Monday, September 8, 2014

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I'm late to discovering British writer Jojo Moyes, and only recently learned about her 2012 novel Me Before You with this past week's casting announcements of the movie adaptation. I had a chance to pick up Me Before You on Friday and read it over the weekend.

Louisa Clarke is a twenty-six-year-old woman still living at home in the small British village where she was born. She has just lost her job at the Buttered Bun, the main cafe in town, as owner Frank heads back to Australia at the news that a new cafe is moving in to town. 

Louisa has to find a new job immediately as her family relies on what little income she can bring home: her parents, her ailing Grandad, and her sister Treena and her young son Thomas. After trying out a few jobs recommended by the Job Center (but not the opening for a pole dancer), Louisa is given an interview for a caregiver position. She ends up working for Will Traynor, a previously successful businessman who, after a accident in London, is bound to a wheelchair. Lou is meant to take care of him on a daily basis. He's young, depressed, and the job is not anything Lou expects.

Over time, Lou realizes that the reason for her presence in the Traynor home is not exactly just to keep Will company: she is there to try to prevent him from committing suicide, which he attempted before she started working for the Traynors. Will's quality of life is not anywhere near where he would like it to be. Previously, Will bought and sold big companies. He traveled, he skydived, he went on adventures. He lived big. He is not prepared to continue living the life he has been saddled with.

So begins Lou's great undertaking of changing Will Traynor's mind through a series of adventures designed to show Will that his life is still worth living. And Lou's life, too, begins changing along the way. I loved Me Before You and have added Moyes's books to my to-read list, especially The Girl You Left Behind, which I've been hearing so much about!