Me Before You was selected as our next book club pick by a member who’s usually picked more brainier pieces than Jojo Moyes’ hit. I had my doubts because at first I thought this would just be chick-lit/beach read (which it was, but more later). The member who picked it said she liked it because she wanted to spin off an intellectual conversation from the book’s discussion of assisted suicide. We’ll see about that.
First of all, as a male reader, I really don’t mind female protagonists. And I don’t even mind when a plot revolves around a romance with a female protagonist. If she’s interesting and there’s more happening than just rainbows and cupids, I give these types of books (and there’s only been a handful in my reading life) a fair shake. In this case I liked the protagonists in this book. Louisa is interesting and complex and Will is the type of guy I’d get a long with. I enjoyed their interactions together and they are developed in ways that made me feel they could be real people.
However, what really spoiled all the fun were the other characters and somewhat predictable course of the plot. Too often I felt that the characters are sometimes used as pawns, which frustrated me to know end. Besides the protagonists, the rest of the cast are used as plot points and foils and are flat. The way the supporting characters interact with Will and Louisa was too predictable and the way they foiled the two was too stilted. This lead to most of the book feeling forced, as if I was supposed to feel a certain way and there was no room for any other emotional interpretation.
While there is a shallow discussion of death with dignity, this is really a beach read with a shadow of anti-feminism hanging over most of the book.