Beach Book Bucket List: Me Before You

Beach Book Bucket List: Me Before You

If you’re looking for a beach read that begs the question, “What would you do for love?” look no further than “Me Before You.”

By bestselling English author Jojo Moyes, this book’s title has been on the lips of just about anyone I have talked books with. So on the bucket list it went and stayed for some time, until I did the unthinkable and left my pile of books on the table when we hit the road last weekend. One emergency trip to the bookstore and it was off to the races with this story, one in a long line of tragic romances that have graced bookshelves since the dawn of time.

I don’t know if this is in movie mode just yet, but it’s begging for a Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling reunion.

For the three people on the planet who haven’t read this book yet, I would definitely recommend it as a great summer read—it’s all the intoxicating ingredients of a beach book. The girl with a tragic past, who has closed herself off to the world. The guy who had it all and then loses it one rainy morning. Thrown together under the auspices of a caretaker/patient relationship, Louisa discovers Will has plans for his future that she can’t wrap her brain around and Will finds in Lou a reason to make a difference in someone’s life other than his own.

And you can buy it in paperback—practically a beach requirement.

For everyone else who has read it, let’s dissect, shall we? (SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read the book, go do that and then come back and gossip away!)

Alright, people—did anyone else want to punch Lou’s dad in the throat and her sister in the ladyparts? Sure, there was a soft side to Treena, but the “I got knocked up and the world still revolves around me and you, sister should live in a crackerbox so my big bedroom is always waiting for me when I come home from college” routine, alongside the “You have to work and do nothing with your life and take care of our parents so I can go to college” sideshow fueled my hatefire for selfish brats. And her dad? Good God, what an unsupportive SOB. But one we feel a little sorry for seeing he’s living in a constant state of job loss anxiety.

This, rounded out with Martyr Mom, seemingly always cleaning, cooking and giving up whatever pleasantries she has for her kids. Oy.

That said, I didn’t loathe Lou’s family, I just didn’t understand the lack of empathy, especially since she had a toad of a long-term boyfriend in Patrick. What a goob. You knew the candlelight dinner was a last gasp on his part to make sure Lou was kept safely under his thumb and not at Will’s side.

And then there’s the Traynors—another lovely bunch. Will’s dad is one character in which I felt Moyes could have done a better job establishing his philandering. We get one chapter that essentially says he was going to have left his wife had it not been for Will’s accident. But why? Was it that bad a marriage early on? Was he just a jackass or was Mrs. Traynor a cold fish? And Will’s sister Georgina, I felt, played such a minor role that she almost could have been left on the editing room floor. I wish there had been more of an interaction between her and Lou — maybe as the protective sister. Or, in true summer beach read/trashy trash trash fashion, a “Flowers in the Attic” -style lover!

But really, they’re all just window dressing on the story that really is Lou and Will. This could have gone the sappy Hallmark Movie of the Month or “A Very Special Lifetimey Special” and maybe in a small way it still did, but the ending we got, sucks as it did, was really the only ending that we could get. This is a guy who was not meant for the chair. I myself could never make the same decision he does, and I’m not convinced others should either — but I also know better than to judge personal misery and the amount one is capable of taking before making a change.

Of course, when they do go movie mode, maybe it’s a good idea if someone not nearly as studly plays Will. Would make it easier to watch. So, maybe a Rachel McAdams/The Hound pairing?

I love books. Read ’em a lot. If you want to know what I am up to, you can type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

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Want a few other ideas? Try these beach reads:

Love Life by Rob Lowe

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Filed under: Book Review

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