Me Before You: They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose… Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life – steady boyfriend, close family – who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy – but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, “Me Before You” brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common – a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? Published in 2012. 369 pages.
Jojo Moyes: Jojo Moyes was born in London, England in 1969. She studied at Royal Holloway, University of London and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992 she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, London. She subsequently worked for The Independent for the next 10 years in various roles including assistant news editor and arts and media correspondent. Her first book, Sheltering Rain, was published in 2002. She won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2004 for Foreign Fruit and in 2011 for The Last Letter from Your Lover. Her other works include Me Before You and The Girl You Left Behind. (Bowker Author Biography)
Read an interview with Jojo Moyes here.
Topics for discussion that the book will bring up include:
- Were you able to relate to the way Will felt after his accident? What about his outlook on life did you find most difficult to understand or accept?
- Discuss the meaning of the novel’s title. To whom do the “me” and “you” refer?
- Louisa often finds Mrs. Traynor cold and judgmental. Is there an appropriate way to behave in Mrs. Traynor’s situation?
- What is your opinion of Mr. Traynor? Did it change after you read his side of the story?
- Before his accident, Will was a philanderer and a corporate raider who would probably never have given Louisa a second look. Why is it that people are so often unable to see what’s truly important until they’ve experienced loss?
Read more about spinal cord injuries at Apparelyzed, a free spinal cord injury peer support website run by individuals with a spinal cord injury
Choose to watch a few videos from facingdisabiliy.com. They interviewed more than 100 people with spinal cord injuries in their families.
The New York Times review by Liesl Schillinger begins: “When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it; I wanted to reread it. Which might seem perverse if you know that for most of the last hundred pages I was dissolved in tears.” How was your reading experience similar or different from her?
From the same review, the idea that the pacing of this book is important. “It’s a curious phenomenon that in this digital age — in which thoughts that once emerged quietly and gradually on paper have been overtaken by instantaneous visual and audio impressions that are swiftly taken in without really being absorbed — the rapt viewer sometimes needs to be jarred, slowed down and forced to look inward.” How would this story have been told in a 1 minute viral video? How would the effect be different? What choices might a director make when adapting this to a Hollywood movie?