Since I’m a writer, I thought my very first blog post should discuss the written word (although not my own). Thus, I’m kicking things off with a reading recommendation. To that end, let me tell you about Me Before You, by JoJo Moynes.
I’ve read close to 200 books this past year, and this is the best of the lot. I picked it up at ten p.m., kept reading until my eyes glazed over, and then picked it up again as soon I woke up the next morning. If you enjoy author Jodi Picoult’s work, you will probably also like this book.
For those who’ve never heard of it (gasp), this is the book jacket summary:
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour.
And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
Ms. Moynes delves into difficult territory (quadriplegia, euthanasia, familial sacrifice, the impact of tragedy in life). By employing the characters’ varied points of view, she debates all sides of each issue without being preachy or overly predictable.
It’s difficult to write this recommendation without giving away the ending. Rather than recite plot points and twists, or extol Ms. Moynes’ skill at creating memorable prose and characters, I’ll simply touch on what really made this book a compelling read.
For me, two core themes emerged. The first questioned what makes life worth living. The second asked what is too much to expect of love. Of course, the answers to each question are highly personal and subjective, which is probably why the book hits a nerve.
On a personal level, the story caused me to re-evaluate my approach to my own life and the lives of those I love. It also made me question the limits of my own love for others. Do I love selfishly rather than selflessly? Perhaps I do, which is quite discomforting to acknowledge. Yet, despite the heaviness of the story, there is hope and light and, above all, reverence for how real love shapes and changes life for the better.
I usually read love stories because I want to enjoy the fairytale…the Happily Ever After. This isn’t a fairytale, but the haunting love story will stay with me for a long, long time.