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 guess it is impossible to express all your feelings for a book in one simple review, but let me try since these characters almost feels like family to me. I guess whenever I read a book, there’s this peculiar sensation that happens, like I actually develop this close relationship with the characters, sometimes it feels like I’m actually friends with them, and I get so affected whenever things happen to them. I’m not sure I like it because it usually leaves me devastated.
Finishing Me Before You hurts so much, but in a “I kinda saw it coming, I kinda prepared myself, and I kinda accept it” kind of way. I mean I did hope for the best, very much like I did when I read All the Bright Places and saw in the Table of Contents that Finch’s narration stops after Day 80, but I read on anyway, slightly bracing myself page by page. Whatever preparations I did for both books were useless though because when the inevitable happened, I still broke down. Hard.
This book was set in England (or somewhere in Europe), in a small town surrounding a castle, and there’s just something about the setting and how they get jobs that feels slightly dystopian (like that book Matched by Ally Condie where they have to go to re-training to get jobs, or maybe that’s just how it is in Europe? I really don’t know lol). Also, although the language they use is still English, they talk differently, I guess more polite and some words are unfamiliar, so I had to adjust and adapt a bit when I first started reading, but after a few chapters in, you kind of forget because the writing was simple and pretty straightforward anyway.
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
I loved her characters. Mind you, I’m not saying that her characters are perfect, no, her characters are flawed individuals, but instead of these things making them suck, it contributed greatly to their character development, making them more relatable, more human.
Will is this incredibly successful and cultured person who loved his life, he has traveled and gone on amazing adventures… until he can’t anymore, on the other hand Lou has been in one place her whole life, she seems contented with this though, and at 26 she can’t think of anywhere else she wants to go, or what she wants to be… until she met Will. Terrible circumstances have brought them together, and these gave them the best six months of their lives, changing them both in so many ways.
I loved the way they fell in love, it’s not the fast insta-love that happens in some books, but it’s the way that they got to know each other, the way they seem to complement each other despite their differences, like she’s the light to his darkness. In the end, Lou told Will a story that I think perfectly summarizes their love story she “told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other. ”
“All I can say is that you make me… you make me into someone I couldn’t even imagine. You make me happy, even when you’re awful. I would rather be with you – even the you that you seem to think is diminished – than with anyone else in the world.”
Lou and Will had incredibly endearing moments, that I believe was not even meant to be romantic, but it just come out that way. Like the time when Will gave Lou the ridiculous looking black and yellow tights (I can only compare Lou’s fashion sense to Laura’s of Anne Eliot’s How I Fall, it’s completely outrageous but it somehow works), or the time Will dared Lou to get a tattoo, and the time they watched a classical concert and Will just can’t help but stare at Lou. Also, the references of Will being Professor Henry Higgins to Lou’s Eliza Doolittle of Pygmalion were incredibly accurate, and to be honest was just so adorable. (I remember ABC’s Selfie huhu)
I can’t help but be sad for Mrs. Camilla Traynor for her many losses. I saw how much she loved his son; I think she just doesn’t know how to express it. I was also a bit annoyed with Lou’s sister, Treena, she was selfish most of the time, albeit smart.
The book has also an underlying theme tackling a person’s right to die. For me, I guess I would never really kill myself because I somehow feel that my life is not really mine to end, there’s lots of stakeholders in my life, my family, my friends, I couldn’t bear to do that to them, but I guess I’m not in the same place as Will who had lived an incredibly comfortable, successful, and exciting life, only losing it all after the accident. His condition was really hard, along with the physical sufferings and bacterial infection; I saw how much it hurts him to see what his life had become. So who am I to say what is right or wrong.
“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
Me Before You is all kinds of things, it’s about friendship-and-family, it’s about sadness and acceptance, it’s about the journey through life, it’s about love, and it’s about choices. It’s one of those books that you can’t help but love because you rode in a rollercoaster of feels and you just enjoyed it so much.