HOLY SMOKES!!!!!! It is rare that I write a review that includes spoilers, but I am going to warn you now there are GOING to be spoilers. Including plot spoilers & ending spoilers (Not yet, I will warn you first) - but if you read one book I review, let it be this one.
Me Before You at first glance appears to be a British Chick Lit novel. You have twenty-seven year old Louisa Clark. She is the oldest daughter in a very blue collar kind of family. She still lives at home with her parents, her siblings, and her grandfather, all crammed into a small home. She was just laid off from her job at the local cafe, yet her blue collar family relies heavily on her paycheck, so she takes a job as a personal aide to a man who is wheelchair bound. She takes the job assuming that the man is going to be elderly. And is shocked to discover that Will Traynor is a thirty-five year old former financial wiz kid.
Will Traynor has always been larger than life. Coming from a wealthy family has allowed him many opportunities in his life. And he made his own opportunities in the financial district in London, but it all came to a screeching halt when he was hit by a vehicle while crossing the street after a meeting. His world has now shrunk to his personal nurse, Nathan and his parents. As far as he is concerned life is not worth living. Louisa was hired to prove him otherwise.
PLOT SPOILERS LISTED BELOW!!
At first Louisa is really nervous with her new position and new responsibilities. Will Traynor is a formidable man even though he can't even feed himself. But as the days start to pass Louisa starts to realize how much she has come to like Will. He is so different from her boyfriend, Patrick. Not just in physical abilities, but how worldly Will is and how smart he is and how he challenges her to be a better person. She is on her way home from work one day when she over hears a conversation between Will's mother & sister. They didn't just hire Louisa to be Will's companion, they hired Louisa to try and convince him that life is worth living. Because at the end of Louisa's six month contract, Will has made his parents promise him that at the end of the six months they will take him to a facility in Switzerland that performs assisted suicides. Louisa is devastated for she has come to be really fond of Will. She takes it upon herself to show Will that even though he is wheelchair bound, life CAN be worth living. From local outings to a vacation on a tropical island she is determined and focused on keeping Will alive. In the process she falls in love.
ENDING SPOILERS BELOW
Holy smokes. I have never sobbed so hard while reading a book. Seriously - full on ugly cry. Louisa and Will were so good together. It was on their final night of vacation that Will tells Louisa that he still plans on going through with his trip to Switzerland. The news absolutely shatters Louisa - she is angry and hurt and wants no part of his plans. But the day before his scheduled suicide Louisa is summoned to Switzerland. And no matter how much it destroys her, she wants to be there with Will when he dies.
Seriously - full on ugly cry. I wanted to throw my tablet across the room, I was so angry by the ending. I have been programmed to believe that "Chick Lit" novels have the "Happy Ever After" ending. As I was tossing and turning in bed thinking of this novel, I realized that life doesn't always have the "happy ever after" endings, no matter how much you hope for them. I respect JoJo Moyes for showcasing that life (and death) can indeed be very very messy.
Bottom line - British Chick Lit author, JoJo Moyes takes the kind of hard hitting subject matter you would expect to find in a Jodi Picoult novel and adds the kind of charm that you can only find in a Chick Lit novel and gives us one of the best novels I have read in a very long time. Me Before You may rip out your heart, but it must be read. Simply must.