Genre: Romance, General Fiction
Series: Me Before You #1 (can be read as a Standalone)
Release Date: December 31, 2012
Before I started reading this novel, I’d heard from many people, that it left them an emotional wreck; that they still, after weeks or months, haven’t gotten over it. That didn’t happen with me. But it’s not a bad thing.
One of the protagonists of the novel, Will, is a quadriplegic, meaning he’s paralyzed from the chest down and only has movement in his face and neck, and very little in his hands. Before the accident that caused him to be confined to a wheelchair, he was someone who loved life and often participated in extreme sports. And to go from that to the way he is in the novel… it’s very difficult, to say the least. He doesn’t want this life. And I understood that.
I understood not wanted to be dependant on other people for everything, not wanting to constantly be in pain, not wanting to be hospitalized every few months for one or the other ailment, not wanting to live a life without purpose. I wouldn’t want that life either. And I know some people might object to me saying that, but it’s not really up to them, is it?
And that’s what a lot of the novel is about: life, choices and acceptance. For me, understanding and accepting Will’s predicament was something that made the book just… click, with me. I’m not sure I would have liked it nearly as much if the author hadn’t done such a wonderful job of trying to explain and flesh out the characters.
Let’s take Louisa, for example. She’s the other protagonist and most of the book is from her perspective. She’s a play-it-safe kind of girl. Initially, I found her to be too meek and boring. She didn’t seem to have any aspirations or plans. And, being an INTJ, if there’s one thing you must know about us, we make a lot of plans. So it was difficult for me to connect with her. But again, the author fleshed her out really well and she grew on me, albeit slowly. Her and Will’s interactions were definitely the highlight of the novel.
Me Before You is all about the characters. And they’re all so normal. Honestly, most of them are the kind of people you’d easily meet in your neighbourhood. It was very refreshing to read.
I truly loved the story, the theme, the people and the tone of the novel. There were parts that had me impatient, and this isn’t an example of beautiful prose. But it’s a beautiful story and I really think you should give it a read. It’s thought-provoking and sweet. It’s kind of wonderful, really.