Thursday, August 8, 2013

Be Prepared to Weep and Weep Again

I had Jojo Moyes' Me Before You on my Paperback Swap wish list for a year and still was on the waiting list when I spied it on the review list for All About Romance.  To say that I snarfed it right up might be a slight exaggeration--okay, totally not an exaggeration at all.  I couldn't wait to read it since I'd read so many wonderful things about it.

Then I read the book.  Well, Moyes definitely has a handle on pulling out readers' sobs.  I cried and sniffed through the whole book.  What a wonderful book, I thought.  Sigh.

As we usually do, my husband and I were discussing books over lunch one day.  I had a new review book to read when he asked me about the Moyes book that he'd seen me sniffling over.  What was it about, he asked.

Glibly I started telling him the plot, and as I did so, I found my initial enjoyment of it turn to rage.  Why in the heck should Louisa love Will?  What was lovable about the guy?  As I told my husband the story, I wondered why no one had just driven Will to Switzerland and offed him.

As I kept recounting the story--before I'd finished writing the review--it suddenly occurred to me that it wasn't a love story at all, but a tale of class differences and just another way that Britain differed from the States.  Moyes' genius wasn't in writing a love story for the ages but in explaining once again what the upper class is all about to America's middle class.  We are not like them.  Still.

Essentially, Will is an unlikeable git who pawns off his idea of an ideal life to a well-meaning woman who knocked herself out to make him happy.  Throwing money at her after he was gone was a nice finish, but in the end it was his way of turning her from her working class sensibilities to upper class snobbishness.  In effect, he cloned himself onto her and "gave" her his shallow life.

Was she better off now that he was gone?  We're all supposed to think she was much better off and had a chance of leading a much broader life.  But like everything else in the book, that's debatable.

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