Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

Now, you're probably wondering "how does she have time to read all her memoirs AND a work of fiction? Simple..BOOKS ON CDS. They're genius. And life changing for someone who spends 1.5-2 hours in a car every day. (traffic is the worst)

Today's review is about a story called:

From the author's WEBSITE: 

"Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than her 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 he is not interested in exploring a new one.

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, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

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? 

First of all, this will probably contain spoilers - so read at your own risk.

Second, I chose this book because I liked the cover. Honest. I like the scroll writing and colors - it works for me. And then I read the synopsis on the back jacket, and was instantly hooked there too. So all around, it's a good book cover :)

The story itself introduces you to a woman who I would describe (as I see her in my head) as the modern day, Muggle version of Tonks. (if you don't know who that is, I can't help you..) She is unassuming, normal, and one who doesn't enjoy attention, but wears her eye popping clothes like armor. She lives a normal life with parents and friends and a boyfriend - until she loses her job (at a cafe..why does every heroine these days work in a cafe or book store?) and is forced into the world of unemployment. It started to feel a little too close to home at this point. Losing jobs, unassuming naturally, I was into it. Being my life story and all. Kidding.
The only job available ends up being a care taker position for a quadriplegic man. I won't continue to tell you exactly what happens in the above synopsis (you have to read for yourself!), but she is thrown into a whole new world. One where she has no idea what she's doing, but does it anyway out of a desire to take care of her family. With hard times upon them, she is the main breadwinner - at 26 - with her parents, younger sister and young nephew in the house besides.

Each day the job begins to be easier (only really from a job stand point), and her relationship with Will (the quadriplegic) grows. They find things in each other that they were never sure they needed. It may sound like a cheesy, done-and-redone love story - but I beg to differ. Moyes brings about characters, story lines and view points that I'm unclear myself on - including assisted suicide, questions of right and wrong, and marital affairs. Some are included in their love story, some are unfair additions to their lives - as it usually is in real life. You know, since life is tough and so you should get a helmet - that kind of thing.

And lo and behold, it takes great care in bringing out the question and thought process of: does God bring people into your life to change you or to change them? Which, I think is something we're never really going to be sure of until we ask him ourselves.

1// "You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."

My parents are big proponents of "being a steward" - and being a good steward of your time is brought up when we have conversations about it. Doing everything to the best of your abilities and living well is two things we are called to do - whether you're a Christian or not. Whether you think you should or not. It's pure fact - you're called to do those things because that's being a decent human being. Not wasting something as precious as life..that's your calling.

2// “I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.” 

This quote really has nothing to do with the whole story, but since music is such a BIG part of who I am - I think it's a great depiction of the power of music. The power that it brings to life - to change it, to make it bigger, to smash it in one hundred pieces and glue it back together again.

3// “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. Or how you might seem to other people.”

Change is something we humans aren't good at. It's something we pretend to be good at - we tell people we "thrive" in it. There's growth in change. We're thrown into the unexpected, sometimes with force and we're not prepared. We're not prepared to thrive. We're not prepared to grow..but sometimes, we do. Sometimes it's so small that we don't even notice it until it happens two years later in a different time and a different place - and we're able to make a different decision. Moyes says change makes you "rethink your idea of who you are" - and I think she's right. But I think that's when you truly change - when you're forced to take a good, hard look at who you are and where you want to go from that point. And then you place one foot in front of the other and you do.

You should read it if you're into a great love story. Not some bull shit story about vampires and wolves and 50 shades of something. A story about a girl who has been kicked out of the life she knows for something and someone else, and develops a relationship with another human who has been kicked the same way. And sometimes, when you think you're changing someones life - when you're really making a difference, you become a whole new person. Someone you never thought you'd be, but need to be anyway..and that's the best thing someone can give you in this life. 


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