Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Pages: 482 pages (paperback)
Publication Date: January 5th 2012 by Michael Joseph (UK)
ISBN 0718157834 (ISBN13: 9780718157838)
Me Before You revolves around Louisa or Lou Clark, a 26-year old girl who lives with her nuclear family in their small flat. She has to take care of her parents, her sister, and her niece. Lou lives her life without any aspiration, without the will to explore her life and push her boundaries – instead, she leads her life by waiting tables at The Buttered Bun Café, by being with her boyfriend who may-or-may-not-love-her-because-why-won’t-you-put-a-ring-on-her-finger.
Will Traynor, on the other hand, is living life to the limits. If his whole life were to be adapted to a film, you might mistake it to be a scene from some sort of a National Geographic adrenaline-filled show. Because he’s done it all. He travels the world, climbs the highest mountains. He is rich, he is handsome, he is smart.. He sounds like a tamed Christian Grey.
Lou and Will’s life changes when one day, Lou loses her job and Will loses his chance to feel alive. Will gets into an accident, making him quadriplegic, unable to move his body from neck to toe. He’s stuck in his wheelchair. He’s been stuck for two years, and now he wants to put it to an end. And Lou, desperate for money, found a chance to redeem her life when she sees an offer to be a caregiver with a big load of money.
Lou does not have any idea how to be a caregiver. Camilla Traynor, Will’s mother, knows that. But she hires Lou anyway, because what she needs is someone who is young and looks smart enough to keep Will interested, to be his friend, and maybe sparks a little joy in his eyes. Little did Lou know, she comes to Will’s because his family has only six months left to convince Will not to take his life. And that six months period is what she has to change his mind. But can she?house having a cross to bear: to may be the reason for Will to change his mind,
A lot of you may think that this is a romance book and irk at the thought of how sappy this book would be. I, for one, also thought the same way. I mean, come on, just look at the title and the cover, it’s too romance book 101. Pinkish, soft-nuanced, fluffy, all of those scream, “GIRLS, READ ME AND PREPARED TO BE SWOONED!” And being a not-so-keen-on-romance-books myself, I had doubts. But when a fellow reader, Kak Mia, was reading this book and tweeted about this book and convinced me to read it, I threw away all of my expectations and promised myself that I would finish this book no matter what.
And I finished reading this book, in the middle of the night, slightly feverish because I skipped lunch and dinner, and of course, crying.
This, is not a romance book. If you’re looking for a swoon-worthy book, don’t waste your pennies. This is a book about life and what it means when what makes us alive is gone. Is it selfish that we no longer want to live when living just feel like existing? When this life that we lead, that we have been responsible for, now feels no more than ache and pain? This book serves an honest opinion on dignitas (Dignitas is located in Switzerland, it is a legal procedure to help those with terminal illness and severe physical or mental disabilities to die with assistance of qualified doctors and nurses) that has raised so many political and moral debates throughout the globe. Will is not getting better, and his condition will make himself more miserable than he already is, and he does not want to be a burden to everyone. He does not want himself to think about his life that way. Lou, as someone who sees his present not his past, sees the positive probability that he may not live like he lived before but he can still be happy. And she does make Will happy. But is it enough?
Me Before You is the kind of book that we already know how it may end, and yet we keep crossing our fingers, wishing upon the stars, hoping it won’t end that way. But it does. And it should not matter. And I love how realistic it is. This book emphasizes on how long life is, that we have a duty to lead this life as rightful, as unlimited as we can. Because every moments, every diem that we carpe’d, it defines us. Will can’t do what he wants anymore, but he encourages Lou to have dreams. An end isn’t always heartbreaking, sometimes it is actually a sense of hope.
P.S. This book has already translated into Indonesian by Gramedia Pustama Utama.