‘I’m fine. I just…’
I could see his pale collar, his dark suit jacket a contrast against it.
‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about…’ He swallowed.
Even in the half-dark it seemed effortful.
‘I just… want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’
I released the door handle.
I closed my eyes and lay my hair against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.
TITLE: Me Before You
AUTHOR: Jojo Moyes
GENRE: Romance novel
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
WARNING – May leave you reaching for the ice-cream
To sum this novel up in three words: emotional, infuriating and captivating. The above excerpt possibly doesn’t do the novel justice but to give away a more relevant or mushy paragraph wouldn’t be fair either. This novel had me glued to it whilst on holiday, perfect for when the British weather let me down. I devoured it in less than a week, tea and tissues never far away.
Admittedly I had heard a lot about this book before I asked my friend if I could have a borrow. From her description it was bound to be my sort of thing, being both tragic and romantic. It has to be said I got hooked by the fact that the film was out and I was keen to see it, but thought I had better read it first.
”The full novel details the highs and lows of their relationship as she tries to inspire a zest of life whilst he ends up inspiring her own, realising that there is more to life than habit, safety and routine’’
For those who haven’t already read this, or seen the film, or come upon how the story ends, the plot entails the unlikely collision of two even more unlikely individuals. The unambitious yet feisty Louisa Clark and the sarcastic yet slightly defeated Will Turner. Without giving too much away, Louisa is hired to be his carer after a motorcycle accident (read the first chapter to discover its ironic tragedy) leaves him in a wheelchair. The full novel details the highs and lows of their relationship as she tries to inspire a zest of life whilst he ends up inspiring her own, realising that there is more to life than habit, safety and routine. She realises that ultimately a life without risk isn’t worth living as he reveals her potential, teaching her to ‘just live’.
It would be beyond cruel to reveal the ending of this moving novel, so go out and buy yourself a copy. Unfortunately, I came upon plot spoilers after I begged my friends to reveal what happened – my fault I know but still. Even so, the ending still left me deep in thought and very emotional. What I loved even more than the romantic essence of this book were the hidden subplots, concerned with adultery, abuse and moral dilemmas.
”I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who can enjoy a book that has them in tears”
It would be easy to believe that Will is at the centre of the novel, yet it becomes clear that he is also one element that is at the centre of the lives around him. He takes a back seat as the life of Louisa is highlighted and ultimately transformed forever. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who can enjoy a book that has them in tears.
There is also a sequel available, After You, which is on my ever growing to-read list. The film is also definitely worth a watch even if you haven’t read the book first. Considering films are never supposed to be as good as the book, it was as true to the book as it could have been. So whichever way you engage with Moyes’ heart-rending story, whether reading, seeing or hearing about this book, it’s worth the hype.
8/10 – for no other reason than feeling furious at the ending
Image Courtesy of Lizzie Robinson