Happy Friday to all the bibliophiles out there! I hope your weekends are filled with stacks upon stacks of interesting books! What a dream, right?
So today, I’m going to be reviewing a duo that absolutely tore me to pieces. They’ve been everywhere lately, and have even been adapted for the big screen. Let’s discuss the absolute heartbreak that is Me Before You and its sequel After You, both by Jojo Moyes. If you have not read either of these books yet, please turn away now, because there’s no way I can review them properly without giving away a few spoilers. Also, just know that any words I put down to try to convey my emotions properly still won’t do this series justice. Read at your own risk!
Okay, the monster that is book one, Me Before You. I had to sleep immediately after finishing this book. I had zero energy to analyze and review it because I was simply a wreck. Now, I’m going to give it my best shot considering it’s the day after and I’m still emotionally drained.
I kept seeing friends of mine posting crying/sobbing/screaming emojis all over social media when it came to this book, but I figured it couldn’t be THAT bad to try to tackle. I rarely cry at anything anyway, so what harm could it do, right? WRONG! So so so so so wrong.
I figured out why I was about to have my heart torn out when I was a bit less than half way into the story, and honestly, I didn’t want to even finish the book. I was so devastated just knowing what lay ahead for me, but I guess I’m an absolute glutton for punishment. I had started the story, so I needed to finish it, dammit!
I made a bet with myself that I wouldn’t cry no matter what the book put in front of my face. I hadn’t even cried at the last funeral I had gone to, so I figured I could get through this unscathed. I lost, and badly. This book absolutely kicked my ass.
In my anger and dread once I finally closed the wretched thing, I wanted to give it one star, and even thought about putting it in my fire place (I was THAT upset), but instead, I chose to give it the full five stars and keep it safely tucked away on my shelf. Here’s why:
Bottom line, the author did her job, and she did it splendidly. I’m going to assume she was going for heartfelt emotion and heartache from her readers, and so… mission accomplished, Moyes.
The only way I can come to terms with how this story unfolded is to believe it’s the quality over quantity of life. I followed the story in People magazine a few months back about Brittany Maynard, who chose to die with dignity. It absolutely shredded me, and I ached for her and her family, but her reasoning and logic couldn’t be argued with, at least I from what I gathered. So when I met Will, I saw some similarities in the cases, and I couldn’t be angry with him. I wanted to be (trust me), but I couldn’t bring myself to feel that rage. He knew what was left of his life after an unfortunate accident left him paralyzed, he had made peace with his choice, and none of us could have taken that from him. It would have been selfish of us to wish him to stay with his condition and how unhappy (and uncomfortable) he was on a daily basis.
Bottom line, Will went through something he was never going to come back from. He was never going to be his old agile self again. He knew that, and it crushed him. Louisa wanted him to stick around awhile, and understandable that she did, because she loved him. He loved her as well. One can’t argue that point when it came to this duo. Ultimately, it was his choice how the remainder of his life would play out. They had the best time together while they had it, so they had to be at peace with each other and with themselves in order for life to go on once their time was up. They each became better people in the six months they had in each other’s company. All we could do as readers is hope neither of them had regrets about their choices, and maybe even take a lesson or two from what they both went through. Push yourself, don’t settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.
**I don’t usually do this (although I am contemplating it), but the official movie trailer for Me Before You was released today (2/3/16) and I just HAD to add it to this review so you can get an idea of what you’re really in for with this story! Enjoy!!
Coming Soon (6/3/16):
Oh, but we’re not done yet. After You is obviously what happens in the aftermath of tragedy. This wasn’t just about Louisa Clarke, but her whole family as well as Will’s, and how they got on after he left. I adored the fact that this story told of the imperfect and the struggles we go through when trying to cope with profound loss. It’s about life and how we choose to live it, and not about butterflies and rainbows. This was raw and even painful at times, but I had to find out how everyone in Will’s life would persevere.
Lou is struggling even two years after having lost Will. She works in an airport bar, never went back to school, or did any of the grand things she promised him she would do. However, she attends a support group and comes to be a sort of surrogate parent to Will’s long-lost daughter, Lily who turns up at her door one night.
Lily has her own troubles. She just found out who her dad is, is unwanted by her mother and step-family, and has to come to terms with the fact she’ll never meet her father because he recently passed. Lou can’t bring herself to leave someone in need to struggle. Together, they find out how to mourn the loss of Will while also keeping his memory alive.
Helping Lily and the meetings with the support group allow Lou to come back to life in her own way. She meets a new man, Sam, who also has his own loss to deal with, a job she has to try to leave, and the prospect of a new future in America. She’s not climbing to the top of amount Kilimanjaro or going bungee jumping, but she’s keeping her promise to Will to live well while she also learns to let go and move on to whatever will come her way next. The question is, can she find true happiness without him?