Monday, 13 June 2016

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


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'd been seeing this book all over the blogs and on booktube. And since the film has been doing so well in the box office this week, now is the best time to share my thoughts on Me Before You. Going into this, I did have some high expectations and

oh boy I was not disappointed. This is one of the most moving books I've ever read with dialogue and beautifully fleshed out characters that at times gave me goosebumps.

Seeing as this book chat could easily end up being a stream of consciousness with every thought I've ever had about this book, I'm going to keep things synced with the main things that stood out to me:

Every single character served a purpose in this book because every single character is so well fleshed out. Will and Lou (unlike the film) felt really real. I really understood their motivations (though some were questionable at times and, loved that Jojo Moyes doesn't sugarcoat them. Of course there were moments when I just couldn't help but love them but they had flaws. The film inevitably had to cut out some sub plots from the book which meant that unfortunately, the characters came across as a little two-dimensional. I HATE saying this and I feel so bad because I wanted to love them so much but I felt like I was forcing myself to not find Lou annoying, simply because I like Emilia Clarke.

The dynamic between Treena and Lou was another that felt real because like real siblings, they didn't always get along. That's putting it lightly actually because there were times when I felt that sisters were being frustratingly selfish and hurtful. The fact that this dynamic could get such a reaction from me is a testament to how real and palpable the emotions in this book were. It also really set the tone for a book that deals with - and I'd say deftly deals with - heavier issues such as depression , rape and finding oneself. The film again, lacked this depth because of what it omitted.


The romance

There was no insta-love between Will and Lou which was such a relief because it would've really taken away the depth of their relationship. I did pick up this book thinking I'd be in for a warm and fluffy romance. So I was sort of waiting to see them fall in love however, it happened in such an organic way that I don't think readers will really see coming. And those are the best kind of love stories. There were also some really beautifully written intimate moments, ie when Lou shaves Will's beard for the first time = goosebumps.

The Will and Lou dynamic itself is actually far more than just their love story, their friendship and how that comes about and it's sustained was actually far more interesting. And what the film did well was to capture every quirk I ever loved about Will. Sam Claflin played him to perfection.

Assisted Suicide

TALK ABOUT A PLOT TWIST. When I found out that Will was contemplating assisted suicide, I made the decision to finish the book that afternoon. I was so physically stressed out, waiting to see whether Lou could convince him to not go through with it and, was heartbroken when he went through with it.

Now, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the film because of it's representation of the disabled community. I think the reason I was so upset about Will's decision to end his life is because I've never been an advocate for euthanasia. I weirdly didn't see this controversy coming because the book had been out since 2012 and book critics just hadn't picked up on the issue. Which in many ways is why film can really make you see when there's a problem. Hollywood has a damaging tendency of perpetuating unrealistic and stereotypical ideas about people living with disabilities; they're often pitied or sensationalised.

But I will defend the book because while I didn't agree with Will (and I'm still not convinced assisted suicide should be legal for anyone), this is a story of one individual's decision; one I felt was more motivated by factors such as depression than the disability itself.

The film had a pretty linear romantic drama plot which I guess served its purpose. But this is why I think the book and film are almost not even the same entity because the romance isn't really at the core of the book. There are so many other issues that run so much deeper in this book and, will leave you with so much more food for thought. Basically #readthebookfirst.

Book : 4.25/5 Stars

Film : 3/5 Stars

What did you make of Me Before You? And if you've seen of it, what are your thoughts on the film's controversy? 
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