Book + Movie Talk: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

July 03, 2016

By the time you are reading this it will have been exactly 1 month since Me Before You the movie was released to theaters, which means unfortunately it's already out of a lot of theaters. I debated whether or not to do this post so late, but since I love writing these posts I decided to go for it.

I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes in March of 2015, so over a year ago. I strongly remember being captivated by the story and telling my whole family that they had to read it! When I found out it was being turned into a film I was overjoyed, and even more so, when I discovered that Sam Claflin was playing the role of Will Traynor. If you aren't familiar with the story, it is that of the fun-loving, slightly childish Louisa Clarke when she takes up the job of caretaker for the grouchy, sarcastic Will Traynor as he recently became quadriplegic.

I've tons of controversy on the concept of the book/film online, many claiming that Jojo Moyes's novel displays disability as a fate worse than death through the character of Will, while this is surely not the case. While I can understand how many people with severe disabilities may feel this way, I do not at all get the message from Moyes that disabled people have a life not worth living. Throughout the book and film, her characters are constantly showing Will that there are numerous things he can do to rival the things he can't. Will's mindset that he can no longer be himself and therefore does not want to live is not representative of all disabled people, and although this is not presented by Moyes, it is not because she feels it is unimportant, but solely because it is not a part of Will or Louisa's story.

Controversy aside, I found that a lot of deeper issues that complete Will and Louisa's story from the book were not included in the movie. These components were important parts of the novel, but could not be included due the length of the film and the differences between literature and films as media. For example, in the both Louisa alludes to Will that when she was younger she was sexually assaulted by a group of men in a maze, and while she never outright declares the nature of attack Will is able to infer what happened. These kinds of inferences are often difficult for the audience to reach in with limited dialogue or insight to a character's mind.

I enjoyed the film a lot, and for me, it was quite moving. While I wasn't moved to tears, there were certain parts of the film in which my eyesight got a bit blurry if you know what I mean. Due to the differences in the book and movie, I recommend watching the film first to see if you like it and if you do, then reading the book so you can have a complete view and understanding of the story and the character's it contains. But, if you're going to pick one or  the other I would choose the book for sure.

I hope you enjoyed this review/comparison of Me Before You. It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I'm so glad that I did because it made me remember how much I love them. Stay tuned, xo Lauren.

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