This book sounded pretty sappy—poor, quirky small-town woman gets a job as caretaker to a rich, (understandably) bitter quadriplegic—but it’s been hugely popular for a reason: it’s really good. (It was adapted into a widely-panned movie, which I have not seen.)
Lou had been perfectly content with her job in a tea shop, but when it closes abruptly, she has to find new employment—fast. Her family is depending on her paycheck. The only good job she can find is working for Will, or rather Will’s demanding mother. She’s the latest in a long line of people who have attempted to do the job, but against all odds, Lou and Will kind of hit it off—she stands up to him when he’s cantankerous, and he wants to show her that there’s more to life beyond the borders of their town. (He was a hotshot financier in London before the accident that paralyzed him.)
There was some outcry over the movie (I don’t know if anyone complained about the book) from certain quarters of the disabled community over the portrayal of Will, but he’s presented as a strong-minded man who wants to make his own choices—a far cry from the cliché of the saintly disabled person. It’s possible the movie didn’t portray his situation with the nuance it is dealt with in the book, which is often what happens when a 400-page novel is distilled into a two-hour movie. I found Me Before You to be a smart, moving page-turner.