Book Review: Still Me by Jojo Moyes

There’s a lovely line that Anna (Felicity Jones) reads out to Jacob (Anton Yelchin) in the film ‘Like Crazy’.

“I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it, but I didn’t, not really,” she reads from her personal diary.

Unwittingly though, she gives us a refreshingly smart yet insightful one liner on the riddles of life. So much about life remains unfathomable; and it hits you hard just when you think you have the grasp of it. No matter how sensible or experienced you are, you are never equipped enough to outsmart it. And if Jojo Moyes’ ‘Still Me’ revolves around an idea, then it is: with all its pleasures and disappointments, life never fails to amaze you.

Louisa Clark – one more time, with her remarkable wit, courage, and generosity is back in Jojo Moyes’ recent book in the ‘Me Before You’ series. This time, she voyages across the ocean in search of new adventures in New York City. She has come to work for the superrich Gopniks, a dysfunctional multimillionaire family – who, probably, have everything but love, peace, and freedom in their lives. To Lou, their place, with trainers, secretaries, florists, cleaners, grocery teams visiting all the day, never quite feels like home.

Life here is eventful, and nothing like she has ever seen. Rich, inspiring, cinematic – this city is impressive enough to galvanize her enthusiasm and confidence. She throws herself into this new life and doesn’t mind going out of her way to help Agnes, her employer, who considers her more a friend than an assistant. In the blink of an eye, she sees herself travelling in posh cars, visiting important people and places, attending exquisite balls, roaming in designer gowns, and gradually becoming “a different Louisa Clark” at home in England. At a breathtaking pace, she is tossed into a life – overwhelming, unexpected, cruel, and ever-changing.

Jojo Moyes’s brilliance lies in her graceful exploration of life, love, and human relationships. Introducing a wide range of characters and subplots, ‘Still Me’ is like a rough draft of a fighter’s experience savouring new challenges. From her neighbour Mrs. De Witt to her handsome paramedic boyfriend Sam, Louisa Clark’s story welcomes a varied set of participants in the journey to try her resilience. However, like Louisa, ‘Still Me’, not for once, loses its energy or nuance; and stays equally humorous, peppy, and sensitive till the end. It’s simple and smooth, just the way Moyes writes.

“The key was to know that you could always somehow find a way to reinvent yourself again,” Louisa tells herself as she races up the stairs of 30 Rockfeller Plaza.

Both personal and wide-ranging, this romantic fiction is a gentle reminder that a lifetime isn’t forever. So, make the most of it.

 

Briti Bose

Briti Bose is a freelance writer, who enjoys home cooked meals, stories that aren’t true, but movies based on real life crimes, and being with people who laugh a lot.

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