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Moll Flanders
Daniel Defoe, Paul A. Scanlon

Me Before You: A Novel

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes Read my full review here.

Disclaimer: I am in no way commenting on my opinion of the controversial topic this book tackles. I am merely commenting on Moyes’ story.

So, I knew what I was getting myself into when I decided to pick this book up. I knew I’d be sad and moved and maybe even cry. I was right.

I must first of all commend Moyes on tackling such a controversial topic and handling it with care. She doesn’t imply one way or the other her own opinion on assisted suicide so readers should have nothing to complain about on that front. Moyes clearly aims to - and does - convey that maybe you don’t have to be okay with what Will wants and does, but it is very important that you understand why Louisa and his family need to support him and be there with him in the end. I always hope for cliche, often unrealistic endings in which everyone is happy. But you know what? I think in some way these characters did get a happy ending. Will takes control of his life in the only remaining way he feels he can, and Louisa finally starts truly living.

The duality of the title is really affective. It doesn’t just apply to Will and those around him coming to put his wants first. It also applies to Louisa learning to take control of her life and put herself before everyone else for once. In doing so, she frees herself. She goes to be with Will and then she travels to satisfy her craving for adventure and exploration.

If you’re weary of tackling a book which undoubtedly will emotionally punch you in the face, the epilogue will sooth your sadness.

As for characters and character dynamics, clearly my favourites are Louisa and Will. I mean, come on. She’s feisty and weird and extremely, unconditionally loving. Will is perhaps one of the only people in her life who loves her even more because of these traits. And, of course, he likes that she treats him like she would any other sarcastic person: with snark and sarcasm in return. Will himself is feisty and incredibly loving. Something that really stood out to me is that while Louisa is intent on showing Will how to love life, he ends up doing that for her. Also, I love their love. Yes, I realize how cheesy that sounds. Moving on.

Something unique about Moyes’ writing style for this book is that while the story is mainly told in Louisa’s first person POV, we also get a few chapters from other characters’ perspectives. I think this works really well here (though Katrina is undoubtedly irksome half of the time).

Overall, I’m really glad I read this novel. It left me feeling emotional which any good book will do. Moyes, thank you for being brave enough to write this book and share it with us.