to see the good in the life he has now. Both are too stubborn to notice how the other one is changing them, and neither one will ever be the same again.

This is not a love story, or better yet, it is not just a love story. It’s about so much more than that. It’s about family. It’s about taking risks. It’s about living life to the fullest. And yes, it is also about love, but there is a lot more conflict in this story than meets the eye. Louisa deals with her own familial conflict, as well as conflict with Will’s family. She deals with financial conflict and the burden of having to support her parents and sister. Louisa also faces conflict with herself about settling for her simple life. Louisa is under massive amounts of stress, and Jojo Moyes is able to capture her anxiety and transfer it to the reader.

Moyes had another difficult task of writing a character with a disability. It is clear Moyes respectfully did her research about quadriplegics and their required medical care. It adds a layer of authenticity to the story. The reader is thrust into the world of caretaking alongside Louisa, and Moyes was able to break it down to make sure the audience had a clear image in their head of what everything looked like. Will Traynor is a quadriplegic, but he is also a man. Moyes makes sure the reader knows that he is more than just his disability. Me Before You was quite thought-provoking. No matter where you stood on certain issues before reading the novel, Moyes addresses all sides of the story. Moyes has readers questioning their own ethics and morals by challenging their initial judgements.

Moyes has a beautiful and simplistic writing style that captures the tone of this story perfectly. One of this story’s main criticisms is a predictable plot, and maybe the plot is not the most original or complex. That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t accomplish what it needs to. It makes the reader feel, empathize, and learn things about themselves. This story wants the audience to feel a little bit of everything, a whole flood of emotions from pure bliss to agony, and that is exactly what it does.

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