Reviewer: by JJ Marsh
What we thought: I never quite know how to ‘file’ Jojo Moyes. Her stories paddle into deeper waters than Adele Parks and Helen Fielding, but never dive as far into the cold murk of Lionel Shriver or Helen Fitzgerald. Dark chick-lit? Chilli ice-cream?
Me Before You tackles a tough theme with a light touch. An unambitious waitress gets a job caring for a quadriplegic young man and they change each other’s lives. Not in a mawkish, pink-glittery kind of way, but via a series of awkward, painful lessons. Lou Clark’s comfortable if unexciting sense of self is shocked out of complacency by a man who is used to excitement. Now he’s dependent.
But he still has the right to decide.
The book is an absorbing, thoughtful read, which made me stop and consider rights of mind and body. The sudden switching to other perspectives in the second half I found distracting, but Moyes avoids a twee resolution, instead evoking a desperately tragic (in the classical sense) finale.
Yes, I cried.
But I also thought.
You’ll like this if you like: Marian Keyes, Anna Maxted, Jodi Picoult
Avoid if you dislike: detail of disability, the ethics surrounding rights to life/death and crying
Ideal accompaniments: Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese, Martin Miller’s gin with tonic and juniper berries, and The Best of Burt Bacharach. Plus kitchen roll. Tissues ain’t enough.
Genre: Commercial women's fiction, contemporary