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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Emotional and engaging - an indulgent read to get lost in


The definition of quality me time, Me Before You sucked me in and had me rooting for the characters from practically the first page. I hadn't read a Jojo Moyes before, and I will certainly be looking for more. The plot surprised and delighted me, although I struggled to read the last few chapters through the tears. I didn't expect to be so wrung out by the novel, but at the same time it was cathartic and I am in awe of the skill with which it was written - genuinely moving, never mawkish and I never felt emotionally manipulated (which I have found a real turn-off with some 'weepies' in the past).

The story revolves around Lou, a young and unambitious woman who loses her tea shop job and takes up a new position as carer to Will, a young man who lost everything in a single moment. Will's family are wealthy, while Lou's are struggling, and the plot is centred on the impact that Will and Lou have on one another's lives as her chatter chips away at his shell of misery.

The theme of being a different person because of someone else's influence reverberates through the novel, and is at the core of what you are left with after reading. The novel deals with some heavy ideas, yet somehow manages this with a light touch that nonetheless slices to the very heart and depth of the issues.

The novel is mostly told in Lou's lively voice, except for a third person prologue and a chapter here and there in someone else's voice (clearly marked and always a valuable different perspective). Lou is charming in her own slightly blunt way and it's easy to feel for her family as they struggle financially whilst trying to pretend all
is well.

Overall, for an unashamedly emotional read, this book is a must.

Back cover blurb:

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.

**********

Published Jan 2012 by Penguin
Thank you to Lovereading for the review copy
Check it out at Amazon UK

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