Thursday, July 10, 2014


    Distiller: Hikari Loftus
    Drink: "Lesbian Tea"

    Me Before You
    by Jojo Moyes
    Pamela Dorman Books (December 31, 2012)
    384 pages

    It's been awhile since I had some time to sit down with a book in the last two weeks, and I'm glad that Me Before You was the first book I picked up after being so busy and tired. 

Louisa "Lou" Clark is a 26 year old girl with eccentric clothing taste, an inability to disguise her feelings, and is content with her small town life. She's had her job at the Buttered Bun cafe and her boyfriend, Patrick, for six years and is happy to continue on the path she is on. 

But as her father would tell you, the best laid plans or intentions never work out. Frank, the owner of the Buttered Bun, tells Louisa he's closing up the cafe for good... tomorrow. And in a second, Lou has lost her job and her financially struggling family has lost her supporting income. 

After some searching, and a horrific work trial in a chicken butchering factory, Lou finds herself earning a smart buck caring for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Will's family is extremely wealthy, and Will became equally wealthy in his own right before his accident. He lived to travel, see the world, experience new things... until being hit by a motorcycle severed his spinal cord and left him with an inability to do almost anything by himself. 

I quickly filed this story under "cliche plot line" when I started reading it. I knew exactly where it was going to go from the start: Louisa starts working with Will, Will is terrible, horrible, etc. etc. They do not get along, they hate each other... over time things morph into friendship, then love... 

Yes, I filed this story under cliche the moment Will and Louisa meet for the first time. 

HOWEVER, I was enjoying myself so much through the reading that I found I didn't care in the slightest. Moyes did the character development and both Will and Louisa's character development arcs so well I was completely invested. I felt like I knew them very well. I felt like I was friends with them. I felt like I was in love with Will and maybe Louisa too. ha. 

Then, as the story goes on, the true plot line is discovered. This is no cliche romance, people. This isn't a story about flirting or sex. This isn't a romance that focuses every second on two people being in love. This is a story about how love happens for most people in reality. Love happens organically, slowly, surprisingly. There is discovery, true friendship, deep connections, understanding and awareness. In the last scenes of the books I felt like I was reading about the kind of love that comes with a few years, familiarity, and shared experiences. Not the rushed, breathless, whirlwind passions we some times read about (and love to read about) in YA or other Adult romances. Of course the way things played out had everything to do with Will's physical abilities and the nature of their relationship, but it was beautiful nonetheless. 

Also, can I just say something about Adult fiction and the "F" word? I feel like it's littered all over the place and I'm not really a fan of how everything has to be "f-ing this" or "f-ing that". I feel like it's needless, classless, tasteless, etc.  Anyway, the F-word came up exactly 4 times in Me Before You and I liked how it was used every time. A carefully placed swearword can be quite powerful, I think, and if Moyes was going to use it, I think she used it well. The first time I came up I wanted to fist pump.

I did have a hard time with some of the English slang or references, so if you're not English you might want to brush up on what a crisp, chip, biscuit, and tenner are. There weren't very many that I didn't already know or couldn't figure out quickly with context, but it did take me a minute to sort some things out.

The only thing that I didn't enjoy were the four chapters from Mr. and Mrs.Traynor, Nathan, and Treena. They each took a single chapter in their view point and it didn't make any sense to me. Their perspectives didn't add anything and were distracting from the story. And since there was no notation that Lou picked up again in the following chapter, it took me a bit to figure out who was talking. I could have done without those chapters.

I felt like this was a quick read, and maybe that was because it was so easy to get lost in the story. Moyes will certainly make you feel a lot of feels. She even had me in tears. This is a moving story and a honest romance that will make you reconsider how you are living your life, and if you can live it more fully. It will dare you to try something that "just isn't you" and not let your fear let experiences pass you by. 

Will complains to Louisa that for someone who had worked in a cafe for six years, she makes an awful cup of tea. 

"You're just used to lesbian tea," I said. "All that lapsang, souchong herbal stuff."
"Lesbian tea!" He almost choked. "Well it's better than this stair varnish. You could stand a spoon up in that."

I recommend drinking a nice cup of tea, Louisa's Lesbain dubbed variety, since Will wasn't really a fan of the other stuff. haha. 


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