Review: Bracing for the ugly cry at ‘Me Before You’
In anticipation for the movie coming out, I wanted to read the book, “Me Before You,” written by Jojo Moyes. I saw the trailer for the movie — it featured Sam Claflin from “The Hunger Games” and Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones.”
The trailer looked adorable — she was cute, quirky and awkward and the term, “fashion forward” doesn’t quite cover it. He was angry, handsome and had dry sarcasm dripping from every sentence he spoke. It’s a solid couple worth watching on the big screen. But it looked like a movie I was going to ugly cry at, and I just needed to prepare myself for that so I didn’t embarrass myself horribly.
I made a solid choice.
The book focuses on Louisa Clark, a young woman in her mid-20s who, for all practical purposes, is stuck in a relationship that’s not going anywhere. She has a loving family (she still lives with) but is overshadowed by her sister’s success. Meanwhile, Louisa works a job she got on a dare — and subsequently kept longer than necessary.
Will Traynor used to be a highly successful businessman who is not shy around the ladies, and loved to live life to the fullest. However, he was involved in an accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down, completely dependent upon his nurse and parents to help him with the most trivial tasks.
After Louisa is let go from her job, she finds her way to Traynor’s home. Will’s mother offers Louisa a six-month contract to be Will’s caregiver, a friend of sorts.
Will’s less than excited for Louisa — who shows up in ridiculously bright patterns of clothing that don’t match — throughout the book and originally adds to Will’s frustration toward his new “friend.”
Louisa’s instructions from Will’s mom is to never let him be alone for more than 15 minutes, since he has tried to kill himself in the past. The man is depressed and looks out the window most days.
Eventually, Louisa decides that Will needs to see he can continue living life even while being a quadriplegic.
She decides to take him traveling — since that was one of the things he did before the accident.
For the general part of the story, this is the focus of the book.
The most important thing Will teaches Louisa is to live life. She is stuck in her small town, with her selfish boyfriend and is not allowing herself to dream beyond what’s in the immediate future.
The issue, and the thing coming up now that the movie was released, is Will has decided to end his life via assisted suicide. He doesn’t view his dependency on everyone else as a life worth living.
The book is not focused on the controversial topic of assisted suicide like so many articles make it seem. It’s about two people from very different backgrounds — both socially and economically — finding a bond.
Moyes does not, in my opinion, take a stance that assisted suicide is the only choice for quadriplegic people. In fact, there are many scenes in the book where Louisa is talking in a forum online with others like Will. They are saying while it’s challenging, life absolutely goes on and can go on for those who choose to embrace it.
I hope people don’t avoid the movie or book for the negative publicity being circulated about this issue. It was a great read, and there is a sequel for those who wish to continue the story.
I won’t ruin the ending, but there were definitely tears shed when I watched the movie. Reading the book helped me to mentally prepare myself and avoid ugly crying.
—Cherise Kaechele, Go!