Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
In “Me Before You,” Jojo Moyes writes an emotional story about adventure and sacrifice. We follow a journey of finding love among incredible loss and learn what it truly means to put others before yourself.
The novel’s protagonist is 35-year-old Will Traynor. For more than a decade Traynor was an adventurer of the world. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, explored the peaks and valleys of Yosemite and traveled to far away places that some can only dream of. He would have been happy doing this for the rest of his life.
At the age of 33, Traynor was hit by a motorcycle as he was getting into a taxi. This accident left him as a quadriplegic and angry against everyone and everything. His life, once filled with excitement and thrill, is now confined to a wheelchair. To make matters even worse, Trayner is forced to move back in with his parents, as he is incapable of living on his own.
After two years of doctors and physiotherapy, Traynor has no intention of coming to terms with what his life now looks like. All he knows is that he has lost control of it. He can no longer dress, feed or bathe himself. Traveling is out of the question unless it is wheelchair friendly and even if it is, he isn’t capable of going anywhere on his own.
It is at this time that Traynor makes the decision to contact the Dignitas in Switzerland and end his own life. When his parents learn of his plan, they strike a deal with him. In exchange for a trip to Switzerland, they ask for six more months with him.
Once this deal is set in place, Louisa Clark enters the novel. Employed by Traynor’s parents as a secondary home health aid, Clark’s job is to change their son’s mind in the last six months of his life. The only hiccup in their plan is that they keep it a secret from her.
Louisa Clark is a 26-year-old girl who is energetic, full of positivity and resilient; three things that Will Traynor has lost after his accident. She is untouched by Will’s newfound sense of bitterness and anger. More importantly, she is able to bring out hope and happiness that is buried deep in Will that his parents cannot.
As Louisa and Will spend time together, they form a bond a friendship and eventually affection. They share laughs and make memories that neither one can forget. However, as the six month mark approaches, Will struggles to make his decision. Although his life is considerably more enjoyable than it was half a year ago, he has to choose if it is a life worth living.
The reasons why I chose to read this book and why I love it are two different answers. I chose to read “Me Before You” because a few of my family members strongly recommended it. However, I love this book because it objectively addresses a very difficult subject matter. I haven’t read another book that talks about a topic as dense as self-assisted suicide without imparting some sense of bias.
I also love this book because it pushes boundaries. Moyes writes about a controversial matter in an in-depth way while redefining the term sacrifice. She looks at this idea from the perspective of Traynor’s parents, Clark, and of course, Will Traynor himself. Moyes goes farther than classic phrase “If you love them, you’ll let them go” by taking people’s emotions into play. She recognizes that some things are easier said than done which especially applies to her story.
“Me Before You” is a novel unlike any other out on the shelves today. It makes you think about what really matters in life and forces you to think about all the hard choices life throws at you. Also, if this review doesn’t persuade you to read Moyes’ book, maybe knowing that it is coming to the theaters this year will.