Book Review | Still Me by Jojo Moyes

By the time I picked up this book, my anger at Me Before You had almost subsided, but then Jojo Moyes decided to continue to stab me in the heart with Louisa’s story.

I’ll say this, Me Before You was probably my favorite book in this trilogy, but that isn’t to say I disliked the other two. My rage simmered throughout After You and Still Me because Moyes writes such likeable characters. I was shattered after Me Before You and I still kind of can’t let go of my sadness.

Still Me was the closure to Louisa’s story that I needed. And it was definitely a whirlwind.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.

As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you find the courage to follow your heart–wherever that may lead?

Funny, romantic, and poignant, Still Me follows Lou as she discovers who she is and who she was always meant to be–and to live boldly in her brave new world.

Ambulance Sam

Part of the reason this book was so frustrating to me was Ambulance Sam. I really like him for Louisa, but the problem with their relationship is starts off while she’s still grieving and then they only have like three months together before she leaves for her new job in New York. I know they love each other but a lot of the turmoil they faced throughout this novel could have been avoided if they’d just put a stopper on their relationship until she returned to England. I feel like when Lou arrived in New York she really limited herself – or held herself back – because of Ambulance Sam.

I understand why Moyes had their relationship struggle to survive the long distance. It made the story work.. I just didn’t necessarily like all the trouble Lou went through in this one. It’s just like – why can’t this woman catch a freaking break?!

Oh and all that shit with Katie. Unnecessary. Sam and Lou went through it enough on their own – Katie was an unnecessary, underdeveloped character. I can’t even really remember much about her other than she was obsessed with Sam.

The New Employer

The Gopnik’s have their problems. I mean Agnes is the same age as Lou and Leonard is probably in his sixties. Safe to say he’s old enough to be her father. I’m not judging – love is love, but the issue I have with their relationship is that Agnes has built it on secrets and lies. She could have just told him about her issues with her family in Poland and saved everyone a lot of trouble.

It’s not shocking that Agnes loves Lou as a friend. She ends up not defending her to protect herself toward the middle of the story which isn’t surprising. It’s just not very friend-like. It was messed up how quickly Lou was dismissed, yet in true Lou spirit, she didn’t give up.

Margot De Witt

Perhaps the most surprising outcome of this story is the relationship that blooms between Mrs. De Witt and Lou. The old woman was a fashion mogul in her younger years so, of course, when Lou realizes it, they really hit it off. Her pug, Dean Martin, also helps forge a really lovely friendship between the younger and older women.

What I like most about this friendship is the encouragement Margot offers to Lou during what I’ll call the dark days. She encourages her to be herself. To not shape herself to any man. To embrace her own sense of fashion. In particular, I enjoyed the moment Lou refuses to change out of her bumblebee tights for a night out with the Corporates because of Mrs. De Witt.

In the end, Lou and Margot end up being really great friends for each other despite the age gap. Lou helps Mrs. De Witt reach out to her estranged family and Mrs. De Witt enables Lou to figure out her dreams, while also enabling her to remain in New York.

Josh (His Last Name Doesn’t Matter)

However much he looks like Will. He. Is. Not. Will. Traynor.

Dude’s the biggest, most pompous asshole ever. I’ll leave it there.

Lily

I liked Lily MUCH more in this one! Not only is she doing SO MUCH better by living with Mrs. Traynor, she’s also playing matchmaker (and well).

I don’t have too much to say about Lily as she plays such a minor role in this book, but as far as character progression and growth goes – Lily nails it!

Concluding Thoughts

For me, this was a neat conclusion to Lou’s story. I’m not left wanting more because I’ve created a nice little story for Lou and her fella in my mind. I don’t actually want to read more from Lou even though I adore her. In my head, her story has concluded. I’m happy with the ending of this series (if it is, in fact the end). If there were to be another sequel, I can’t say with confidence I wouldn’t read it, but I’m about 90% sure I’d let it slip past. Like I said, this conclusion was lovely.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟💫

Honestly, there was a bit in the middle where I felt like Jojo was adding chaos for the sake of making the book more lengthy. There’s such a thing as drivel in literature and some of the chaos of Lou’s life in the middle was drivel that could’ve been left out. I really believe this book could’ve been at least 75 pages shorter without compromising the ending. This is the reason it didn’t get 4 from me.

Have you read any of Moyes’ other works? I found myself loving her writing style so I’m hoping for some recommendations for other books by her I should read. Drop me a recommendation in the comments… not that my TBR can handle much more haha.

Book Review | After You by Jojo Moyes

I spent way too long after finishing Me Before You in a rage. In fact, the rage carried over into my enjoyment of this novel for the first half or so. As much as I tried not to let my anger shape the way I felt about this book, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let it. Because I did.

I spent so much time being angry at Ms. Moyes over the ending of Me Before You, I almost didn’t even give this book a chance. But I needed to know how the story continued, so I tried to let go of the anger. It worked out for me in the end.

I’m still a little mad though.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.   

Lily Houghton-Miller

I spent half of this book hating Lily. She’s selfish, she’s a brat, and she’s manipulative. How could her father possibly be a character I enjoy so much? Well, it turns out her character flaws mostly derive from her horrible mother.

When we meet Lily, she’s about 16 years old and struggling to find her way in life. She’s the one who witnesses Lou’s accident. She’s the one who calls the ambulance. She’s annoying, but at the same time, I welcomed her to the story. She gives Lou something to focus on besides her grief.

Toward the end, I really came to like Lily. She was just a lost little girl – who better than Lou to help show her the way?

Moving On

The whole point of this novel is, in my opinion, how to deal with grief. It’s the focal point. This book, much as I hated it at first, helped me through my grief to. This novel was like aloe to a burn – it helped soothe my rage and calm my grief. I didn’t know when I started it how much I needed this book to help me get over the ending of Me Before You. This book was all about moving on and I think that’s what helped me enjoy it toward the middle and end.

Ambulance Sam

At first, I didn’t like him. I fell into the trap Moyes wove for us – the trap Lou herself fell into. But when I realized we were both wrong, I was pleased with the love interest selection. While Sam is no Will Traynor, he is definitely someone who understand Lou’s grief enough to help her work through it. By the end, I found myself hopeful for the sake of the budding romance between these two.

Feminism

There is little I love more than a woman who’s spent her whole life living to serve her husband and family discovering feminism. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the novel, aside from the healing of grief. Lou’s mother discovering feminism at the adult school is literally the best. For a book that kept me sad (and crying) throughout, the added spice of a feminist mother gave me some good laughs and kept me from becoming too depressed while reading. Also Lou’s dad being desperate to get Josie out of this movement is quite funny.

Overall Thoughts

Going in, I didn’t think I’d give this one as high a rating as Me Before You. I might have liked this one a smidge better because I felt it handled the whole recovering from grief thing really well. While I didn’t necessarily like how Moyes handled depression in Me Before You, I do really think she did a great job at handling grief. I mean, I’m still grieving the loss of a character, but this book helped me overcome a little bit. I definitely needed to see Lou heal too – even though I didn’t realize it when I picked this one up.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I was worried that this would be the sort of book that sucks – as is the case with a lot of second books’ in a series. I was quite impressed with this one. I’m wondering if anyone feels the same as me. Did you like After You? I noticed its rating is quite a bit lower on Goodreads. Share some thoughts down in the comments.

Book Review | Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Last year, I mistakenly ordered Still Me as one of my Book of the Month selections. I say “mistakenly” because at that time I didn’t know it was the third book in a series. When I finally realized my mistake, I headed over to Amazon and picked up a copy of Me Before You and After You so that I’d be ready to read Still Me when the time came.

I decided to grab Me Before You around mid-month because I’d been reading a lot of light hearted and fun books throughout the month of February and I, surprisingly, wanted a break from YA at this point in the month.

I have many thoughts on the book so let’s get started.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Mental Health

The first thing I’d like to discuss is the mental health situation surround Will. Obviously he isn’t happy with his life. And how could he be? I mean, he went from being on top of the world – travelling and living his life to the fullest – to being bound to his chair and house. I understand how that could be depressing.

What I didn’t like is how the depression was handled in this book. I thought, without giving any spoilers, it could have been handled a bit better. I didn’t necessarily dislike the use of mental health in this book, but I didn’t like that Jojo Moyes basically made it seem like living life in a chair wasn’t worth living.

One more time, I understand that this is how someone who lead an active life before a life changing accident would likely feel, but I would have thought the Traynor’s could afford to send Will to speak with a therapist after his attempted suicide. This would have helped alter my view, if slightly, on the mental health in this story.

Supporting Characters

Look, Louisa is obviously my favorite. She’s sarcastic and sassy and a character who leapt off the page at me. I really like her and could see myself being friends with a person like her. She also has kindness in her from being raised by a really wholesome family.

For the most part, I liked the supporting characters. Even Will’s mom wasn’t that bad. Do you know who I hated? Patrick. Seriously, fuck that guy.

As Lou’s boyfriend of nearly 7 years, you’d think they’d be engaged or at least living together. No chance. Patrick is married to working out – which is fine. Do you, Patrick. Just don’t get pissy pants when your girl starts to drift away from you. Also don’t be a prick to a man in a wheelchair just because you’re jealous that he’s obviously way better than you.

Basically, Lou could do better than Patrick. Rant over.

On to Lou’s family. I loved her father. He reminded me so much of my own dad it was nuts! The way he teases Lou is exactly the way my dad teases my sister and me. I loved him. And Lou’s mom was the kind of mom I strive to be – loving, nurturing, and kind. Treena was kind of bitchy and gave off the vibe of older sister (even though she’s younger). I think this is because she’s got a child of her own, but I still liked her. She kept it real with Lou which is what she needed.

That Ending

I’m gonna be up front with you here. I was furious at the end of this novel. Literally, I was so pissed I couldn’t even feel anything but rage. I can’t go much into details here because my mother in law reads this blog and I don’t want to give spoilers since I know she wants to read this book… If you have read Me Before You you know why I’m mad.

Honestly, when it’s all said and done I quite enjoyed this book. It was a heart wrenching love story that I didn’t know was missing from my life. Even though I was mad about how it ended, I recommend it to romance lovers. It’s not a hardcore, smutty romance story, but the love is there and it’s so strong.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you watched the film adaptation of Me Before You? Is it worth watching or is it really different from the book? Tell me how you felt while reading this book in the comments.