"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."
There are some books that are monumental despite the fact that they actually don't look like it nor do they give the impression they will be. Me Before You is more than that. I must admit that I kept seeing this title everywhere but given that I didn't know the author in any other way than from romance lists, I wasn't a big fan of giving it a shot. Until people whose opinion I value and who read anything but romances started shoving this book in my hands.
When I started reading it, I noticed that it reads easily and quickly and even though it looked like a fat one, the pages kept slipping through. So when I started it, I read 30 pages and then went to bed. The next day (thank god it was a weekend) I read 200. Needless to say this was the story I cooked with, cleaned with, got up with and went to bed with. I was pretty much useless for two days. And very, very anti-social. My communication was restricted to sudden outbursts of laughter (that wouldn't end), cursing certain characters and weeping like a little girl. So that's all the warning you need.
The outline of the story you probably know and if you don't, here's the gist of it. Lou has been living in her small town all her life. She is the kind of girl who doesn't stand out in any other way than her ridiculous sense of fashion. She blends in and that's what she's liked in her job at the tea house. She could serve and be invisible and observe the world and lives happening in front of her. When she loses her job, she doesn't know what to do. With her job, with her family, with her fitness obsessed boyfriend Patrick whom she has practically had nothing in common for the past gazillion years. Will, on the other hand, likes his life loud. He likes living it to the fullest, using a big spoon for it, trying anything twice and never sitting still. Until a terrible accident lands him in a wheelchair, paralyzed from neck down. And Lou is supposed to be the one who takes care of him and keeps him company. He's miserable because he needs to be babysat and he's decided he will end that and she's fed up because he's just plain unpleasant. Until they realize they have more in common than they thought and more to teach each other than they ever would imagine. Is it time that Will realizes life can be pretty great after something so horrible? Is it even true?
I cannot stress enough how much this is not a romance novel, how much it's not a love story and how you will not find any of the expected parts of that in it. It's an amazing book about life, about people, about prejudice and about someone who will change your life forever. If you're lucky enough to meet them. Romance or not.
I also cannot even decide what the best thing about this book is. Is it the characters that are so realistic and so true that they make your heart ache? Is it the knowledge you gain about how much people with such disability actually suffer? Is it the fact that you will absolutely never be the same again after reading it? I honestly don't know. And I don't know why you still haven't picked up the book and started reading it. Because it's high time.