There are some books you read because you have to. There are books you read, like and forget as a nice memory. There are books you loathe passionately. Then there are THE books.
Seminal books that affect you so profoundly they become ingrained on your psyche permanently, their characters weaved into the fabric of your history, so familiar are they to your life.
They may be intellectual, or thrilling, or just lovely. But they are entirely loved. Books like To Kill a Mockingbird, One Fine Day, the Bridget Jones Series (even About a Boy), the Harry Potter Series.
Stories that readers become fanatical about. The ones you keep reading even when your eyes burn and you have to be at work for six, just to find out a bit more. The ones you get a flutter of anxiety when you realise there are only five more pages.
Me Before You, and the newly-released follow up Me After You are such books (so much so that they are currently being turned into movies).
Starting in an almost formulaic ‘Pygmalion’ type scenario, we meet Lou Clark, a waitress living an entirely routine existence and Will Traynor, a one-time successful exec, forced into a wheelchair as a Quadriplegic in a car accident.
Will’s huge life has been forced into a very small one and so unbearable does he find it that he has chosen to end it.
In desperation his mother looks for something, anything that may make him change his mind. Lou, having lost her job becomes that something, with her quirky clothes and spirit.
The book centres on the still-controversial right-to-die argument, lifting it from simple chic-lit love story to something much more allegorical. No flouncy love story, this book tackles the big ones – what love is, rape, identity and death, without ever becoming heavy or lumbering.
Moyes’ formation of Lou’s character brings the lightness that lifts this story from misery memoir, while retaining the tragedy.
Without taking away the magic, by revealing too much. Me After You follows the pairs story as life and events move them forwards, mainly focussing on Lou.
If I say to you the most poignant part of this story are the words ‘he loves me enough to live for me’ you should get enough of an idea of just how heart-rending the books are.
This book has more action, is pacier then the first but no less lovely for it. Moyes stays away from cliché right till the end and as a woman who loves a strong female character I delighted in where she took a story that most thought simply couldn’t be followed up.
If you love a good human weepy these are the books for you. I cried for DAYS but honestly felt lifted. For weeks afterwards the words ‘just live’ echo in your head. What’s better than that?
Both books are available in most major bookshops, from £5Me After You Giveaway