Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes - a talented British writer, who has won international acclaim with her book, Me Before You. Find out here why it's a good choice when it comes to book club recommendations


About Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes is from the UK and lives near London in Essex. She was born in 1969.

Before she became a novelist, she worked for the Independent in London for 10 years.


Her first book was called Sheltering Rain (lanched in 2002) when she left the Independent to focus on being a full time novelist.


She has gone on to write a further 9 books, with Me Before You, being her most famous.

Her genre of book would probably described as "Romantic"

Below you will find more details about the book Me Before You, and why it's a good choice for your book club.


Me Before You
Plot



Will, a privately & university educated, well-travelled young man, in a high flying city job, from a middle class home, is involved in an accident  & as a result, he becomes a quadriplegic without any hope of  recovery.

His family hires him an assistant/someone to talk to, in order to help pass the day (enter Louisa.)


The big question is whether she can convince him that his life is worth living, before he plans his own death.

And you'll just have to wait until the end of the book to discover whether she does or she doesn't!

It's a romantic story that will open your eyes to what it must be like to be in a wheel chair or worse, be a quadriplegic.

But this book by Jojo Moyes is much more than that. It will have your group debating for hours on some pretty tough topics.


Themes/Characters



Louisa is introduced as a very, very ordinary young woman. She lives relatively close to Will & his family but the two families couldn't be more different.

She has worked in a local cafe before being sacked as the story begins. She has no ambitions, has never travelled, still lives at home & she helps out her family financially.

Her boyfriend is addicted to keepfit  & we soon realise that the relationship is about routine & convenience rather than  passion. 

Yes, Will & Louisa have followed very different paths in their young lives; this is what helps to make the tale so interesting. The story is very much about contrasts & not just contrasting families & their backgrounds!


The two families are so different.

The Clerk family is poor but united, supporting each other in many ways. They stick together through thick & thin though, like most families, they have their differences of opinion.  Will's family on the other hand, inspite of their materially comfortable lives, is dysfunctional. Father is a womaniser whilst his mother appears to fill her life with things which will  take her mind off her unhappiness with her husband & her son.

Hidden Depths to Louisa

Louisa is presented as a very ordinary person from a very ordinary background as already shown.  Yet, as the story progresses,  the reader discovers that she is anything but ordinary.  She has good values as a result of a good upbringing,  supporting her family in times of need & coming to see the best in Will before falling in love with him. She isn't at all interested in his money.

She really does want to help him, to improve the quality of his life. She's horrified that he wants to go to Switzerland to die & sets out to change his mind; she's young, full of hope & determination.  She's "an ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life." No, she's not!

Empowerment

Will sees himself as utterly useless BUT he isn't! Through his money, starting with the the £500 for her birthday with which she buys a computer, he is able to contact his solicitor. And he benefits from the computer with all the trips she plans, to bring some pleasure to his life, hoping that he will change his mind about Switzerland.

Thus he empowers her life as she does his. If we read carefully, we are prepared for the outcome of the story but if the clues haven't been picked up, the ending for Louisa is such a lovely surprise. Will says to her,

"You, Clark, are the only person I have felt able to talk to since I ended up in this bloody thing."


Book Club Questions



What have you learned about Quadriplegics?

Will you act or react differently if you see someone in a wheel chair? How?


Compare and contrast the two families? Which family would you rather be part of? Why?

Does Will have any right to change Louisa's life?

Is the decision that Will makes the right one? For whom?

What if he had made the alternative decision? What would be the consequences?

What is the groups view on euthanasia? How is this different from the story in Me Before You by Jojo Moyes?


Like?



Our book club enjoyed this page turning easy read and gave it a 7/10.

Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes, isn't a work of great literary merit but  it is a thought provoking novel & is an easy, interesting read. It highlights several issues for any reader or groups of readers to discuss & think about.

There really is so much to think about & talk about in this novel.

Gravitas (dignified manner or conduct) must come top of the list; there will be differing views in abundance. 

But there are the contrasts too, as well as empowerment.

The reader's perspectives will be challenged too on families; many will expect the financially poor Clark family to be dysfunctional rather than Will's wealthy family.

Some will question whether Will had any right to change Louisa's life. Above all, every reader will come away  with more knowledge & understanding of the life of the quadriplegic than before.

Yes, "Me Before You." is well worth reading!

Top of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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