Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book vs. Film: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

One of my goals this year is to do more Book vs. Film reviews. I'm not sure about you, but anytime I see a new movie coming out that says it's based on a novel I buy the book right away and then plan on reading the book before seeing the movie. Sometimes that means I refuse to see the movie for a very long time since, you know, it takes me FOREVER to get through all the books I plan to read. So one of my 2017 reading resolutions...get to those books sooner so I can finally see the movies!

I read and reviewed Me Before You Back in March of 2016 but didn't get a chance to see the movie until the end of the year. See what I think about both below...


The Book (originally posted March 2016)

Publication Date: July 30th, 2013 (Paperback Edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 369

When I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie adaptation of Me Before You I knew I had to FINALLY find the time to read this book! I've had it sitting on my shelves for a while now and knew that just about everyone I've spoken to about the book has loved it, so I cleared my reading schedule and dove right in. And, while it definitely brings up quite a lot of difficult questions and feelings about love and sacrifice, I am so happy I did.

First off, Lou might be my new favorite character. She is so funny and caring and complicated and I loved the time spent with her. The way she interacted with her family had me giggling more than once and the deep-seated love they had for each other, even while they bickered and threw verbal jabs at each other, felt very real and relatable. Beyond her family, the way that she was able to pierce through the wall of anger, disappointment and grief that Will had built up around himself and touch his heart was breathtaking, and the fact that she did it with what I think of as her trademark self-deprecating wit and unwavering kindness made me love her even more. Only someone like Lou would be able to put up with Will (in the beginning...he got nicer as the story went on) and his haughty family and come out the other side with everyone a little better for knowing her. But don't let this lead you to believe she was all bouncy sunshine. She had quite a bit of heartache in her own past and only Will was able to help her get over that hurt and realize she was worth so much more than she believed. They both brought out the best in each other, and I absolutely loved that.

Now to Will's "shocking plans of his own". While I'm pretty sure most people already know what those plans are and whether or not they come to fruition, I am going to try and step lightly just to try and make sure I don't give too much away for anyone who hasn't read it yet. What I will say is I can see how this would be absolutely devastating for anyone to experience, on both sides really, and I think the author did an exceptional job of letting the reader see into the hearts and minds of a variety of characters, giving a well rounded view of the situation. It was really easy to empathize with everyone involved and the myriad of emotions and actions they all went through. I also think it ended the only way it possibly could (or maybe that is just the talent of the author) and, while I did get a little misty, I will say that I feel such satisfaction in knowing the characters made the hard choices needed and the ones that I hope I'd be brave enough to make if it was me.

Me Before You is so much more than the unusual romance I was anticipating. Yes, it is about two unlikely people coming together and finding love in a most unusual circumstance, but it is also about two people being able to bring out the best in each other and support each other in making their own choices and being the best versions of themselves, even if that doesn't involve a happily ever after together. It begs you to ask yourself so many hard questions, namely who has a right to decide how someone else chooses to live, or die, and how much we should be willing to sacrifice for the ones we love. I'm now really excited to see where Jojo Moyes takes some of the characters in the sequel, After You!

Rating: 4.0/5.0


Release Date: June 3rd, 2016
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Length: 110 minutes

I am a HUGE fan of Emilia Clarke's, so as soon as I saw that she was going to be playing Lou I knew she would be perfect for the part. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Sam Claflin was spot on as Will as well. Emilia is just magical and her face is so expressive, and Sam is superb at being a complete snob and completely charming, depending on the scene. Without these two playing their parts as wittily and emotionally as they did the movie could have really fallen flat. However, these two hit it out of the park and I found myself laughing and crying along with them even more than I did in the book.

On the downside, with the limited time given for a movie, the secondary characters weren't able to be as well developed as they were in the book, which was a little bit of a disappointment. The conflicts between the characters weren't as well developed either, especially when it came to the conflicts between Lou and her sister, the marriage problems between Will's parents, the real reason Lou is scared to go out into the world, and Lou's mother's strong convictions against what Will planned to do (I don't want to give anything away!). These conflicts seemed somewhat sugar-coated for the movie, however I do understand that, given the time constraints necessary for a movie, that some aspects needed to be cut. 

I feel a little silly saying this, but I was so convinced by the chemistry between Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin that I kind of hoped the ending was going to be different than the book.  I found myself getting angry at Will for hurting Lou and the pain expressed by Emilia was so palpable I cried - the ugly, snotty, puffy-faced kind of crying - as the ending unfolded. I was kind of shocked by this as I had read the book and knew what was going to happen and come to terms with that ending, but the movie hit an emotional nerve that the book, while wonderful and emotional, just didn't hit. I was so blown away by the movie that I instantly bought it and have re-watched it numerous times since then.

I'm not a huge romance reader/watcher but, as I mentioned in my book review, this isn't your typical romance. Both the book and the movie were wonderful, but the stellar acting by the main characters pushed the movie ahead of the book (which surprised me...I always prefer the book!). I recommend both the book and the movie to anyone looking for an unconventional romance and one that challenges the standards of what people do for the people they love.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

So what do you think? Have you read the book or watched the movie? Which did you prefer?


  1. I, also, read the book and saw the movie. I disagree with you that the movie is better because of the acting. The movie was choppy. If I hadn't already read the book, I wouldn't have understood so much of the movie. Things happened in the movie with no explanation. So it was a good thing we watched the DVD so I could stop it periodically to explain it to my husband. Good acting never trumps a good story.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, techeditor! While I do agree that there was quite a lot left out of the movie that was included in the story, and for good reason, I found myself more emotionally moved by the movie. For me, that acting made the difference in how I ultimately felt when finished and pushed it just that little bit over the book.