Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Book Review: 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes
Popular, lovey-dovey, cheesy romance books aren't really my thing. I didn't read The Fault in Our Stars simply because it didn't sound like a book I'd enjoy. I have read a few from time to time, and your romance book can be as lovey-dovey and as cheesy as you want it to be; but as long as you avoid clichés and your plot is original, I'll probably read it and I'll probably like it. Take Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park for example; it's cheesy as hell! But it's original, it's relatable, it's real and it's cliché-free, for the most part (and, you know, it's just amazing in general). Unfortunately, I went into Me Before You thinking it would be cliché-free and original. It wasn't.
And, for some reason, I don't know why I'm not surprised Me Before You was a tad unoriginal and overly cliché. The back cover description sounds like a thousand other books we've seen before, yet I went into it expecting to be blown away. I wasn't. It did have its good parts. For those who don't know, a brief rundown; a girl named Louisa Clark, who lives in a small English town and has a unique sense of style, takes a job as a caregiver for a quadriplegic who requires constant care, Will Traynor. I need not say anymore because I'm sure you get the gist.
The rest of this review will now contain spoilers, so for those who don't want it spoiled, go get a coffee.
I really liked Louisa's character development in the beginning; she has this unique sense of style that no one, including her family, in her close-minded small town seems to appreciate. She is belittled, put down and made fun of by her family, mostly her dad who I'm pretty sure called her fat at one point, and lives in the shadow of her older sister, Katrina. She's also been dating a guy named Patrick, who is an athlete, for seven years, and he's a bit of an asshole. All of this goes to show that Louisa is obviously just accepting the love she thinks she deserves, which is all too common and all too sad. I just figured she didn't know any better than to branch out into the world where her style will be appreciated, but we later learn that Louisa used to dress to impress and on one summer occasion was potentially sexually assaulted by a group of guys after everyone had one too many. My like of Louisa just went downhill from there. Her reason for not branching out of her small town was because of that incident, she was scared to branch out of her comfort zone. This just reminds me of the first season of Veronica Mars, when Veronica was raped at a party when she was popular and didn't know who did it, the only difference being Veronica rose above the incident when Louisa just let it drag her down. I'm not doubting that it was traumatic for her, but your reason for not leaving your stupid town is because an incident with a bunch of teenage perverts led you to believe the whole world is this way? Um, no. I won't say anymore because rape has always been a heated topic for obvious reasons, but I just really, really didn't like that part.
Will was the only person to encourage Louisa to branch out into the world, which I loved. Will was also the only character I still enjoyed by the end. When Louisa learns Will plans to end his life (he is paralyzed forever with no chance of recovery), Louisa decides to show him that life can be worth living. I figured this would be a series of cheesy, inspirational scenes where Louisa takes Will on all sorts of adventures, but there was only maybe a total of three, and I wouldn't use the word adventure to describe them. She failed miserably. She blamed her inability to plan anything on his disability. She had ONE mission and she didn't do it, then when she takes Will on a vacation and they have a moment; he reveals he is still going to end his life in Switzerland she completely throws a fit, making it all about her. For once, I agreed with all of Will's points on why he wanted to commit suicide. It's a difficult situation, but I did agree with him. Will ends up ending his life, leaving behind money for Louisa for her to go out into the world and start her life. Will Traynor is the real MVP of Me Before You. Louisa Clark was a completely unlikable character by the end of the book, at least in my opinion, and if she's like this again in the sequel (After You), I no longer have any interest in reading it.
This seems like a harsh and negative review, but it was really only those specific parts of Me Before You that I hated. It did have its moments of cheesy lines that did make me smile (mostly from Will, the saving grace of the book), as well as a few other good parts, despite finding that the main storyline dragged along. I debated between 3 and 3.5 stars, and then I debated being that person who gives 3.25 stars to a book, so I've just decided to be generous and round up. 3.5/5 stars.