Me Before You: A Novel

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Me Before You: A Novel

by Jojo Moyes

Penguin Publishing Group | July 30, 2013 | Trade Paperback

Me Before You: A Novel is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 50.
The New York Times bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture; US release on June 3, 2016.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.8 in

Published: July 30, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143124544

ISBN - 13: 9780143124542

Found in: Fiction

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Intoxicating - A Must Read! I read this novel in a 30-hour time frame, even though I was trying to force myself to put it down so that I could be a part of Lou and Wills world just a while longer... Still, weeks after reading it, the story and themes are in my thoughts every day. Once you finish this book, you by no means are done with the intricate and breathtaking story of Me Before You. An absolute classic that I am getting everyone I know to read. Thank you, Jojo Moyes for giving me this reality to escape into.
Date published: 2016-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE absolute must read Just finished my second reading of this fantastic book, in anticipation of the movie coming June 3rd. Me Before You has been a personal favourite of mine for years. I’m fairly certain I have talked to almost everyone I know about the book at some point. I have worked for Indigo for almost many years, and I am 100% serious when I say I have never received more enthusiastic, consistently positive feedback about any book recommendation I have given than I have for Me Before You. Friends, family members, co-workers – everyone makes the effort to come back and tell me how much they loved Louisa & Will’s story. This book is not your standard ‘chick lit’ – it is book about two very ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, and is written with equal parts humour and heartbreak from a very talented writer.
Date published: 2016-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Why am I not enough for you? Contains Minor Spoilers: Me Before You first grabbed my attention when it's movie trailer was first released. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I just knew that the book would make me feel that way and possibly more. So off I went asking for a copy for my birthday, after receiving a copy I wasted no time at all in starting it. I always hate when people say "Don't judge a book by it's movie.", it's usually always correct, especially in this case. By just watching the trailer, I had assumed a bunch of things when going into the book. Most of which turned out wrong. Me Before You is not primarily a romance, sure it's sort of there, but it's definitely not focused around it. Me Before You is a book of trying to convince Will to live, to show that life can still be like the way it was before the accident. With this being my first read with a quadriplegic, or really my first experience in general with one, I did not know what to expect, but it wasn't what I got. From where Will started off, to where he ended up, I understood why he didn't have the motivation anymore. To live a life of travel, adventure, and excitement then suddenly not being able to do those or really anything anymore, it was be devastating. If I were put in a similar situation, I would hope that my parents would respect my wishes. To be completely honest, I did not find anything romantic in the novel at all, it was all so bland for me. We were given a bland relationship between Louisa and her first boyfriend, then we were given the relationship that was Will and Louisa. But really, in same ways that could be only considered one sided because of the way Will treated it. Then there was the way Louisa viewed it, just because you made someone fall in life with you, that doesn't mean you're going to change their perspective of their life. Where the novel was bland, the movie trailer depicts that the film will probably be taking a different route when it comes to the story, which will probably be for the best. I'll definitely be seeing it in the near future, reading the novel's sequel on the other hand, that won't be happening. http://ohanareads.blogspot.ca/2016/03/book-review-me-before-you-by-jojo-moyes.html
Date published: 2016-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I read a lot of different types of books, and this one kept me captured. Jojo Moyes makes you fall in love with all her characters. It was definitely hard to put down. I've read many books in my lifetimes and some as sad as Fault in Our Stars and I identified them as heartbreaking but it never brought me to tears. I have never cried reading books... but this book... I was fighting hard not to. It's fortunately not the whole book that's a tear jerker but it's definitely worth a read! Love it!
Date published: 2016-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've read in a long time!!! This book definitely will hold a special place in my heart from now on. I'm generally a slow reader but I read this fairly large book in 3 days! Could not put it down! I don't think I have ever been so invested in book characters in all my life. The author writes with great flow as well. This book will make you cry however! You will cry A LOT. However, it will also make you ponder your own life. Read it people!
Date published: 2016-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it and recommended it to friends The story is great and the writing keeps you glued to the pages not wanting to put it down. Read it in 2 days. Love it and I can't wait to see the movie. More important can't wait to read the sequel After You. Waiting for it to come out in paperback and will buy it first thing.
Date published: 2016-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What A Loaded Book ... WOW Wow ... Heading into this book I was aware that it was a tearjerker; but I somehow envisioned a lighter read than this. Not to say that I was disappointed; I was completely enthralled with this novel and its characters. I felt that the author put a great amount of time and research into crafting a topical plot whilst portraying the characters and situations as accurately and fairly as possible. Moyes has really made me think about the quality of life and living to ones' potential. Additionally, through the plot Moyes has established a good argument for and against Dignitas and assisted suicide. Ultimately, "Me Before You" was an insightful and entertaining read. That being said, I did take exception to Louisa’s family. I found them to be unduly cruel to their oldest daughter; who by the way was the main breadwinner for the family. To put it simply ... I binge read "Me Before You" in just over a day. I just couldn't seem to put it down. All in all, It is fair to say that this book is one that will be sticking with me for some time. Next up I shall have to obtain a copy of the follow up, "After You."
Date published: 2016-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! It's A Must Read! I wish I've read this book earlier because this book made me feel happy and heartbroken throughout the entire book. Jojo Moyes you got me to love your characters and even cry at few times, which is hard to do. Once I picked up Me Before You, I could not put it down! Started reading it at 6pm and stayed up until 3am to finished over half of it and then finished it around 5pm the next day! I didn't expect what exactly would happen but once those tears came I cried until the end of the book. Lou our main character is living a simple life, working at a local coffee shop, lives at home with her parents in a small house. Then the coffee shop ends up closing leaving her jobless. She then finds a job as a caregiver to a paraplegic who has no function except his arm and his face. Will. What has started off as a horrible job for her turns into a love where life and death comes to the forefront. I really loved Lous as a character because she is different and can bring a smile to anyone she meets. I did not like her boyfriend Patrick, he cared too much about himself and not about his relationship with Lou. Now on to Will. *breath* I adored him. He was funny and when Lou came into his life it brighten him in ways that many would not understand. They formed a special bond then eventually bloomed slowly into romance. It felt real. There is not that insta-love that normally happens in books, and Jojo Moyes did an amazing job with his character and you can see how he did want to be strong for his parents and even for Lou (currently crying while writing this review). I even loved all the secondary characters! Me Before You is definitely one of my favorite books and has given me a new perspective to live life to the fullest because you may never know what will happen the next day. It definitely ripped my heart into little pieces near the end but it was worth it. If you haven't picked up Me Before You, go get it immediately, you will not regret it as it is one unforgettable read. It will one book that will forever be on your mind! Very excited to see the movie as well in June!
Date published: 2016-02-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ugh This was drivel of the worst kind. Every cheeseball cliche the author could throw in, was. Super predictable fluff. If you want an easy, bland read that won't challenge you in any way, go for it, but PLEASE do not go into this thinking that this is the next great read. Honestly, not even a good one. I'm giving two stars instead of one only because there weren't any obvious spelling/grammar mistakes.
Date published: 2016-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO Good I bought this book because I saw it on a bunch of book lists. And I'm a sucker for a love story. Although this book was somewhat predictable, the journey to get there was incredible. I read the book with a hope that it would have a surprise at the end, but it was amazing either way. Definitely read with a box of kleenex near the end!
Date published: 2016-01-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Easy read (3.5 stars) Easy read but a bit too predictable. It was interesting to read but not enough to convince me to read the sequel.
Date published: 2016-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Me before you This was a very good book. This was a very controversial topic about ones rights as a human being. Only we ourselves know what we can endure. I enjoyed the characters and the family life was spot on. There is some sad parts have your Kleenex ready.
Date published: 2015-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it.... One of the best book ...once u started reading it u can never put down until u finish it...
Date published: 2015-09-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read in about 2 days Great book stayed up reading at night! My first book by this author I'm now looking at which one to read next
Date published: 2015-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable; could not put it down. Absolutely fantastic; I literally could not stop reading it once I started. Highly recommend it to everyone!!!!
Date published: 2015-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loveeeeeee Lou lives her life in the most simple way, working at a coffee shop, living at home with her parents, grandpa, older sister and nephew presents a challenge in their small home, but she's learned to make it work. When the coffee shop and works at ends up closing, she's stuck with being unemployed and finding a suitable job. That job is a caregiver to a paraplegic Will who loses function in almost all parts of his body except his arm and face. What starts off as an innocent job turns into one of love where life and death are literally at ends. I didn't know what to expect with this, all I knew was that it might be a sad book. Though I didn't cry, I did tear because most of all you were gunning for something other that brutal ending. I can understand why it was done but gosh, my heart is still broken :( I loved the characters. Here are all these wonderful flawed characters who are simply broken and finding each other just makes them better. I loved this romance. It's unlike any I've read because there's no instant love at all, just instant dislike. That for me presents more of a challenging romance and I always love how the Moyes weaves in problems at every turn. I liked Lou and her ability to be sunny and bright while Will is a true pessimist. Not like you can blame him for all the pain that he's in. I pretty much disliked Patrick so that would be interesting to see how Matthew Lewis would play him. Here's a book that will pull at your heart and then rip it to pieces at the end. People warned me so I was ready but still.. I wasn't ready for the onslaught of emotions..Jojo Moyes has the ability to make you care about her characters that they become so real and memorable. Loved this one..I'm still broken by that ending.. Why oh why do adult books need to be so realistic.. *sighs* Me Before You will have readers crying for more closure even if it's something we all knew at the get-go. This is one sad depressing read but it's so full of heart that you need to pick it up and see for yourself.
Date published: 2015-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not your average love story I wanted to read the book before the movie comes out and I did not regret it. YOU NEED TO READ THAT BOOK. Its funny, its sad and heartwarming.. I loved it much more than I thought I would and already miss the characters. I can't wait for the sequel.
Date published: 2015-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read it on a dare...and loved it Ok, here's the deal with this book that I only read because I was challenged to "be less of a snob," as some people would put it. When chick-lit looking books start dealing with weighty ethical issues; AND have characters I already miss; AND cause some heartbreaking catches of your breath; AND force you, force you to stay up way past your bedtime reading and arrive at work physically and emotionally exhausted, AND end up being an excellent story all at the same time...then it's certainly worth many stars. And a sheepish admission that other people were right about it. Now excuse me while I go recuperate with some dusty Latin tome.
Date published: 2015-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from More to You "Me Before You" is chick lit, yet it isn't and has tremendous depth to it; it was predictable, but it wasn't and only followed a reasonable chain of events; it was clichéd, although who are we kidding, assisted suicide, or appreciably the term 'dying with dignity', in a chick lit story is hardly a cliché. So everything you might think of "Me Before You" won't hold up – it's a thinking person's contemporary love story that, well, guarantees a few tears at least. Like all romantic tales, the story of Louisa and Will could have gone in only two directions: a happily-ever-after, or, not. Somehow, Jojo Moyes has managed to blend both to give a bittersweet narrative, one that I'm not sure I like yet know is the only logical way to put a full stop at the end of this arc. As with the next arc in this story, I'm unsure too of what to make of the upcoming sequel, After You, yet I know it's a necessary piece to fill in.
Date published: 2015-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Um......wow No spoliers. It is just simply a fascinating book that has realistic components that makes you understand their world better. It is very easy to read. Stayed up late for 2 nights trying to get what is next. It is definitely a 'reread' type of book.
Date published: 2015-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting This is a very interesting book related to assissted suicide, as well as portraying family struggles, friendship, understanding and loss. It is beautifully written and i did not want to put it down.
Date published: 2015-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You'll Fall in Love I cried. It's a interesting story, that starts off vaguely like Beauty and the Beast to me. Young girl forced to work in a castle to help out a beastly (personality, not in looks) young man. It developed beyond that, and gravitated towards Lou's quirkiness and her own inner demons. This story took me by surprise, I thought I had the story pegged. You will thoroughly enjoy this book, but be prepared for some tears!
Date published: 2015-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book!!! One of the best books I have read in a while. A wonderful and pure love story. Keep some tissues handy. You are going to need them. Can't wait for the movie next year.
Date published: 2015-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not your average chick-lit This is the first book I read by Jojo Moyes, but it won't be last! It was beautiful, and brought me to tears (which NEVER happens). We chose it for our book club because it's an easy read, but offers much to debate/discuss. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite Love this story! The characters are so interesting and fun and ordinary but the journey is not ordinary. I laughed, cried, cheered, and was unable to set it down. The protagonist's trek is one you won't want to miss. A novel I have read 3 times to relive the experience. Loved it!
Date published: 2015-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I don't know what it is about this book, but it's so good! Seems long but one of the easiest and best reads.
Date published: 2015-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Makes you think and feel I loved the different perspectives in this book. The characters were quirky and real. I've thought about this book for months after I read it, the author was able to transport me into a different perspective that I had never thought about before and has changed the way I see people in their varying situations. This is one of the books I always recommend to others. It feels like the emotions and everything that's going on in this book are an example of what is happening to people in little tiny clusters all over the world. Me Before You gives different perspectives on how we each deal with pain, and disappointments, and love. It also brings up questions of our family; how we relate to our brothers and sisters and parents and shows how perspective can determine how we treat other people. Also I took away the thought that if we do make assumptions about people we are not necessarily actually seeing reality. I felt like this book caught me by surprise, I wasn't expecting it to have such an impact on my thinking Be careful though you could get hooked on Jojo...
Date published: 2015-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to put down I read this book as part of a book club with friends and it has become one of our favorites. I quickly became attached to the characters and found that I really cared about what happened to them. I was thoroughly engaged in the story and found it difficult to put the book down. It is in essence a love story but not a traditional one by any means, which I enjoyed. It also opened my eyes to the world of those who have disabilities. I highly recommend this book, especially for a book club because there is no shortage of topics to discuss and debate.
Date published: 2015-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Would definitely recommend. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I couldn't put it down and was sad when it was over. You will experience every emotion reading this book, well written and had me interested from the very start.
Date published: 2015-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely a keeper I have never before got close to the end of a book and began at the beginning again. I just didn't want it to end! Very thought provoking. Loved the characters. Definitely something that I will read again. I have purchased three copies to date because I can't give mine away just in case I don't get it back!
Date published: 2015-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Incredible What an incredible surprise of a book. It left me full of emotion and sleep deprived. The characters and story was capivating
Date published: 2014-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Terrific writing with sparkling touches of humour.
Date published: 2014-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! Excellent story...incredibly emotional and touching.
Date published: 2014-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story This book was recommended to me by a friend's book club and I am presenting it as my pick for my book club. It is very thought provoking and will make for interesting discussion. I really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2014-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Don't settle. Such an amazing book that really makes you think about your life. The things we take for granted.. And how we get so immersed into being comfortable..
Date published: 2014-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Have a box of tissues handy! This was my first Jojo Moyes book and I was well aware of her reputation for writing weepers. All the quotes on the back of the book seemed to confirm that I was expected to cry over this story. I enjoyed the characters and thought the plot was quite interesting and timely what with similar stories in the news lately. I kept reading and wondering if maybe the emotional impact was exaggerated. There were points that I felt sad for the characters but no tears had fallen. Then I got to the last fifty pages. Oh...my...god. I went through half a box of tissues. Okay everyone, you were right. This book is most definitely a weeper!
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Me Before You Excellent book, loved it
Date published: 2014-10-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long but good Thought provoking to say the least. Thank goodness no Hollywood ending.
Date published: 2014-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Me Before You Loved it. Great read.
Date published: 2014-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard choices A bittersweet love story between two people who would have crossed paths had it not been for a tragic accident.
Date published: 2014-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Me before you Very compelling. Could not put it down. Jojo Moves depiction of love is warm and genuine.
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Me before you Very compelling. Could not put it down. Jojo Moves depiction of love is warm and genuine.
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Most Lovely love story This is one of the best novels I have ever read. It makes you laugh and cry and feel all the emotions of the characters. I was hoping for a miracle but understood where the end would take me. A truly wonderful love story I will treasure and highly recommend.
Date published: 2014-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Me Before You Great read. Get kleenex.
Date published: 2014-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Me Before You I have never sshed an actual tear wgen ready a book. Jojo Moyes had me on the edge of my seat and in tears
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it I just finished this book (at 2 am)! It was a wonderful read. Such intricate character development and a thought-provoking story line. But it, you'll be glad you did.
Date published: 2014-05-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read. Good story, but somewhat predictable plot and resolution. Critics repeatedly mentioned it brought strong emotions throughout the story. I did not find it that much emotion-stirring. However, it does bring forth important issues such as end-of-life care and assisted-suicide.  
Date published: 2014-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartfelt! A friend recommended this book to me and I have never been so touched emotionally from a book before. Reading it has forever touched my heart.
Date published: 2014-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very reflective of the story line. First read by Jojo Moyes and I must say , wow! Beautiful, touching story that I have already suggested to everyone I know. A great buy for sure.
Date published: 2013-12-16

– More About This Product –

Me Before You: A Novel

Me Before You: A Novel

by Jojo Moyes

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.8 in

Published: July 30, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0143124544

ISBN - 13: 9780143124542

Read from the Book

Praise for Me Before YouABOUT THE AUTHORTO CHARLES, WITH LOVEACKNOWLEDGMENTSThank you to my agent, Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown, and to my editor at Penguin UK, Mari Evans, both of whom immediately saw this book for what it was—a love story.Special thanks to Maddy Wickham, who encouraged me at a point when I was not sure whether I could, or should, actually write it.At Penguin USA, I would like to thank my fantastic editors Pamela Dorman and Julie Miesionczek, as well as Clare Ferraro, president of Viking, who has been such a strong supporter of this book. At Penguin UK, I would also particularly like to thank Louise Moore, Clare Ledingham, and Shân Morley Jones.Thanks to the wonderful team at Curtis Brown, especially Jonny Geller, Tally Garner, Katie McGowan, Alice Lutyens, and Sarah Lewis, for enthusiasm and fine agenting.Huge gratitude to all on the Writersblock board—my own private Fight Club. Minus the Fighty bit.Similarly to India Knight, Sam Baker, Emma Beddington, Trish Deseine, Alex Heminsley, Jess Ruston, Sali Hughes, Tara Manning, and Fanny Blake.Thanks to Lizzie and Brian Sanders, and to Jim, Bea, and Clemmie Moyes. But most of all, as ever, to Charles, Saskia, Harry, and Lockie.Table of ContentsPrologue2007When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed. She is wearing one of his T-shirts, and her long hair is tousled in a way that prompts reflexive thoughts of the
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From the Publisher

The New York Times bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture; US release on June 3, 2016.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

About the Author

Jojo Moyes is the New York Times bestselling author of After You, Me Before YouOne Plus OneThe Girl You Left BehindThe Last Letter from Your LoverSilver BayThe Ship of Brides and Honeymoon in Paris.  She lives with her husband and three children in Essex, England.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for ME BEFORE YOU:"A hilarious, heartbreaking, riveting novel . . . I will stake my reputation on this book."—Anne Lamott, People Magazine“When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it. . . . an affair to remember.”—New York Times Book Review, Liesl Schillinger“An unlikely love story . . . To be devoured like candy, between tears.”—O, The Oprah Magazine“Funny and moving but never predictable.”—USA Today (****)“Funny, surprising and heartbreaking, populated with characters who are affecting and amusing . . . This is a thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining novel that captures the complexity of love”—People Magazine“Masterful . . . a heartbreaker in the best sense . . . Me Before You is achingly hard to read at moments, and yet such a joy.”—New York Daily News“READ IT AND WEEP: Heartbreak collides with humor in Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You.”—Good Housekeeping“There are books that you cannot put down. There are also books where you become so invested in the characters, you force yourself to stop reading to prolong the experience because you don't want the story to end, and that's what can happen when you read Jojo Moyes' latest book, Me Before You. . . . You'll find yourself laughing, smiling, feeling angry and, yes, crying. My only suggestion: Me Before You should be sold with a pack of tissues.”—The Associated Press"Jojo Moyes has written the perfect modern love story.  You will be astonished at what you feel, and what you hope for when
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Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION
“The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life—or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window—is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are” (p. 58).

Louisa Clark never wanted to leave her job at the Buttered Bun. After six years, she felt secure in the routine of making tea and chatting with the café’s regulars. But when her boss closes the business, the unskilled twenty–six–year–old must take a new job as a paid companion to a wealthy ex-Master of the Universe, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Prickly and embittered, Will Traynor nonetheless opens Louisa’s eyes to the limitations she has imposed upon her life—and the infinite possibilities that only love can awaken.

A few short years earlier, Will was a major corporate player who bought and sold companies for obscene profits. He climbed mountains and dated cover girls. All that changed after a speeding motorcycle crushed his spine. Paralyzed from the neck down and even unable to feed himself, Will’s life as he knows it is over—and he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Louisa feels intimidated by Will, his commanding mother, Camilla, and the Traynors’ grand home, but the position pays a lot more than her waitressing job did and her family doesn’t hesitate to remind Lou that she has few options otherwise.

At first, Will resents Louisa’s very presence. When he destroys a shelf full of pictures, Louisa tries to repair the damage. Furious, he lashes out, “It would be nice—just for once—if someone paid attention to what I wanted. Me smashing those photographs was not an accident” (p. 56). Yet, the blowout is a turning point. Louisa stops trying to second guess Will’s decisions, but also refuses to bear the brunt of his frustration.

Louisa is accustomed to putting herself last. Her parents never hid the fact that they considered Louisa’s younger sister, Treena, to be the more intelligent sibling. Patrick—Louisa’s boyfriend of six years—is a self–absorbed personal trainer concerned only with his performance in the next triathlon. As she and Will grow closer, he convinces her that she deserves more respect from everyone in her life, including herself. Still, Lou has her reasons for wanting things to stay the same as they have always been.

When Lou learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. She begins researching technologies that can give him more autonomy and looking for outings that he might find appealing. Each for the other’s sake, Louisa and Will push beyond their comfort zones and, in turn, change each other in ways that neither could ever have anticipated.

As inspiring as it is heartbreaking, Me Before You is Jojo Moyes’s international bestselling breakout novel—and the captivating tale of two people whose improbable romance sets them both free.



ABOUT JOJO MOYES

Jojo Moyes was raised in London. She writes for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Red and Woman & Home. She’s married to Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian. They live with their three children on a farm in Essex, England.



A CONVERSATION WITH JOJO MOYES

Q. What was the inspiration behind Me Before You?

It was a number of things. I had two close relatives who were dependent on twenty–four–hour care, and the issue of quality of life and how we behave around the severely disabled was high in my mind. But the novel was really spurred by a news story I heard, about a young rugby player who was left quadriplegic after an accident and who persuaded his parents to take him to Dignitas, the Swiss clinic, to allow him to go through with an assisted suicide. I couldn’t believe any parent would agree to do that—and yet the more I read up on his story, the more I realized the issue was not as clear–cut as I would have liked to believe.

Q. With Louisa and Treena, you perfectly captured the love–hate relationship that sisters often share. Do you have sisters yourself?

I have half sisters, who are much younger than I am. I’ve always been fascinated by their relationship and the relationships some of my friends have with their sisters. What I’m most captivated by is that ability to be at each other’s throats one moment and yet totally bonded and presenting a united front in the next. If you are an only child, as I was for nineteen years, that kind of relationship is pretty mesmerizing.

Q. The novel reflects an in–depth knowledge of the issues related to quadriplegia. What kind of research did you do? Were some of the characters in the quadriplegic chat rooms based on real people?

The chat room characters are an amalgam of attitudes that I heard online. And I had a lot of personal experience from within my own family and friends as to how people treat the disabled, and of some of the issues they face.

As far as other research goes, there are quads who upload footage of their daily routines to the Internet, and this was a great help in making sure I could accurately represent some of the procedures. I’ve had a lot of carers and families of quadriplegics contact me since the book was published [in the UK], and I have been relieved that they thought I had represented their lives accurately.

Q. Louisa narrates the first third of the novel, but the remainder is divided between various other characters, including Treena and Mr. Traynor. Why did you choose to organize it this way?

In the early part of the novel I wanted the reader to go through a journey of almost blind discovery with Lou, and to feel as out of their depth as she does. Later, I thought it was important for the other characters’ dilemmas to become a bit more three–dimensional. The only person whose mind I couldn’t enter was Will’s, because I wanted his intentions to be one of the central tensions of the book.

Q. Whose voice did you find easiest to write? Whose was the most difficult?

Unusually (for me), I found them all easy, possibly because they were so different, and because they were each so clear in my head. The hardest was actually Treena, because she was the closest to Lou, and I needed them to be distinct from each other.

Q. Treena can’t relate to the way Louisa feels about Will because she’s never really been in love before. She can only do so by imagining the way she would feel if her son, Thomas, were in Will’s situation. Maeve Binchy’s death revived the ongoing debate about whether a woman writer needs to have children in order to really understand the human condition. Where do you weigh in?

Oh gosh. That’s a toughie. I have writer friends who would kill me if I dared to suggest they couldn’t imagine their way into some aspect of the human condition because they’d never given birth. But all major life experiences will change you as a writer—they have to. I acknowledge that when I had children I personally felt like I’d lost a layer of skin, and I do wonder whether that visceral level of love and fear does somehow feed its way through into your writing. I know it does into other aspects of my life.

Q. You’re a two–time winner of the Romance Novelists Association Book of the Year Award. What do you think distinguishes a really great romance novel from a merely good one?

For me, it’s steering away from the obvious; also, perhaps to take the reader into settings where she might not normally go, whether that be into the past, or some extreme situation.

Q. Do you like reading romances as well as writing them? Who are some of your favorite writers?

I don’t tend to read romances per se, but I read across all sorts of genres and most of what I read has a love story at the heart of it (don’t most books?). Some of my favorite writers include Kate Atkinson, Nora Ephron, and Barbara Kingsolver. More recently I loved The Hunger Games trilogy and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.

Q. You’ve been writing fiction for more than a decade, but your previous book, The Last Letter from Your Lover, won you the attention of a much wider audience. Has your suddenly higher profile changed the way you write?

It’s made it harder! I find I’m questioning what I’m doing from a much earlier stage: Is this plotline going to tie me in knots later? Is this character relatable? Is this story too slow getting going? I feel like ten books in, I’m only just learning my craft.

Q. What are you working on now?

My new book, The Girl You Left Behind, is set in modern–day London and in Occupied France in 1916 and will be published next year in the States. I’m also 40,000 words into a new book, but I’m at the stage where I’m doing as much thinking as writing.



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS


   1.  If you were Louisa, would you have quit working for the Traynors? If yes, at what point?

   2.  Were you able to relate to the way Will felt after his accident? What about his outlook on life did you find most difficult to understand or accept?

   3.  Discuss the meaning of the novel’s title. To whom do the “me” and “you” refer?

   4.  Louisa often finds Mrs. Traynor cold and judgmental. Is there an appropriate way to behave in Mrs. Traynor’s situation?

   5.  What is your opinion of Mr. Traynor? Did it change after you read his side of the story?

   6.  Why is Louisa able to reach Will when so many others could not?

   7.  Were you as surprised as Lou to learn of Will’s plans?

   8.  Compare Louisa’s relationship with Treena to Will’s relationship with Georgina. Do siblings know one another any better simply because they are related?

   9.  Would Patrick have asked Louisa to move in with him if he hadn’t felt threatened by Will? If Louisa had never accepted her job with the Traynors, where would her relationship with Patrick have gone?

   10.  Discuss Louisa’s own secret ties to the castle. Would most girls in her situation have blamed themselves? Should Treena have behaved differently in the aftermath?

   11.  What did you make of the way Lou’s mother, Josie, judges Lou’s decisions regarding Will. Is Josie’s reaction fair?

   12.  Before his accident, Will was a philanderer and a corporate raider who would probably never have given Louisa a second look. Why is it that people are so often unable to see what’s truly important until they’ve experienced loss?