Me Before You (Book) Review 

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“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.” ~ Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

I’m three or four books down on the 20 Book Summer Challenge and I think that’s okay. Perhaps 20 was a little ambitious but I’ll do what I can.

I particularly enjoyed this book, spending much of a Saturday in bed devouring it. I should say I found this surprising, as I hadn’t expected to like it that much.

I’m not a massive “chick-lit” fan (doesn’t that term just stick in your craw?) but I love Marian Keyes, Dawn French‘s lovely novels and a cheeky bit of Jenny Colgan, especially as Autumn turns to Winter and thoughts turn to Christmas cookies and hot chocolates by the window.

Apart from those though, I often find myself swerving the sugared almond covers of books ‘like that’ in favour of the reds and blacks of crime and thrillers. So, imagine my bemusement when I couldn’t put this one down.

I went out for brunch and spent an hour in the gym but all the time I was out and about, I was thinking about Lou Clark and Will Traynor.

WHUT?

*Beware spoilers* (I’m really going to try not to).

Lou Clark is a 26-year-old woman living with her working class family. Recently unemployed after the cafe she’s happily worked in for years closes, she has no idea what she wants to do. I mean, there aren’t that many options for a girl with no qualifications but she could train as a PT and then work with her boyfriend Patrick – but is that what she really wants?

Things at home aren’t great either, given that her income was a great help to her parents. Poor Mr Clark is on the verge of losing his own job to redundancy so when a new opportunity pops up to be a carer for a quadriplegic man, Lou feels she really should take it. Turns out she’ll be caring for Will Traynor, a former banker paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.

With no experience to speak of, Lou is surprised to be offered this job by prickly Camilla Traynor and her husband, Steven. But Camilla assures her she has been hired to brighten his spirits and not for her professional skills.

Can you guess the rest?

Actually, that’s unfair. Although this is a romantic story with a predictable (to a point) plot line, it really doesn’t lose anything from that. If anything it’s as comfortable as one of those crocheted blankets your nan used to make (well, not my Nana) but a really nice soft one. And, I didn’t know the whole story as I went in so there was enough there to keep me hooked.

I won’t reveal too much but I will say that there is more to this story than just boy meets girl, boy is mean to girl at first then they get on and girl cheers boy up. Lou quickly learns that her expected role in Will’s life comes with far more responsibility than she thought. Once she learns just how unhappy Will is and, in turn how far his parents and sister would go to change that, she commits hard.

With the help of her family and Will’s, will Lou be able to make Will value his life again? And how will she cope when her long-term relationship begins to feel less important to her as a result?

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My Thoughts:

I thought I may have become immune to a story that didn’t have at least one horrible murder in it but I’m kind of glad that good and wholesome can still hold my attention. I very much enjoyed my time in this world, identifying with Lou’s lack of direction, getting annoyed at her thoughtless boyfriend and just wishing for the epic happy ending to end all happy endings. Whether I got that I’ll keep to myself.

Revision: I should add somewhere that there is a more serious underlying topic here which not everyone will agree with. Without spoilering, there’s a decision made by a central character that I certainly wasn’t expecting to actually happen, nor did I agree with. I’ll leave it there.

Jojo is a decent writer who shapes her characters well. Some of it is a little whimsical but I don’t mind a bit of whimsy every now and again. In fact, now more than ever I feel like I need a regular injection of it, though this comes with a side order of weepy.

Thankfully for me there is now a film adaptation (in cinemas now) starring Mother of Dragon’s herself Emilia Clarke AND a motherfucking sequel (After You, released 30 June) so there’s plenty more to enjoy over the next month.

10/10 would recommend if you’re open to a bit of cheese (more like 8/10 but who’s counting?). There are worse ways to spend a rainy Saturday, that’s for shiz.

Book details:

Me Before You
Publisher: Michael Joseph; 01 edition (5 Jan. 2012)
ISBN-10: 0718157834
ISBN-13: 978-0718157838
Bought paperback (new)

Have you read this book? What did you think? I’d be interested in your view, good or bad.

Also, I’m going to take myself to see the movie tomorrow afternoon (and so I can cry freely without being ribbed), anyone else seen it yet? ❤

20 Books of Summer

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Every single Summer I fantasise about lying in a beautiful park reading beneath a huge shady tree to my heart’s content. This more or less never happens but maybe this will be the year.

Since I’m enforcing a No Shopping ban upon myself for the next two months (have I mentioned that?), I’ll be looking for thrifty ways to entertain myself until August and this might just be it.

Thanks to Cathy of 746 Books for the idea, I am totally in. 20 books is an awful lot and they’re supposed to be done between 1 June and 5 September but I will try my damnedest to stick to the plan. For the record, that’s 20 books in three months or 7 books a month for 3 months (give or take)!

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Image via Unsplash

I’ve been a bit lame about my choices and simply picked from the ‘To Read’ side of my bookcase. Turns out there was a lot of good stuff chilling there. I’ve been buying books and then forgetting about them a lot. Which is frankly criminal and must stop.

Here are my 20 books:

  1. In a Dark Dark Wood – Ruth Ware. I love crime and this ticks that box nicely. I’m also drawn to the fading friendship element, something I understand all to well. Let’s hope this really is the ‘Crime Novel of the Year’.

  2. The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter. “Fairy tales reimagined for feminist times” – what’s not to like about that? Taking inspiration from some of my favourite fairy tales, including the sinister as all fuck Bluebeard, this is right up my street. I cannot wait.

  3. Capital – John Lanchester. This tale was recently turned into a BBC series which I didn’t see but it caught my attention anyway. Plus, both my brother and mother recommended it. The residents of a London street all receive the same mysterious note through their doors: We Want What You Have. But who sent it and what does it mean?

  4. Killer Next Door – Alex Marwood. I read The Wicked Girls, also by Marwood and enjoyed it, even though it’s very odd. I don’t even know what this one is about but I suspect that there’s a clue in the title.

  5. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. This has been on my shelf for so long and I’m not sure why I haven’t yet picked it up. Sometimes I struggle with period pieces but this comes highly praised, so we’ll see, won’t we?

  6. The Sisters – Claire Douglas. The tale of twin sisters, one dead and one alive following a tragic accident. I’m drawn to this because I find the whole twin thing naturally unsettling and how can I resist a deeply hidden family secret?

  7. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks. I know it’s pretty bad that I haven’t read this one yet, given that it’s a bit of an oddball classic, but there we are. Glynn read it a few years back and raves about it so this is another one I can’t wait to dig into.

  8. Feed: The Newsflesh Trilogy: Book 1 – Mira Grant. Zombie infection, two bloggers and a conspiracy theory, I’m into this concept and have had this waiting for me for over a year. Glad to be getting to it, finally.

  9. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen. This is heralded as Austen’s Gothic parody and draws my interest because it promises lots of twists and turns, mystery and decrepit old castles. Count me in, boi.

  10. The Hourglass Factory – Lucy Ribchester. This was recommended to me by my friend Helga. Set in 1912 against the backdrop of the Suffragette movement, Journalist Frankie is sent to interview a trapeze artist and becomes obsessed. Mystery and suspense entail – and I’m fully here for it.

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    Image via Unsplash
  11. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith. I’ve already read the second Cormoran Strike novel, The Silkworm because I was given it and honestly, I really enjoyed myself. So I’m going back to the first. I think I might have a thing for Strike, ngl.

  12. Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey. Dementia scares the living shit out of me so I think this will be a hard read, even though it’s won heaps of awards and will be great. It tells the story of Maud, who’s very forgetful. Yet, despite this fact she knows one thing: her friend Elizabeth is missing and somewhere deep inside her mind is the secret to an age old mystery. Oooooh.

  13. Clown Girl – Monica Drake. I read somewhere that Kristen Wiig is attached to the film version of this novel and that can only mean one thing: I’m going to dig it. The heroine is Nita, a clown in the midst of a crisis as she navigates poverty, clown fetishism and heart ache.

  14. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler. You’ve gotta love a fucked up family and it sounds like Rosemary’s can give mine and yours a run for their money.

  15. The Road – Cormac McCarthy. I asked Tom at work what his favourite book was and he said this. I haven’t seen the film adaptation so all I know is that the story contains cannibalism. I loved No Country for Old Men though so I’m hopeful I’ll enjoy this.

  16. My Friend Leonard – James Frey. The follow on from A Million Little Pieces (which I’ve previously reviewed here), this focuses on the paternal relationship between James and former rehab buddy, Leonard. Leonard leads something of a criminal lifestyle – how will that impact James’ quest to rebuild his life?

  17. Filth – Irvine Welsh. Another familiar story, as we’ve reviewed the film adaptation previously for the collab. However, I love Irvine Welsh (even though his language can be difficult to get into) and I’m intrigued to see what the book adds to my life. Probably quite a lot. The story of DS Bruce Robinson is peppered with sex, drugs, violence and anything else you can think of (not that you utter perv!) but at the core is a heartbreak that explains (almost) everything.

  18. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes. Just about to be a film starring Emilia Clarke, this has been all over the place for a long time. I don’t know how I’ll enjoy it as I’m not a huuuge chick lit fan but I’m still curious. In short, everything changes when Lou Clark meets Will Traynor. A bit of popcorn never ever hurt anyone, right?

  19. Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll. I’m expecting this to be a difficult read given that Knoll has revealed she was gang raped during her teens. Not only that but she suffered horrific bullying afterwards. So to have written a work of fiction based on her own life experience seems incredibly brave to me. Dreading it but also keen to know what it’s like.

  20. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. I’ve wanted to read Yanagihara’s ALL for ages, as Twitter seems to have been awash with appreciators. Then I saw it on Mum’s nightstand, so I’ve nabbed it for myself (relax ma, I bought my own copy). Amazon describes this as “an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.” Which sounds pretty intense. I might treat myself to this as my last book.

    So that’s what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. I reserve the right to change my mind about any of these books and replace them, although I’m not allowed to buy any new ones, so it will have to be a gift or a lend!

    Anyone else up for joining me? ❤

    UPDATE: My dear friend Lightle has signed up for a 10 book challenge and I’m stoked as shit for it!