Me Before You by JoJo Moyes — (#uglycry)

26 Aug

I read about Me Before You in the British papers. It was touted as a “phenomenon” and everyone in Britain seemed to be reading it. It was also described in the NYT as a “real weepy”, which is a genre I crave from time to time. I was even tempted to buy it from a UK vendor and circumvent varied (and entirely inconvenient) publication dates. But, I had promised not to buy any new books until I had read a substantial number of those on my bedside table. Then, the book fairies (the charming women of Penguin Canada) gifted me a copy when Cherry and I attended a reading of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for a Time Being. We walked out with a wheel barrow of books that night. I’ve been saving it for the right moment. I was also worried that it would be all hype and it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.

My literary tastes are simple: literary fiction (dysfunctional protagonists with a deep sadness or strong women leads dressed up in precise/ efficient but fluid prose). I don’t do chick-lit … or Canadian lit (despite Cherry’s best efforts! Something about misery and muskoka chairs). I have a weakness for beautiful scenes of pastoral England as a setting … I also prefer New England as a setting for my literary frolicking.

Me Before You could be classified as “chick-lit” though it’s more complex than that – Louisa Clark isn’t a singleton aching to be married, to be pregnant, or unhappy with her opulent lifestyle. I hate those types of books. I also can’t stand the way that those books are written. So cheesy! She is self-described as “ordinary” and someone who lives in and is comforted by her small-world (a council estate in one of those villages where everything, especially the economy, is centred around a National Trust relic). She likes her clutter-filled and noisy home. She’s always been overshadowed by her brilliant sister. She was happy with her job in a cafe. Yes, there’s a handsome man in her life but, after being laid off, she takes a job as his caretaker. I like a story where romantic love (and sex) are not the only driving force of the narrative. Louisa and Will are friends and they care for one another. He wants her to have a better life. She wants the same for him. It’s very complicated indeed. The story turns doesn’t have a storybook happy ending but, as a reader, you are satisfied because it was the right ending. I’m trying not to spoil anything for you!

It’s a book that took me only 1.5 days to read. I could not put it down. It made me #uglycry but the story wasn’t emotionally manipulative (like The Fault in Our Stars was in parts). It was a wonderful example of simple strong story-telling.

In my imagined movie adaptation, Louisa would be played by Felicity Jones (or Anna Kendrick, if she can pull off the accent) . Claire Foy (Upstairs/ Downstairs) also has the right face and she could be dressed down enough to be “ordinary.”  Will Traynor: I’m torn between Ben Barnes (Prince Caspian) and the ONLY BRITISH ACTOR THAT EXISTS RIGHT NOW, The Cumberbatch.

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One Response to “Me Before You by JoJo Moyes — (#uglycry)”

  1. aliceyyz August 27, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    “My literary tastes are simple: literary fiction (dysfunctional protagonists with a deep sadness or strong women leads dressed up in precise/ efficient but fluid prose).”

    Amen, sister. I’m a busy gal with a short attention span.

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