Lou is in her mid-twenties, has never moved out of her parents house and is stuck in a rut in her small England village. Her own view of her life's possibilities is narrow and only becomes smaller when she loses her job as a waitress at a local cafe. Lou mourns the loss of a job that she enjoyed and finds herself on a employment hunt with little education or skills.
Lou's whole life changes when she takes on a job as a companion to Will, a thirty-six year old paraplegic, who comes from a wealthy family that owns the castle in Lou's hometown. Will is a former jet-setting CEO, who's lifestyle was shattered when he was hit by a car.
Will is counting down the days until he can head to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide. He has made a pact with his parents to wait six months in case he changes his mind and his parents have hired Lou in hopes that she can help him discover his will to live. As Will and Lou develop a friendship, it becomes clear that Lou's life is the one in desperate need of saving.
Jojo Moyes' novel, Me Before You, is a bit sneaky. The emotional punch creeps up on you. Overall, I found the plot to be very predictable, yet even when I could predict what was coming, I still felt left a little raw with the emotions. I connected with the characters on a deeper level than I realized while I reading the book. I felt for all of them
The story is mostly told from Lou's perspective. However, Moyes does a nice thing where she writes few chapters from the perspective of other characters. This was very clever, as it was easy to be heavily judgmental towards those characters, yet when I got into their minds, I felt more compassion towards them. There is very much a theme of judgment and learning to show compassion towards others.
Occasionally, I felt a disconnect from the story, usually when Lou's family crept in. I felt like Lou was becoming a bit of a punching bag. It felt overbearing. However, the more that I read the book, the more realistic her family became. I started recognizing traits that Lou's family shared with my own family, which was probably what created my disconnect in the first place. It hit close to home.
The biggest reason that the story works is that I found myself really rooting for the characters. They are stuck with impossible choices and I just want the outcome to be the best possible scenario. I read through it quickly just to find out how it was going to end.
This story has a lot of heart and compassion. I finished it yesterday morning and it has lingered with me. The best stories are those that make an impact and this one is definitely impactful.