Still Me

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Here is the summary from the inside flap:

“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 has been hired by the super-rich Gopniks — Leonard and his unhappy, much younger second wife, Agnes — and finds herself amid a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. But Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and this very privileged New York life.

“Soon, though, Lou realizes that life in the Gopnik household is not as straightforward as it first seemed. She also begins to make friends who inhabit a less rarefied side of New York — from the building doorman and his rambunctious family to the sisters who run the quintessential vintage clothing store downtown, to the world’s crankiest neighbor, Margot De Witt, and her fierce little dog, Dean Martin.

“Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. As Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets — not all her own — that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself, Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?”

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*** Spoilers to Follow ***

This was the first book I was able to finish in months what with being pregnant and tired and then having a newborn. I was so excited to figure out how to squeeze in some reading time in the middle of all my Working Mom duties. Anyway, let’s get to my reflection.

If Jojo Moyes never writes another Louisa Clark novel I think I’ll be okay with it because this is the third book in the series and it was definitely better than the last one. It brought back that desire to have Lou and Will end up together and also had Lou in a much better headspace this time around. I would love to see this book as the sequel movie to Me Before You. We can just delete most of After You from the canon because I absolutely hated that one. I’m mostly talking about the very cliche daughter bit. I felt much better about Lily not having a big role in this book. So much so, I felt you could easily erase her from the book and still make it work kind of how Will’s sister wasn’t included in the movie. The great bits about this book is that I could totally imagine how the movie would look, with Sam coming back to play Josh with an American accent. It would totally work for me.

Ok, enough about the movie adaptation. I can plan that in my head on my own time. I actually found this book to be very relatable. Louisa moved to a country without any family connections and only having Nathan as her support. This can be difficult and most people wouldn’t even do it. I’m not sure if Nathan had ever been to the US before, but he seems like he would be comfortable moving to foreign countries considering he was a foreigner in the first book. Plus, he’s just a laid back dude, so I don’t think of him as having the same emotional struggle as Louisa with being away from home.

I was also not surprised to see a character as selfish as Agnes. I could not do what she did to Louisa, but I also couldn’t be in her situation either. To leave my child behind and move to a new country and marry a man who didn’t want kids. That whole situation is difficult to imagine even though I know there are people out in the world today who have chosen to do a similar thing. The part I cannot stand is that Agnes lets Louisa take the blame for the money. I would have cracked and admitted everything right then and there rather than let someone get fired and have her reputation ruined. There used to be a person in my life who was very much like Agnes. You feel bad for Agnes for being hated by the people in her husband’s life, but then when you see the lengths Agnes would go to just to protect herself, she is no longer a pitiable character. I hated her after that. I just could not understand why Louisa would remain loyal after that. Maybe I’m not as good of a person, but I would have told her secret to Leonard. If I was going to be fired for keeping a secret then that secret is coming out and then they could fire me… better yet, I would quit because that is utter bullshit.

Oh, and Jojo Moyes did it again. She dangled a version of Will in front of my face and I knew it was going to be taken away. One, it was completely unhealthy. You can’t date someone who looks like an ex and have that be your main attraction. That’s a red flag for anyone. Two, he moved too fast. Josh was too interested in Lou. He just found a girl he wanted and hung around until he got her. His tactic was lame. “I’m going to hang out here in the friend zone until your doomed long-distance relationship finally ends. Then I can comfort you and seize the opportunity to just make us a couple instead of asking you.” Ugh! That really annoys me. Then three, he wanted Louisa to be like the other women. Didn’t he say he liked Lou because she was different? Then why force someone to be the opposite?

I was also upset with Lou the whole time for going with whatever other people wanted for her life. Nathan says she should come to New York, off she goes. Josh tells her to change her clothes, she runs up to change. Margot says she should open a clothes agency, Lou makes it happen. Admittedly, the clothes agency was a really good idea for Lou, but in the end, she is still living her life the way others have influenced. I’m glad she is happy in the end, but it kind of feels like the end of Me Before You where I thought Lou had finally gone off to “live boldly” and, instead, she is living under the guise of venturing out on her own. It would have been nice if the agency had been Lou’s idea. I don’t mind that she stays in New York, it’s a wonderful city that would ensnare anyone. I just wish there were more things that Lou thought of on her own.

Let me know how you feel about this book in the comments. Did you understand Louisa’s actions? Did you enjoy other parts of the book?

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