You lied to me, movie trailer! Me Before You is hardly full of the sunshine that washes over a horrible situation, blinding us to all the bad that is usually banished from the love stories of our fairytales. Far from it, actually. Jojo Moyes’ novel is full of the bad.
I should’ve known that there was a hard road ahead for our two main characters when I accidentally glanced at the title of this book’s unexpected sequel (do your best to avert your eyes if the cover ambushes you as well), and I was quickly reminded that wheelchairs are for more than just twirling dates around the dance floor. It turns out there is normally some suffering attached to those rolling confinements. Such is the case here.
When Lou first meets Will, it has already been a couple years following the accident that has trapped him in his body as a quadriplegic. His parents have hired Lou to help him out with his day to day necessities, as well as lift his stubbornly bitter spirits with any chipperness she can muster. Throw in a little romance and we’re all happy campers. Well, maybe not the parents. I doubt they ever go camping. But I’m more than ready to set up a tent and throw Lou and Will through the curtains with or without their approval.
The problem is, Will isn’t all that accepting of Lou’s personality, or her presence in general, which meant it was time to press pause on my worn out recording of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Where’s all the smiling, genial conversations, and fluttering eyelashes swatting the swarm of tiny hearts away from the eyes? As the pages turn, the reality of the situation further sinks in as Moyes removes The Lion King soundtrack from my tape deck and cracks it over her knee, never breaking eye contact the whole time. Moyes isn’t here for my fantasies.
A large percentage of the novel is of Lou and Will bickering (in a non-flirtatious manner) when they manage to say a few words to each other. This goes on for a while, so much so that Moyes even jumps ahead two weeks following their first meeting so that we don’t give up on what seems to be a nonstarter between characters that are doing their best to frustrate, even as I did my best to sympathize. I mean, neither character wants to be around the other, so why should we? Because of the potential for it to all turn around into something gearing up for a happy ending. To which again, I say darn you movie trailer!
Eventually we do get to the happy moments and potential for romance between Lou and Will, and I couldn’t help but grasp onto them with a hunger for more. Unfortunately the majority of these moments were combined into a highlight reel that we call a movie trailer, and the novel is over before it really felt like their relationship was able to truly begin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a satisfying story, the problem is I just wanted something different, fulfilling my ill-formed expectations.
In other words, I read the novel because I wanted to spend time with the people from the trailer. Where’s the book about those two?
Want a second opinion? Check out Heather’s review here.