I have a confession to make. It’s not easy to admit, but here goes… I judge books by their covers.
I really don’t mean to do it, but I can’t help it. For example, if I spy a book that I’ve been wanting to read but it has a picture of a scene from the film version, I will not buy it. In all the years that I’ve been reading books, I have broken this rule exactly once. I like to think I had good reason to do so; the book in question was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and I was buying it from a floating bookshop (I’ll tell you more about that in a later post because it definitely deserves a page all to itself).
So, there’s that. I also don’t usually go in for the sort of covers that tend to find themselves permanently attached to ‘chick-lit’ novels. You know the ones I mean, pretty pastel colours and the silhouette screaming ‘boy-meets-girl’. People that know me will know I don’t really read these types of books – I tend to find them predictable, unnecessarily overcomplicated or just too darn simple (we all know life isn’t like that). If I’m looking for something that borders on the romantic, give me Jane Eyre any day.
But, in true Holly fashion, I’m about to completely contradict myself. I may have actually found the book that has converted me, and all thanks to Bev (that’s my mum, for future reference). I don’t think she’d mind me saying that her and I don’t exactly have the same tastes in books. Or rather, we like the same type of things, but we seem to find them in different types of book. For those of you who read my Reading Challenge blog, you’ll know that I am trying to broaden my horizons when it comes to books, so I was more than happy to try out one of her recommendations.
The book I settled on was Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You.
A brief overview of the story for anyone who hasn’t read it (I’m going to do my best to not ruin it for you because YOU SHOULD READ IT): A young woman, Lou, finds herself living a very average life in the town she’s always lived in. Devoid of ambition and passion, she finds herself unemployed and sorely in need of a job. Enter Will. He’s the victim of a motorcycle accident that’s left him with very little left to hope for in life. The story follows the carer/cared for relationship that is established between them, with a mixture of laugh out loud mishaps and a few difficult to digest realities of what it’s like to live as a disabled person who has known the joy of living a full life.
Why do I like it so much? Well, without giving away any clues to the ending (unlike Bev did to me!), it affected me more than the majority of other books I’ve read. I finished the book whilst I was with my boyfriend, Alex, and as I closed the book, he asked me if I was okay. I told him I was having an emotional breakdown. Okay, yes, I do tend to exaggerate sometimes, but it really felt like it here. I don’t know whether it was because it took me a weekend of not putting this book down to get through it, but I felt like these characters really resonated with me. I could feel their anguish. I even was putting myself in their shoes, wondering how I’d feel about the options presented to me if I was living their life. It really made me stop and think, and that’s a big deal for me.
A month on and I’ve still not fully recovered. For a book to do that to me, well, it makes me feel like I need to stop being such a snob over book pages. SIDENOTE: I probably should have realised that without the help of Jojo Moyes. It makes me really glad to have given a new book a chance, and it makes me really excited to see what else I end up stumbling across over the course of my challenge.