I thought I would do another ‘What I Thought’ post. Again, I’m not a professional at reviewing books but I think quite it’s nice to have the view of a normal person rather than a critic.
Today’s topic: the Me Before You series.
Also, some spoilers ahead!
Last year, the Me Before You film starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin was released. I remember being so excited to see it and when I did, I loved it. Afterwards, I really wanted to read the book and the following Christmas, I was kindly gifted Me Before You and After You by JoJo Moyes.
If you don’t know anything about the series, it’s about Lou Clark, a girl living an ordinary life but when she loses her job at The Buttered Bun, she finds employment as the carer of Will Traynor, a man who lost his ‘desire to live’ after a motorcycle accident. Lou’s aim is to reignite this desire to live within Will.
I read Me Before You in about a week. Having seen the film, I was prepared for what was going to happen which, if you’ve seen/read it, is incredibly emotional . For me, I felt that the film kept much of what was in the book, with a few exceptions. What I enjoyed most about the book was the depth in which JoJo Moyes explored Lou’s character compared to the film. I felt that there was so much more to her as a person and you learnt more about her past.
I thought a stark difference was her relationship with her family. In the film, they all get on quite well, especially Lou and her sister, Treena, but in the book, they’re often at odds and rarely get on at all. I think perhaps the book is more realistic. Also, although the character of Patrick isn’t portrayed as a particularly nice person in the film, he’s portrayed much worse in the book. In the film, I remember feeling quite sorry for him when Lou ended their relationship. In the book, he was so self-centred and insensitive that I remember really disliking him actually!
My favourite thing in the book and its film adaptation is that you can see how Will and Lou improve each other’s lives. Although Lou is unfortunately unsuccessful in changing Will’s mind, you can see the kindheartedness and love that she acts with to improve the life of someone else. And it’s so lovely to see Will show Lou what she’s been missing and for her to understand that she needs to live. It’s meant to be Lou convincing Will to live but it happens the other way around.
I have to say, the emotion of the series did get to me, but strangely, through the film rather than the book which NEVER happens to me! When reading One Day by David Nicholls (which is brilliant, too), I didn’t cry at the film but absolutely bawled when reading the book. Although, naturally, I did find the book upsetting, the acting and portrayal of emotions in the film just intensified the situation and affected so much more. However, I think that if I had read the book first and didn’t know the story already, it’s likely it would have evoked the same emotion I felt towards the film. I do think that even if you’ve seen the film, the book is still definitely worth reading.
There is also a sequel to Me Before You called After You, which I have to admit, I preferred to the first. This picks up Lou’s story eighteen months after Will’s passing and rather than living the life she promised him she would, she’s living alone in London and working in an airport bar.
I don’t want to spoil this as it’s probably less likely that you will know the story compared to the first but I really recommend following the story on. I loved being allowed to know more about Lou’s life and see her explored in different ways. She has to deal with a lot more responsibility but Will is still at the forefront of her life. There are new characters, some I wasn’t sure if I liked and some I absolutely loved (Sam)! I can’t recommend this sequel enough. It’s one thing to enjoy Will and Lou’s love story but seeing Lou’s life after this and how she dealt with everything after the sadness she had to face was more interesting to me.
Overall, I would really recommend reading the Me Before You series. I think the film is brilliant as well but if you haven’t seen it yet, I would suggest reading the book first – I wish I had. I’m definitely hoping for a third book in the series!
If you’ve read either of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts!