Reading, Reviews

Me Before You: Why I Was Happier Before This Book

Me Before YouWell, I seem to be a bit of a Negative Nancy this week. I didn’t particularly enjoy The Rules of Civility and now I am thoroughly disturbed by Me Before You.

Here’s the synopsis:

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.

What 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.

Liking or disliking a book varies so much from person to person, so I’m not usually surprised when a book with rave reviews leaves me cold. It happens to all readers sometime. This time, though, it’s more than just liking or disliking. I’m not looking to be the little boy exclaiming that the emperor has no clothes on, but I feel a burden to explain why I am appalled by the popularity of this book.

1. All the characters are flat out selfish. Yes, even the main character, Lou Clark. She does what she does because she wants to. On the surface, she can make it look like she’s being sacrificial for her family, but she admits that she likes working at the home town coffee shop. And don’t get me started on Will.

2. We are introduced to Lou as the narrator tells us that Lou knows exactly how many steps it takes to get home from work, whether she’s walking fast or slow. I have no patience for characters that count steps, stairs, wall tiles, etc. Unless you’re introducing a neurotic scientist or child prodigy who can’t help but notice all the numbers of the universe, don’t let your character count everything. (I’m sure this has nothing to do with my aversion to mathematics…). Okay, so this my weakest point for not liking this book, but there’s got to be a better way to tell readers that the main character’s life is tedious.

3. The plot is much like a tearjerker, Nicholas Sparks-like book, without the saving truth that love is noble. I’m not convinced that anyone actually understood what love is in this book. Maybe Lou’s parents. Maybe.

4. It is in support of euthanasia, an idea that is terribly controversial but always extremely sad, and selfish, at least on some level. I get that humans as a race are self-centered by default. But I also believe everyone has a soul, and this book ignores that fact entirely.

I need someone to show me the redeeming qualities of this book! If you’ve read it and enjoyed it, don’t leave me in the dark–please help me see why it is considered such a great book by so many.

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One thought on “Me Before You: Why I Was Happier Before This Book”

  1. Heather says:

    I read this a few months ago and wholeheartedly agree with you. It just didn’t work. I couldn’t get past the selfishness of the characters and the message I thought that the author was trying to send about euthanasia. I guess my own values got in the way. I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like it.

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