2016 so far for me has been a year for actually attempting to keep up with popular new releases and getting to grips with bestsellers from the past few years. As the trailers for the film of You Before Me look absolutely stunning, and this book has been recommended to me time and time again, I HAD to give it a go. And let's just say I wasn't disappointed. I was told before I started that *spoiler alert* it is a bit of a tear jerker, but I never expected to be the sobbing mess that I was at the end of this book. Me Before You definitely takes you on an emotional journey, and teaches you some incredible lessons. If you want to read a book that will change your perspective on the world, this is one to go for.
When Lou loses her job at a local cafe - the only form of employment she's had in the last six years - she's at an utter loss as to what to do. Her parents rely on her for her income, as she still lives with them at the ripe age of 27: she needs to do something (anything) to support them. After a series of horrific placements at the hands of the job centre, Lou finally attends an interview for a carer position. Unsure why they want her as she has absolutely no previous experience, Lou is more than shocked to discover she has the job.
Lou is now the daily carer of Will Traynor, a quadriplegic who largely cannot control his body beneath his chest. Initially he behaves hatefully to her, seeing her as simply another attempt by his mother to control his life; a life that he already has such limited control over. Will was once a rich businessman, used to going on swanky holidays, having the hottest girl on his arm and not having to worry about the future. That is, until the accident. Now Will is in constant pain and can no longer do anything he once enjoyed.
After overhearing Will's mum and sister talking, Lou realises she hasn't simply been hired as a carer, but as a babysitter and saviour. Will's unhappiness with his current condition has led to an agreement between him and his mother: he will try to find a light at the end of the tunnel within six months, but if he still can't he is going to go to Dignitas to be euthanised. Lou is horrified when she finds out and considers handing in her notice before realising that she might be the one chance he has to survive. She sets out to change his mind in the time they have left - but will it be enough?
Final thoughts and recommendation
I absolutely love this book. If you're a fan of rom-coms or a heavy duty chick flick, then this is definitely something you should give a go. It also does an incredible job at understanding the trauma of having a body that does not comply to your wishes. I believe that Will's character is incredibly well written and does justice to the tricky topic of being a quadriplegic.
Have you read it? What did you think?