revisiting old reviews

Revisiting Old Reviews: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Let’s talk about changing your mind. 

In my previous post I talked about Low Ratings & Guilt and I’ve mentioned that I had trouble rating Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  This obviously got me thinking, so I decided to revisit my review and tell you a bit about why I have changed and how I have changed my mind since then. There will be spoilers but I imagine you have either read this or have been spoiled for it already.

So a bit of background – this book was huge at a certain point in time. Everyone was talking about and everyone was going on and on about how this is so beautiful and so important, so naturally I had to pick it up. And the book left me feeling really uneasy and uncomfortable. However, I could not for the life of me pinpoint exactly what did not work. So I decided to not rate it at all and this is what I wrote in my review:

I found it a bit hard to rate this book, so I’ll leave it without an actual rating because I DO think that it’s good and especially important, but I’m not sure how much I enjoyed the book in itself. It was a emotionally draining experience for me, and whenever I put the book down, I felt so bad. And I know that, given the topic, it’s probably how I was meant to feel and I did expect to feel emotional about this. But it was a sort of queasy and uneasy sort of emotional and bad. And I’m not sure why that was.
Will was sort of stripped down to his disability. Maybe that was done to portray why he was making the decisions that he was making, but I am just not sure that direction was working for me. I had trouble understanding why he made the choice that he did. And keep in mind, that I fully support someone’s decision to choose. That’s not what bothered me. I feel like if we had Will’s perspective, either in the present or the past, just for one chapter, I would have been okay with how this book ended. But it was so difficult for me to understand it, because there kept being signs of “hope”, so the whole reasoning behind this felt so… off. I kept hoping that the ending was going to change, but not out of some romantic delusions of life, or love, or my getting attached to the characters too much (which in fact didn’t happen. I wanted them to be happy, but I was a bit detached because I kept feeling this uneasiness about the characterization). It was because it just didn’t make sense to me. I won’t be reading the sequel because I don’t want to know what happens to Louisa after this, because I have a feeling as to how it’s gonna go, and it’s not something that I want to read.

You can tell that I was uncomfortable by the read, but you can also tell I was so primed by previous reviews and hype about how this was important and how it tackles a difficult topic. And it does. It just does it badly.

This book tackles the topic of a quadriplegic guy who is miserable and really bitter and has a hard time with his situation. Our main character, Louisa, ends up being a sort of nurse for him and they ultimately fall in love. However, this book also deals with assisted suicide and that’s where I think things took a turn for the wrong.

You see, Will is disabled. However, Will has an incredibly supportive family, he has the best possible medical care, he has wealth (which is important in terms of providing him with care and comfort that he needs) and by the end of the book he falls in love. And then he proceeds to take his life. While I have no issue with the assisted suicide part and I fully understand the person’s prerogative to choose, I can’t help but feel like this book ends up sending the message that a disabled life isn’t worth living, despite the things I previously mentioned. Also, one of the things which you go through is a psychological assessment, and it was stated how Will was not mentally ill, and his behavior screams depression to me. Also, this book has been criticized a lot  for its representation (google it) so it’s not like I am making it all up in my head.

As I said, this could have been solved easily. We could have gotten Will’s perspective, and we could have gotten his rationalization for this decisions. But we didn’t. And that left such a bitter taste in my mouth. And the usual argument from the people who loved the ending is that it was HIS choice or that people can’t handle sad endings. And that is so completely untrue. I like sad endings. But I also like endings that make sense. And this just did not. I have searched for people who are quadriplegic and their thoughts on it and I’ll leave you with a quote from Francesco Clark:

“I’ve worked tirelessly to show people that being quadriplegic isn’t the end of your life, it’s another beginning,” he said. “While I am by no means taking a stance on the issue of assisted suicide, I feel compelled to express that I am angry to be unwittingly associated with a storyline that suggests the only option for those who sustain injuries like mine is death.”

Which is why I ended up changing my review to one star. Ultimately, this made me feel bad and uncomfortable, and I think that’s a warning sign. I believe this is harmful, so I decided to finally rate it and get my thoughts out there.

SO I would love to hear from you? Have you read this? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments below!


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12 thoughts on “Revisiting Old Reviews: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  1. I, personally, am in love with the story! it is indeed sad at the ending and I felt bad when will decided to take his own life but I also understand why he had to do it (everybody can interpret it differently​) he didn’t want to depend and reply on someone else for the rest of his life when he was so used to doing things himself and on his own. Him being stripped of that so suddenly is natural to get him all bitter and depressed. I know if it was me I wouldn’t want to depend on anyone; being wealthy or not, having a loving supportive family or not, it’s what he feels deep inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what you’re trying to say! However, I feel like I could understand that only if we had his point of view. I get that he lived a very active life and I get that it was awful for him to depend on someone else, but I just think that it’s problematic that I did not feel that tis is a specific thing for him. That this was him as a character. It felt like it was a natural thing for a disabled person to choose. What I mean by that is that nobody wants to depend on a person the way Will had to depend on others. Nobody. A grownup being reduced to getting help as a child is a very jarring experience and my point exactly is that it is natural to feel bitter and depressed, which is why he was in no way in a position to make a decision like that. And again, I get that he felt it deep inside, but I needed to be shown that. This way, it felt like he had all the support and all the love, and that wasn’t enough BECAUSE he is disabled. I hope you understand what I mean, I totally get why you loved the book! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries! I totally get your side as well, and I agree! I would’ve loved to have him POV just as well. the reason why I’m on his side is at one point of my life I experienced (even a tiny bit) what he’s been through, depending on someone else to do your stuff because you couldn’t, and despite the whole support and love it still doesn’t lift the guilt, and the heaviness of it.

        Have you read the sequel?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. me too!

        I guess you should, yes it’s good (to me at least lol) some stuff are revealed related to Will and the story carries on

        I had a review about it posted yesterday if you’re interested to read, but there are some spoilers in it though :/

        PS: in case you didn’t know, JoJo Moyes announced there’s gonna be a 3rd book for Louisa 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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