- Fritzi Newton
Louisa Clark happily goes to her waitressing job at The Buttered Bun, a place where she personally knows each customer by name. But the bad economy takes its toll and the café is abruptly closed. Kicking back and relaxing until something better comes along is simply not an option with Louisa’s parents depending on her financial help to make ends meet. And, so begins Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.
Rather than return to the dreaded chicken processing plant (an earlier job), Louisa cautiously accepts a position as caregiver for Will Traynor, a quadriplegic. Although the pay is exceptional, Will is rude and dismissive and his condescending mother succeeds in making Louisa feel stupid and unrefined at every turn. If her parents didn’t need the money, she would have kissed the job goodbye on day one and still regularly considers the option.
As the barriers between them slowly disintegrate, Louisa starts to understand Will’s adamant refusal to accept his suffocating limitations. Before the accident, Will lived life on the largest of scales. He was a successful CEO who resided in a magnificent flat and was adored by his exquisite girlfriend. Physically, he enjoyed pushing himself to extremes. Will Traynor’s life essentially ended on that fateful, rainy day the car plowed into him.
In an effort to rejuvenate Will, Louisa gradually encourages him to re-enter the world. She becomes his mentor as he experiments with dining out, taking short day trips and, even, attending the wedding of his former girlfriend. But, the relationship is far from one-sided. Louisa harbors a secret which has kept her prisoner from attaining her full potential. It’s Will who drives her to move beyond her limited comfort zone. In a weird twist, Will has a secret of his own that Louisa—unbeknownst to him—is fully aware of, as she fights to make each day supremely meaningful.
Sometimes I read a book that moves me to the point that I’m daunted by the task of capturing its essence and power in a blog post. Me Before You is one of those titles. Reading Moyes’ book will make you appreciate everything you hold dear in your own life. It will also re-enforce that age-old adage of not judging a book by its cover.