When the film was released in June 2016, I decided to read the book first because sometimes romantic stories need to be read and pictured in our own minds instead of watching scenes on the screens that directors have chosen for us. And I did right.
I cancelled all my schedules just to finish my reading: the novel catches your attention from the very beginning, when the adventurous, successful and completely independent Will has a motorcycle accident in which he turns out paralysed and his life changes irremediably.
After the first chapter, the narration is focused on Louisa Clark’s life and thoughts: she’s a simple 26-year-old girl with a long-term relationship and a quirky family that she sustains with her humble job at a local café. Her hidden desire of leaving her tiny English village is not practical when the café closes and she has to find another job.
She couldn’t know this is the start of a new chapter that will change her life forever: forced to accept any job that can pay the family’s bills, Louisa agrees to work as caretaker for the wealthy quadriplegic wheelchair bound Will Traynor, despite having no training at all.
Will is moody, bossy, even impolite, but Lou doesn’t allow him to get her down and soon his happiness means to her more than she expected. His injury has left him not only physically, but also emotionally devastated, and he simply doesn’t want to live this way.
In the attempt to teach him how to fight in the battle of life, she ends up changing her own and learning the most important lesson ever: it’s never too late to truly start living.
The way in which the author Jojo Moyes develops the relationship between two people who couldn’t have less in common, is unexpected and heartbreaking and the novel in its whole is beautifully written, especially thanks to the contrast between the funny sketches held by the always sunny Louisa, and the raise of serious themes and provocative moral questions about life.
Me before you might not be for the faint of heart, but it severely shows the value of life.