Handing me a book like ‘Me Before You’ is like handing me a manual about the ‘fastest way to your very own depression’.
Now that sounds very harsh but what I mean is simply that I’m a very pessimistic person. I didn’t need 35% of the book to let me know why Lou became Will’s carer – for me things were pretty much clear as soon as I got to meet Will and his attitude. And like I said in my last status update: “Well, this time around I don't even get the satisfaction to say: "I knew it." because there was nothing remotely good about what I knew.”
But let me start at the beginning: picking up this book I had no idea what I would get myself into, except that there would most likely be a torrent of tears. I think my first wall went up there. Then there was an intriguing Prologue follow by Louisa Clark. And there was my second wall coming up. All throughout the book I wasn’t able to connect with her, starting with the smallest thing: her attitude towards work towards most of her character.
Next up was Will Traynor, he raised the third and strongest wall. From the moment I met Will, my mind was made up about what was going to happen (not in the exact same way it happened but close enough) and maybe that also prevented me from caring for the characters on a deeper level.
I usually love sarcasm and bickering in a book but in ‘Me Before You’ it didn’t work for me at all, instead it made me feel a little depressed. I even had trouble with the bits of humor here and there (and I’m sure I would’ve laughed about these scenes in a different book) but here it didn’t even draw a smile.
I don’t think it’s possible for a human being to read a book like this and not feel at least some compassion for the character’s situations, be it Lou’s or Will’s, even after you’ve distanced yourself from the characters as far as I did. The topic was definitely a hard one and I agree that it was Will’s choice but at the same time I know my feelings towards suicide based on real life experience and they are as negative as they can possibly get. I honestly haven’t made up my mind about the assisted suicide and I hope I never have to.
My biggest problem however was that I felt like Will never truly tried. I’m not pretending to know how it feels to be in that situation, I can’t even begin to imagine. But life isn’t always what we want it to be and life doesn’t always play out the way we want it to – I’m sure that while many people might be happy with their life, it’s not the life they had chosen or dreamed up. And some even have to fight other tragedies and still they fight.
I realize that there is a difference between that and Will’s situation but like I said above, I never got rid of the feeling that he hasn’t really tried. And that’s when I got mad, ridiculously mad that he thought love and support wasn’t enough, even though he never even tried if it could be enough. He had made up his mind and probably way before his suicide attempt but I didn’t see him trying. And that right there is what has me so mad that I’d like to yell until I lose my voice. I honestly can’t reconcile what happened there with my feelings and I’ll be careful not to stumble across a book like this one again.
Lou’s part of the message was more uplifting but even that couldn’t save the book for me. Maybe it was the turmoil that Will’s part of the story brought or maybe it was the failed connection with the characters – I really don’t know.
Nonetheless the book was well written and the author deserves all my respect for writing about a topic like this. It was not a book for me - I didn’t like it and can’t see it as a love story. Everyone has to have a favourite book like this one though and I’m happy for my friends that it worked out so well for them.
Last but not least, I won’t be rating this as I feel like the book doesn’t deserves the dismissal rating I would have to give based on my feelings, I simply wanted to explain my very own views on the topic.