Thursday, April 3, 2014

Neighborhood Book Group Report - 1 Neighborhood Book Group got together last night to discuss Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  Once again, this group was businesslike!  Although we have all been neighbors for sometime, there is still a little awkwardness when we get together in one room to talk about our opinions.  It is so much easier just to wave when I walk by with my golden retriever pulling me along than to sit and talk about something more substantial.  Hopefully, with more time, the ice will break.

It's been a while since I talked about Me Before You, so here is the long story short.  Louisa is a young woman who is out of work, living with her parents, and dating her longtime boyfriend, Patrick.  She applies for a care giving position that she is sure she is not qualified for, and is shocked to get hired.  She will be caring for Will, who was a wealthy young professional until a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed.  Will has decided that life in a wheelchair is not worth living, and his mother has hired Louisa to help persuade him otherwise, without exactly telling Louisa that this is her expectation.

We found that there was a lot to like about Me Before You.  There were some surprise favorite characters, including the true caregiver, Nathan, and the wedding guest who didn't pity Will but instead treated him as a human, Mary.  We weren't exactly sure who would play Nathan in the movie, but it was suggested that he should look like the new Detroit Tigers' Manager, Brad Ausmus, and that we should all watch more baseball.  Here's a for instance: 

 OK, so maybe the ice is melting a little.
We also talked about the title.  There were a few ways of interpreting it.  One way was that Louisa was always letting other people put their needs before hers.  Her family, he boyfriend, and Will all put their needs first, and she allowed them to walk all over her.  The title might be recognizing the new Louisa in the end, where she is finally acknowledging her own needs.  The interpretation that I liked better though, was as a way of explaining who the characters were before they met.  Like, "This is who I was before you knew me."  Me before you.  Throughout the story both Will and Louisa  tell each other about who they were as opposed to who they are in the moment when they are speaking.  Will's "big life" has been reduced to a small suite of rooms.  Louisa's small life is pushing its limits just a bit, and she likes it.
Next time we meet we will be discussing Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen.  We are a little fuzzy on the next meeting date though, so I'm not starting that one until I'm sure I can make the meeting.
Still Reading:  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Still Listening to:  The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

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