Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (@jojomoyes)

It was so easy to relate to this book because it talks about sibling rivalry as one of its many themes – having two sisters and two brothers, I couldn’t help but laugh at the things Louisa (lovingly called Lou) and her sister, Treena, fight over and go through together.
As you may well know, this breathtakingly heart-wrenching book has been made into a movie (which I haven’t had the pleasure of watchin yet).  A former colleague of mine, who shares our love of books, has read the book AND watched the movie and was pleasantly surprised at how the movie is so closely matched to the book. Kudos on that point.

Will Traynor is a lawyer by profession (and it seems, a damn good one), has a beautiful, high maintenance girlfriend, a dream apartment in London, a motorbike, is into high energy and physical activities – bungee jumping, mountain climbing, and, and, and. Then his accident changes everything!

Enter Louisa (Lou), who seems to be the misfit in the Clark family – the older of the two sisters and the least gifted – their father doesn’t miss a moment to make fun of her.
The Clark family is a simple one, they need all the incomes to make it from month to month, Lou and Trina’s mother is a housewife (home executive) who looks after her very elderly and ill father (suffered from a stroke and is in recovery) as well as Treena’s toddler son.

When Lou loses the only job she’s ever had at a local diner, her parents feel the pinch but she’s soon called to an interview for a carer position and gets the responsibility of being Will’s companion (who of course does all that he can to push her away).  The equally stubborn Lou pushes back, finally leading to both of them opening up about themselves – Will does not like Lou’s man (which is very predictable by the way). Will pushes Lou’s boundaries (and buttons), forcing her to dream again, to face her past (and future) and they are each other’s escape from their lives and problems, forming a strong foundation for a deeper friendship.
A stiff Mrs Traynor, who is a judge by profession, does not like what is obviously blossoming between her son and Lou but selfish enough to let it go because it might be the thing that changes Will’s mind. Does it?

It’s a must read. An absolute must read. You will need a box of tissues though and the reader goes through many of the emotions that Lou goes through. Lou is one of those simple characters who the reader immediately identifies with and your heart breaks with hers, it rejoices with her and you think about the book long after it’s finished.

If you have not seen the movie – read the book first then watch it. If you have seen the movie (party pooper!) you will still enjoy the read and yes, you will still need the box of tissues and your heart strings will still be pulled.

-Phumzile Z

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