I originally gave Me Before You by Jojo Moyes a full five out of five stars, but have since lowered my rating to around a 3.5 stars. I will get into why (without spoilers) in this review.
Me Before You follows a 26 year old girl named Louisa (Lou for short) living a regular small town life in a town in England. When suddenly losing her job she ends up taking a caregiver position as a last resort, working for a man who was in an accident and now lives with quadriplegia. The story is all about the relationship that builds between Lou and Will, focusing on how Lou should live wholeheartedly and beyond their small town.
I'm going to go into the things I loved first.
I loved the slow burn of Lou and Will. Their sarcastic banter with each other was some of my favorite writing I've ever read.
I loved the raw emotions Jojo Moyes brought me to when reading this story.
I loved the plot points that are negative in Lou's life. I loved watching Lou deal with them, figure them out, get through them, and develop into a person who could handle them.
Alright. So as I already said, originally this was a 5 star book. But since reading it, I've watched a few insightful reviews and now have a better understanding not only that there are problematic plot points in this book but also a better understanding of why they are problematic. Let's get into this.
Firstly I want to say that I by no means want to pretend like I am an expert in these things. I URGE you to head over to a review that I watched at the channel JustHappenToBe.
Ableism. The very short definition of this word from wikipedia is "the discrimination in favor of able bodied people." This story, which has a main character with quadriplegia is focused on the able bodied person. Her character develops. Her character moves on from past trauma. And our main character, Will, with quadriplegia is used mostly as a plot device for her story rather than being a character with significant development himself.
The research. Again, this is not something I pretend to have expertise in. However with the little that I do know about the human body and again having acquired information from the review linked above... The research that was done for this book about quadriplegia, and spinal cord injuries and everything that is involved with that aspect of the plot was done very lazily. It was like she did do some research into facts about the lives of real people who live with the same problems as Will, but not enough to be accurate if anybody was actually interested in looking things up after having read her book.
So. This book is phenomenal if you are reading it for enjoyment and in complete ignorance of the problems that your entertainment can and do have. For some, that's all that matters. But for me, I want to read books that if they deal with sensitive or controversial or mostly ignored topics, I want them to be done in an aware and informational way where I can take something from fiction to bring and use in my real life. This book did not do that. And it took me looking further into reviews and doing some research to recognize that so again I urge you to specifically check out that source I put in earlier.
That's my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. How do you feel about your entertainment? Do you care about the accuracy of information in books that deal with things you don't really know about? Leave a comment and let's discuss.
Until next time,