me before you

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is one of the bestseller romantic novel of the year 2016. A movie adapted on the novel has already hit the silver screen. It is romantic novel with a sad story which doesn’t have a happy ending and opens a debate about the outlook of the novel.

It is the story about a young enthusiastic adventurous seeking and highly successful man named Williams who believes in living his life to the fullest unfortunately met with a fatal accident which leaves his body paralyzed from neck down quadriplegic.The accident shatters his spirit and made him bitter towards life.

A turn comes in his life when Lousie was hired as his carer. The chatty and happy go lucky Lousie fills his life with laughter and colors but it was not enough for Williams to change his decision to end his bed ridden life. Lousie falls in love with him and request Williams to give their relationship a chance but Williams sees no future and stick to his decision. Thus the story has a sad ending.

The evergreen love story A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks has also a sad ending but the intense love between the two was profound. Something which was missing  between the love story of Williams and Lousie. Or rather it was there but couldn’t be etched out properly. Of course physical romance was not possible between the two but there was hardly any emotional romance as well.

Louise did express her love but Williams feeling might be just limited to fondness for Lousie. Or was he also intensely in love with Lousie. Something which remains unclear since Williams never expressed his feelings openly. There were just hints. 

There were chapters written from the perspective of other characters but surprisingly and strangely the author didn’t include a single chapter from the point of view of Williams. I felt that at least last chapter if, was written from the perspective of Williams expressing his feelings for Lousie would have taken the novel to a completely different level. It could have been heart breaking to read something readers want from sad romantic novels.

The story has both narration and dialogues. At times the narration was bit boring and tepid to read specially Lousie’s family and Patrick part but it is the conversations between the characters which provided real strength to the plot especially the one between Williams and Lousie. William’s one liner jabs and taunts really left me stunned. There was also a great fusion of humour and sarcasm throughout the book which makes reading fun.

The chemistry between Lousie and Williams was enthralling and entertaining. Though there was nothing profoundly romantic between them yet there was sarcasm, understanding, laughter, grumpiness, bossiness, care and fun in their relationship which kept hinting for a probable romance to blossom between them.

Williams has been portrayed as an adventure seeking man who loves challenges. He also completely changes the outlook of Lousie towards life. He, till the last, encourages Lousie to live her life to the fullest. But same was not true for himself. 

After his accident he is not left with any desire to live. Why he didn’t take it up as a challenge which life has thrown at him. But instead he chooses to end it rather than face it. Though author has convincingly given arguments in support of Williams’s decision of Euthanasia yet it cannot be looked upon as a positive outlook. 

I have a living example in my life. My mother-in-law is bed ridden from last 16 years with both her legs paralyzed. Just like the character Williams she also met with an accident. Yet she is full of life. She is the source of strength for the entire family and also a binding force. So in a way I really don’t support Williams’s decision and thus found the ending of the book little disappointing.

The Verdict:

Me Before You is not an out to out a romantic novel nor an inspirational novel. At least I will not suggest this novel to any disabled person. 

Yet the budding love story in the book is heart wrenching to read and its ending left me with heavy heart which clearly indicates that I was completely immersed in the book to feel so. 

I don’t know whether it is a co-incidence but the plot seems to be heavily inspired by the Bollywood movie Guzarish. 

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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.

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