Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CONTEMPORARY | Review: Me Before You



My first contemporary-focused week!
I'm surprised it's taken me so long to do one, but here it is at last.

And to start it off I have a book review for Jojo Moyes' Me Before You.
Me Before You is a contemporary, romance novel that I had been meaning to read for quite some time. It's received rave reviews on Goodreads.
Now, if you read my Which is Which guessing game, than you already know how I feel about this book-thoroughly disappointed and unsatisfied. This book gave me a serious case of "did-I-read-the-same-book-as-everyone-else"-ism. But if you stay tuned, you'll get a more in-depth explanation about why I feel the way I do.

Unfortunately, this will be one large review of why I think this book was horrible.

**ALL MY BOOK REVIEWS ARE SPOILER FREE


Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Contemporary > Romance
Pages: 480
Released: January 5th, 2012
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars


DESCRIPTION (courtesy of Goodreads)

"Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
 

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
 

 Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
 

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time."




--WHAT I DID NOT LIKE--

Characters. 
Main characters, supporting characters- I didn't like any of them.

Let's start with the main ones. 
Lousia - a boring, unmotivated character with no personality. She's in her mid-20s, but that doesn't stop her from acting like a girl entering her teen years. 
Will - a 30 year-old man with no will left to do anything. I think Moyes planned that one. 

Supporting characters.
My main problem with the supporting characters: They were characters for convenience. It was as if Moyes just wrote down characteristics for her characters but forgot to make real people out of them. They were just there to put Louisa in the right spot at the right time. Keep reading if you want a more detailed explanation. 
Patrick - Louisa's boyfriend of 7 (?) years. He was purposefully created to be a horrible boyfriend. It was transparent. 
Nathan - Will's medical caregiver. Who could forget Nathan? (/sarcasm) *raises hand* I still don't understand why Nathan's character was even there. 
Treena - Louisa's sister. Possibly the best character in the whole book. She had more purpose and motivation than anyone else. But even then, most of the time, she was playing the role of "competitive sister" - a catalyst for Lousia. 
Louisa's/Will's parents - more convenient characters


Writing.

Cliches/Cheesiness.
I don't remember the last time saying you have "butterflies" in your stomach was a good idea. Counting cliches would've made a fun drinking game. The writing overall was just incredibly unimaginative, flat, and riddled with cliches.

Changing POV. 
This book is written 90% from Louisa's perspective. But it has the occasional chapter that rotates to the supporting characters. I really, really disliked the change in perspective (and keep in mind I didn't even like Louisa's perspective). Moyes tried painfully hard to make each character's voice distinct and the turnout was, to put it simply, not successful. When she wrote from Will's father's perspective, he would say things like "that young thing" when referring to Lousia. We get it- he's an old man. Moyes shouldn't have to write her character repeatedly saying "that young thing over there" for us to get his voice. I'm cringing now just remembering it.

The "un-love" story
As a reader you are free to think of this book however you want. But I personally reject all theories that this book isn't a love story. There are other elements to it, but they all fall to the wayside for the majority of the book. The primary story is one of romance.
I believe that if Moyes had just stuck to a love story (without trying to include other "serious" aspects) than it would've been better. But she tried to make it more, and her writing and characters couldn't even meet her halfway.
 


 
--OVERALL--

I give Me Before You 1.5 stars out of 5. It's a book that attempts realism but achieves nothing of that nature. It's a fine idea for a love story (hence the .5 star boost), but everything in execution (from the writing to the characters) was anything but real. It's a prime example of a decent concept with horrible execution. 


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