Book Review: Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. *spoilers*

I’ve long held the suspicion that the longer you spend in close proximity to someone, the more likely you are to fall in love with them. It’s why people fall for co-workers they originally couldn’t stand, nurses that pulled them back to health, or the cliched girl next door. It’s happened to me where I’ve woken up one day and thought ‘bollocks! Well I’m stuck with feelings for a while..’

So this book was believable in that if you spend 5 days a week in someone’s presence (especially if that presence involves intimacy), and you find each other passably good looking, and have good conversations, you’re gonna start having the feels.

It was also nicely written, despite the irregular forays into other people’s POV (never Will’s- Moyes isn’t that brace or foolhardy), and moves along nicely. There’s sibling squabbles, money issues, beers on the patio- Moyes happily dives into the minutiae that makes up lives and presents it in a way that gives the story a reassuring bulk.

Spoilers: He totally dies. And it’s selfish and brave, but also totally in line with the character that Moyes has established. She doesn’t go into the particulars of Will’s death, just leads you up to the point. It will be a polarising event (I can imagine hordes of girls getting VERY upset in the cinema) for many- some will understand, some will be angry, some will think what a waste.

Personally I know a c3 quad. He’s married (I photographed the wedding) and has a gorgeous collection of tropical fish, and for all intents and purposes has a happy, fulfilling life. I feel like lots of people will use their own experiences with people who have spinal damage to say ‘oh but Will could have had a great life, like my friend Joe Briggs.’ The thing is (and this is what I think Moyes is digging for) that no one except the quadriplegic themselves can assess and weigh what their life is worth. In the beginning after an accident, sure it’s the family that decides not to pull the plug, to spend the money and time to give the best quality of life that is possible, but after that triage stage surely it should be the choice of the person themselves? I found myself respecting Will for his choice, understanding it, even as I didn’t agree (and my disagreement stems mostly from my inability to fully imagine being a quadriplegic).

Anyway, read the book. It’s funny and sweet and sad and fluffy (read in an evening) and worth it to make your own opinions. Assisted suicide just became legal in NSW over here, so it’s kind of a current topic worthy of discussion.

3.5/5

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