Me Before You – Louisa Clark has recently been made redundant from her much loved job in the Butter Bun coffee shop, and after several failed jobs (a night-shift at the local chicken factory). To the surprise of all her family, Lou is employed by Mrs Traynor (a lawyer) to be a companion and caregiver to her son, as she suspects Louisa’s bubbly personality will help ease Will’s depressing life. Along with nurse Nathan, Louisa embarks on trips to the Races, Concerts etc to show Will that his life can still contain joy and happiness.
‘ “How dare you suggest I would do anything to hurt Will’s feelings. I have done everything,” I hissed. “I have done everything I can think of. I’ve come up with the ideas, got him out, talked to him, read to him, looked after him,” My last words exploded out of my chest. “I’ve cleaned up after him. I’ve changed his bloody catheter. I’ve made him laugh. I’ve done more than your bloody family have done.” ‘
Will Traynor is a 30-something year old man who was paralyzed following a traffic accident while he was travelling across London on his way to work. Due to this accident Will has been forced to give up his high-flying job, adventure activities and bachelor pad in London and receive the support of his parents in their sleepy home town Stortfold. Will is adament that he no longers wishes to live like this, therefore he has agreed to give his parents 6 months before he travels to Dignitas in Switzerland to die via assisted suicide.
Assisted Suicide is an incredibly sensitive and contraversial topic, which I feel JoJo Moyes delicately covers in this love story. Assisted Suicide is illegal in the UK, this causes approximately 46 Britons to go abroad every year to die. However there has been several high profile cases which have attempted to challenge this law, some reform was proposed as early as 1930’s by the founding doctor of Dignity in Dying. You can learn more at their website – https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/
Me Before You was adapted in 2016, the brilliant film features Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games, Love, Rosie) and the legendary Charles Dance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Emilia portrays Lou exactly as I imagined her.
After you – A few years after Will’s death, Louisa is working in an Irish themed pub in East City Airport, living in a cold and sterile flat and is estranged from her family due to the scandal. While numbing her loneliness and pain with a glass or two of wine on her balcony, she is startled by an unexpected sound. This causes Lou to slip and fall two floors, breaking her hip, two ribs and her foot, thankfully Ambulance Man Sam and Donna, his fellow paramedic are quickly there to scoop her up.
‘ “So what was the hardest part?” Mr Gopnik said “I’m sorry?” “Of working for William Traynor. It sounds like quite a challenge.” I hesitated. The room was suddenly very quiet. “Letting him go.” I said. And found myself unexpectedly biting back tears.
Louisa’s recuperation at her family home, causes her to reevaluate what she’s doing with her life and her London grief support group helps come to terms with the unexpected arrival of Lily, a troubled, teen aged surprise from Will. On the encouragement of Nathan, Louisa has an interview for a job in New York, the big question is will she take the leap of faith or stay back in London with Sam?
Still Me – Starts when Louisa flies to New York to be employed as supportive figure for Agnes, the second Mrs Gopnik. Agnes is now a young, wealthy New York socialite, however her humble origins in Poland and the unfortunate fact her husband used to be her employer, causes Agnes to be alienated and struggle in high society. Former fashion editor Mrs Margot De Witt is the eccentric neighbour whose dog Dean Martin frequently runs away. When Louisa is sacked for refusing to betray Agnes secret, she ends up moving in and caring for Margot after she breaks her right arm. A shared love of vintage clothes kicks starts a whole new friendship.
‘You did, though. You wanted me to write. And I didn’t do it. I was always too tired or, I’m being honest, I felt self-conscious. It didn’t feel like I was talking to you, just chuntering away on paper. It felt fake. And then the more I didn’t do it, and the more you started adapting to your life there and changing, I felt like – well, what the hell do I have to tell her anyway?’
The long distance, Lou’s evolution and happiness in New York causes tension between her and Sam, which is made worse by Katie, a pretty paramedic whose got her eyes on Sam.