Source: borrowed from my mom.
Genre: contemporary love story/drama.
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
I’ve been hearing about Me Before You for a couple of years now. It pops up on blogs, my mom has been offering her copy to me, my editor said it was a good read, and even my grandma has read it – but it took a movie trailer featuring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke to finally get me to read it. I didn’t even watch the whole trailer beforehand because (as some of you will know by now, lol) I am a passionate hater of spoilers. I mean, I knew what the basic story of the novel was about before I started it but I didn’t know any of the plot twists.
And I liked this a lot! So don’t watch the trailer if you want to go in blind. I just watched the whole of it and I’m a bit worried about Emilia Clarke’s performance (I only ever saw her as Khaleesi) but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, I’m dragging my husband to the movies this week because we haven’t been in ages and we have the time. I’ll report on it later.
And now, the book. I really liked Lou and Will. I mean, they both had their issues (obviously) but they felt real in a way that you don’t often come across. I read lots of romance and this isn’t your run-of-the-mill romance novel, it’s a love story, sure, but it deals with topics much more serious than you’d expect. What surprised me the most (in a wholly positive way) was the manner of dealing with these hard topics: no moralizing, no overboard sentimentality, no didacticism, which are all pitfalls I expected with such a book. So I completely understand why this book went off and sold in millions across the globe.
I read it in Slovenian translation (by Radojka Manfreda Modic), even though I don’t read English books in translation as a rule. But my mom had this one at home so it seemed wasteful to buy an English copy as well. It’s a good translation, I liked it a lot, even though there are always problems (like when Will calls Lou “Clark” all the time, this doesn’t sound as natural in Slovenian, we rarely call women by their last names for some reason). But a translation is never perfect, so I was willing to let small things like this go when it became apparent that the story itself shone through without a hitch.
I did rate it with 4 stars/hearts instead of 5, though, because I felt like some of the issues dealt with in the book were a bit too simplistic (I can hear you groan: “But Kaja, you always complain about stuff! Why can’t you just love a book for once?!” And I say to you: “Balance, my dears, balance in all things.”). If you’ve read it, I’m talking about the reason Lou doesn’t want to go into the castle labyrinth – I felt like it was done too superficially, especially considering how in-depth other problems were. While this gave Lou a certain aspect of vulnerability and a reason to avoid living, I wasn’t a fan of how quickly Will managed to “fix” her. This whole “I will now educate you and make you bloom” premise was something of a thorn in my side, to tell you the truth, so yeah, I wish it was more subtle. But it didn’t bother me enough to ruin the whole experience for me.
I really enjoyed Me Before You and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to read a heartfelt, beautiful story. I don’t think I’ll be reading the second part, After You, however, because this one feels like such a well-rounded story. And the reviews for the sequel are very mediocre compared to the ones for Me Before You, so I think I’ll give one of her other books a try instead.
Have you read Me Before You? What did you think?
Do you have any similar recommendations for me?
I’d love to hear from you! :)