Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This has been THE BOOK on my online book club lately.  The glowing recommendations, the affirmations that it was the book to read this year, prompted me to pick it up when I saw it on the shelf at the library.  And while I'm glad I read it, I think this was a case where the hype machine didn't do it any favors.

It's the story of Lou, who lives at home with her parents, grandfather, sister, and nephew and is happy in her job at a local bakery.  When that job is pulled out from under her, she finds work as a companion for Will Traynor, a local aristocrat who, after years of living life to the extreme, was injured and is now a quadriplegic.  Lou quickly learns that her job isn't just to socialize with Will, it's to, in effect, babysit him, as he has attempted suicide once already when the book begins.  Despite the fact that Will is surly and unwelcoming, he and Lou become friends and she begins a project to convince him that life is still worth living.

I have essentially no thoughts either way.  I hate it when I have to write that because it seems like such a cop-out, but it's just true with some books.  I wasn't blown away by the author's style, plot, character development, etc, but I also wasn't unhappy.  It's a fine job; no complaints, no raves.

Entertainment Value
This is where the appeal of the book lies.  It's a good story.  You care deeply about the characters and want to see a happy ending for them, despite the obstacles they have to overcome.  It's certainly an intriguing premise and it reads quickly and easily.  It also manages to be humorous and touching at times.  I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen.

Unfortunately, I have to say that despite my enjoyment of the book, I was conscious that my emotions were being manipulated.  That's never a good thing.  I had moments of thinking "I'm sad now because the author has written this with the sole purpose of making me sad."  I wasn't caught up in the moment, I realized that it was manipulative writing and that I didn't care as much about what was happening as I felt like I was SUPPOSED to care about what was happening.

I could go either way on this one.  It didn't blow me away, but it also certainly didn't turn me off.  If you're looking for a sentimental read, it's perfect.  And it has a good, light quality, while also exploring some deep and provocative issues.  But it won't be making my best of lists.

1 comment:

  1. A million times yes on being manipulated. That was the exact reason that this was a meh book for me. I couldn't help but cry, but felt like the author intended for people to recommend this to friends with the "OH MY GOSH you have to read this book, it will make you cry SO HARD" speech.