The day is upon me. The day when I must enter the cinema and put myself through Me Before You.
My book club, where I came upon the dastardly book version of Me Before You, has planned a girls night out. So out I shall go, and survive Me Before You.
I am not a great fan of Sadly Ever Afters.
Probably since I was scarred at age 13 by Gone With The Wind (The Sony Betamax version) when Bonnie Blue Butler fell off that horse and died. It went swiftly downhill from from there.
I read The Great Gatsby. It’s the worst book in the whole wide world. On top of a reading it, I watched Robert Redford play Gatsby in an apall7ng movie. This time on VHS. There are unattainable green lights, curtains that never stop blowing in the wind and hot, sweaty, careless people. Oh, and did I mention he DIES in the end?
Another scarring came at the hands of Steel Magnolias, when Julia Roberts bought the farm, because she had a baby and diabetes and it was terrible and me and Sally Field totally lost it. Only I was in public at the cinema.
I vowed to become emotionally stable and one hundred percent sane from hence forth. I refused to cry in Titanic. Clearly they all died. History, people! Don’t y’all read? I found Leo’s demise quite peaceful actually, a gentle loss of consciousness before drifting away. He didn’t swim and splash and create great oceanic havoc in a futile fight for his life, as I had imagined.
The Notebook too. Not Sad. A full and happy life was had by all. Rather extremely happy in certain places, I might add. I read the book, watched the movie, and my eyes were dry. (Besides, who could be sad around Ryan Gosling.)
During these self regulated, stable years, I also came upon The Fault in our Stars. It is a delightful book. Clever, funny characters, smart little plot, but above all, a plot that I could accept. Sadly Ever After, but not so much. What could they actually do about it in the end? Cancer is a beast.
Enter Me Before You. Well, my inner writer, plot figurer-outer, had this one early.
“Aha. Jojo,” I said as I turned the page, “I’m on to you. What awful, horrible ending do you have in store for me?”
What could be worse than plain old death?
Well, Jojo had that one sorted.
And now I am obliged to go beyond visualizing this terrible, awful story and must actually watch it in action. But I’ll tell you why I am prepared to put my tentative grip on sanity at stake.
Secretly I am super jelly of Jojo Moyes. I am jelly that she had such a smart (albeit diabolical) plot idea, and that she executed it so well (it’s brilliantly written) and that she created such memorable characters. We are talking IMAGINARY PEOPLE here. Imaginary People who thousands of Real People around the world are weeping Real Tears over.
Jojo totally aced reaching her audience, giving them a more intense emotional experience in literature, than in real life.
That makes a brilliant creator of fiction.
I recently took out another of her books from the library and not only did I LOOOOVE the book, (it’s called The Last Letter from your Lover and it has a HAPPY ENDING) but I realized that Jojo got it so right with Me Before You, not by mere chance, or by a random idea popping into her head, or by quickly jotting down a draft, but rather Jojo Moyes got it right by putting in years of hard work. Her first book, Sheltering Rain, was published in 2002 and TEN others followed, until Me Before You, her twelfth book, was published in 2012. She has written two more since, After You and The One Plus One. I’d call that prolific.
So this is not her first rodeo. She has put in many hours at her desk, spent many years perfecting her craft.
And that is why I will surrender my sanity and put myself through Me Before You. Out of admiration for all that hard work, talent, and commitment. Plus, who can resist a girls night out to watch a Chick Flick. Or, is it Chick Lit? Or Sick Lit? Or a Sick Flick? Who knows.
But if you haven’t wept enough, or feel you have too tight a grip on sanity and happiness, I have something for you. Here is a reading list for you and your tissue box. And wine box. Yes. Add some wine. And Ice Cream. And Chocolate. And More wine. Out of your box.