Me before you by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You is a novel authored by Jojo Moyes. It was first published in 2012 and made quite many sales to the extent of being adapted into a movie in 2016. It is a romantic novel that has a sad ending. It deals with the suicide issue. Some people criticized the book for portraying the act of assisted suicide. From Moyes’s work, we learn that wealth and affection are not all that we require considering whether life is worthwhile living.
The story begins with the main character Louisa Clark struggling to sustain her lifestyle after losing a steady job at some cafe. Her family’s financial condition was worrisome, which made her take whatever well-paying work that was available in her small town. She got a job as a care assistant to Will Traynor. Will was a disabled man that despite being wealthy, his condition had filled him with bitterness and resentment. No matter how friendly and caring Lou tried to be, Will did not replicate. Gradually the two start getting along, and their relationship deepens. They assist each other in exploring past dark moments in their lives and reflect on the best path for their future. But all this is brought to an end after Lou discovers Will’s plot of terminating his life.
The author shows Will’s difficulty in adjusting to his new life through how he treats people close to him. Will was not born disabled; his condition came about from injuries in some accidents he had. “My son – Will – was injured in a road accident almost two years ago. He requires twenty-four-hour care (Moyes, 2012, p29).” Unfortunately for him, his disability was permanent. There was no hope for him to be able to walk again or at least be able to do things for himself. Of course, this is not something anyone can easily adjust to. When people tried to be kind to Will, he became hostile to them. I believe he was doing this out of the bitterness his condition gave him; he must have felt as though he was useless and did not deserve such treatment. Will is frustrated by people that act contemptuously towards him. He feels as though he is a burden to most people. Perhaps this explains why he was comfortable with Lou because she treated him like a non-disabled person. Lou did her best in trying to bring happiness to Will’s life by making him live and feel like an able man. However, Will is sometimes sick and in pain which makes it hard for him to enjoy life.
Before Lou came into Will’s existence, he had been cared for by a couple of other nurses who gave up on him despite being paid a lump sum amount. We learn from the novel that Will was a complicated individual to handle; he had mood swings that made him intolerable. Although he had the money to get him any material thing he desired and hire someone to be at his aid all day, this was not enough for him. After Lou gets the job to be a care assistant, we see that she too is on the verge of quitting working for Will, but her financial issues kept her at it. The author explores how class and money influence every aspect of life.
Nevertheless, money is not the solution to all the problems in the novel. Readers of the Moyes’ work notice some coldness and awkwardness among the Traynors. They seem not to be a family that knows and understands each other as a typical family should. Also, the Traynors’ wealth could only ease the inconvenience that came with Will’s disability but could not cure him. The author shows the different struggles that Lou and Will have to endure and how they provide for each other what the other one is lacking.
Moyes challenges readers to think about the ethics of suicide. After reading the book, one is left questioning whether someone like Will, who no longer sees interest in living, has the right to end his life. Will had found a woman that loved him and was ready to spend the rest of her life with him. And though he claimed to love her deeply, this was not enough reason for him to discard suicide. One might say that Will did not feel as though his life was completed with his wealth. He still saw how he inconvenienced people and never liked one bit of it. Lou tried to show Will that they could still have fun and live life like other couples. She organized an adventurous trip and outdoor activities, but these were not convincing enough to Will. Money is not all that is required to make someone’s life worthwhile living; this is evident from the Traynors. They could get whoever they wanted to care for their son but finding a care assistant was not easy. After reading the novel, readers are left questioning whether we are entitled to bring out lives to an end.
Moyes, J., 2012. Me Before You. New York: Penguin Books.