Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It is a very good thing that I picked up this book on Memorial Day weekend because I barely slept or ate in order to read it through. It’s cliche to say, but I literally could not put it down. Not only is it a love story like no other I’ve ever read, but it tackles the very controversial issue of the Right to Die and looks sensitively at the life of a quadriplegic. My eyes were opened to a world, a life, with difficulties and pain that I never have fully appreciated. Obviously, I still cannot fully appreciate what life as a quadriplegic is like, but I felt like Moyes did her homework and gave the reader valuable insight. It is a beautiful book sensitively written that also succeeds in being intensely romantic. I might have chosen a different ending, but I wasn’t surprised by it. It made sense in the context of the story and remained true to the characters. I highly recommend the read. It will give you pause; it will break your heart, and it will make you think about life in a way you might not have otherwise. Book clubs will find no shortage of topics to discuss with this novel, and readers will not soon forget these characters or their story.
After You by Jojo Moyes
My review: 4 of 5 stars
Frankly, I wish the author had left the story as it was and not continued it, but apparently many readers clamored for a sequel. Nevertheless, After You is not a bad read. Louisa Clark is trying to reclaim her life after losing Will Traynor, the man she loved and on whom she had had come to depend emotionally. She joins a support group and learns to fall in love again. The quirky, witty Louisa Clark that drew me so thoroughly into Me Before You begins the sequel as a rather lost and pathetic soul, a shell of the person I adored. While the book was dark and emotional, it was also witty and laugh-out-loud funny. Nevertheless, I never connected the way I did with Me Before You. In many ways, I felt I was reading about different characters in an entirely different book (even though the book is not a stand alone; Me Before You must be read first). In fact, the author removes the focus from Louisa and focuses increasingly on another character (I won’t say who as it is a spoiler). I also would have preferred a different ending. If it’s closure you’re looking for after Me Before You, you probably won’t feel it after this sequel. However, if you’re a big fan of Jojo Moyes or women’s fiction in general, I recommend After You. I still think Me Before You didn’t benefit from a sequel, and I only read it because our book club did. But, I enjoyed the read anyway. Most of our book club enjoyed the sequel; some more than others. But nearly everyone liked Me Before You better than After You, and several agreed that a sequel was unnecessary.
“I felt as if I had floated off, untethered, to some unknown universe” (p. 21).
“I had forgotten the joy of just existing” (p. 127).
“You never know what will happen, when you fall from a great height” (p. 152).
“It was an odd situation, having to view my family as human beings” (p. 176).
“Perhaps all freedom – physical, personal – really only came at the cost of somebody or something else” (p. 273).