Laura asked:

I loved this book, but I don't understand the title. Any ideas?

To answer questions about Me Before You, please sign up.
Diane Quoting the author: It’s deliberately opaque – but I think of it as referring to each of them: It’s “who I was before I met you”.
Susan I always felt this was what Will wanted Lou to feel. She had always put everyone ELSE before herself but he wanted her to learn to put herself first (Me Before You). That was my interpretation.
Cheree Opasik I think it refers to his decision at the end.
Michelle Samson I think it works both ways. Lou changed Will (despite not impacting the final result) and Will changed Lou. That's how I interpreted it.
Erica Alduey I think it refers with the fact that Will put himself first before anyone else, and how he wanted Lou to break free, to think for herself, to take her own decisions, to stop worrying for others, to be selfish sometimes, to do something for her happiness.
Yooju Choi I do believe that it portrays how Louisa is being selfish by wanting Will to live even though he is in pain because she loves him. But Will wants to die to end his pain instead of living for the sake of Louisa. Thus, the title Me Before You describes how Will and Louisa are both being selfish and really thinking more of what they want instead what the other wants
Grace Nocula Who she was before she met him...
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Elizabeth I love the title as I believe it refers to who each of them were before they met the other. How, in the end, who they were before they met the other was so different than who each of them became after touching each other's lives
Lucia Wetherill I think it has to do with the fact that (spoilers) he chooses himself over her.
Kageyama Tobio Reading the title "Me Before You" I thought of it more describing Lou before she met Will since Lou changed a lot during the course of their time together.
I also feel that the title hints that even though the interaction with another person might end with you feeling bitterly sad, extremely angry, or on top of the world for all that matters, your interaction with that person has forever changed you and there's no going completely back to the way you were.

Another interpretation of the title that is more clear once reading the book, is that there are times where you need to be selfish every once and a while. Not completely selfish, but enough so that you're content with your life.

<spoiler>Such as Will choosing the option of suicide despite meeting Lou as opposed to continuing to live just for Lou even though he would probably end up sinking into depression himself from feeling useless</spoiler>
Shelley I think it's pretty clear. It refers to who Louisa was before she met Will, and who Will was before Louisa came into his life.
Diana Jimenez It has just so many interpretations... I just love it both the book and the title
Siobhan Lou always went out of her way for anyone. I felt Will wanted Lou to put herself first (Me Before You).
Tina In Will´s mind: Lou´s chance to live a proper life and do more with it than staying the tiny town.
Julie Menke
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Bethany The title for me personally means "Me before I met him". It is about who she was before she met Will. This is my interpretation.
Harpreet Singh i think it refer to his decision at the end

Emaan Ali I think it means something like my life before you came along. Like Lou's life before Will became a part of it. The second part is called 'After you' so it means Lou's life after Will dies.
Alexia I've always thought it's because he chose himself over herself, hence "Me Before You"
Nana Jay
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Janis Mitchell I thought about this a lot too -what does the title mean? For me, it was that in the end, Will was dying so that Louisa would have a life. It was a sacrifice - from him to her. Although Louisa loved him and begged him to live, he said he needed to die - he couldn't live like that although he knew others loved and cared for him. He was going to put himself first this time. But as a result of that, Louisa would be able to live the life she was meant to live. I love all the other answers though - it's interesting how everyone has their own idea of it. Maybe that was the author's intent.
Abbie Stainberg you are actually quit right. i myself asked that question. because the plot of the story is talking about lou's life living and managing while she was working for will. but if the title is "me BEFORE you" then maybe it was supposed to talk about Louisa's life before she even met will. but as you come to the end of the book you do realise that after will's death lousia is changing. so in this point the title starts to clear up it's connection to the plot itself.
Veronica I agree that there are a number or interpretations to the Title of the book.

For both of them they have to learn to not think of their wants/desires first (me before you), but to think of the other.

But probably the strongest interpretation I see if as being Me Before you - As in me before you became part of my life. Lou brought good into Will's life and opened his eyes to a different outlook on life. And goodness knows that Will definitely opened Lou's eyes AND encouraged her to step outside of her comfort zone to new possibilities in her own life/future.
Gen Daniels
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Dar A lot of people are saying that they think it refers to how they changed each other, but I think it has to do with Will's death. Basically how he's gone before her or how he suffers before her maybe?
Ralph Tattersall I will die before you do
Soroush Modabberi I agree!
Everything happened after they met!
Yerin i think the title means something like who she was when she was with will/before meeting will. the second book is 'after you' and i guess you have an idea what the story is all about (literally what lou is like after the ending of first book). but i guess it can mean a lot of things and i'm enjoying reading the thread!
Kirti Sharma I was confused too but as soon as I read the entire book I had my own observation , here's what I think . Lousia clark's life is simple and sorted , she knows her job , the man she's gonna marry and her life is well planned . nothing adventurous , nothing dangerous , everything safe . this book is in series , so the author describes how lousia was before she met william and throughout the whole book , her world is turned upside down , she's not sure about patrick , the love of her life dies , which explains the next title , me after you , and if you have read it , you will understand that her life had changed so so much .
Bella The Moody Queen He chose his own opinions and himself before her, he knew she'd hmbe hurt by his decision and she told him that she wanted him to live coz she loved him but he said it was his Wish and dream to die and that came before her
Vicki My take on this is Louisa before she met Will, and then book #2 is after he's gone and book #3 is Louisa is the same person she's always been.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Janelle Not reading anyone else's answers before I put my answer here so that I am not influenced HAHA!

I think it is that she has to put herself before someone else to protect herself emotionally.... Be it her parents, her sister, Patrick and even Will.... The theme runs through the entire book - every time she steps away from someone. She is always conflicted in those decisions, and she doesn't do it very well at all, but it is honestly what we all have to do to protect ourselves sometimes.
Carrie Her parents talked often in the book how the job had changed her, how much she had grown up and how proud they were of her. Also, Louisa told Will at his ex's wedding that you would have never saw me before the accident because I would have been part of the wait/staff. I think there are many "me before you" things that are possible in this book.
Laura Muñoz Diría que hace referencia al cambio que tuvo Lou una vez conoció a Will, como el le cambio la vida y la percepción de ella.
Kim Q I think it refers to will putting himself before anyone else, or I also think that both Will and Lou were different people before they met each other so it's kinda like: this is who I was before I met you.
Madi i think it means that will loves lou, but he's miserable and he needs to choose himself and do what's best for him over his love for lou.
Janina Tubby I thought it was each one's desire to die before the other.
Seraphima Bogomolova I believe, 'Me Before You' is an ambiguous title for a reason. It makes us think of what lies beneath the intentions of each character and their relationships with other characters in the book.

In case of Clark, it can play in two ways: 1) Clarke before she met Will and after 2) Will puts himself before Clark in status, wealth, importance, and will of what he wants and does not want to do, a kind of selfish part of him.

In case of Will, it plays in the same way 1) Will before and after him met Clark and his own transformation 2) He and his wishes and desires that come before everyone else including his own family members.

In case of Clark’s sister, it is very obviously her sister’s interests’ that come first and leave Clark inadequate and second rated which somewhat changes towards the end of the book where Clark’s sister tries to show Clark that she also can put herself before somebody else.

In case of Will’s mother, it plays as mother’s feelings before the son’s wishes and feelings. She cannot let him go because this will make her unhappy and also in pain. So, she tries to prevent him from dying so she cannot experience the pain herself.

In case of Will’s father, it is his own desires before wife’s and the family’s. He is pleasing himself by having an affair while he is still married to will’s mother.

To me, even though both Clark and Will have changed as a result of their communication and a short relationship, Will is the one who ultimately gets what he wants: his wish of dying is granted, his has changed and improved as a result of knowing Clark and he gets her to fall in love with him. So, the pure me before you. Though he lives money for Clark, for me it is a gesture which was easier to perform as he does not give her what she desired – his feelings and his love. Also, note the names the author has given to her characters: Will as in will to do things his own way or bend anything or anyone to his liking and Clark – as in clerk – the servant, the subordinate, the second rated, the assistant...
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Drea I agree with Diane, I think it refers to both of them, the people they were before they loved each other.
Amy I feel like it was who each was before they met the other, but also it refers to the fact that when you love someone, you tend to put their needs before your own. This story, this situation, though, is Will trying to push Lou to putting herself (her needs and desires and possibilities) before his. And she's trying to do the same thing back to him. It is opaque and it is woven with possible meanings.
Michael Stevenson
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Connie Schuchard
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jahdeya do you remember when Will gets the tattoo of his joke of an expiration date for the day of the accident? I believe the title is supposed to show the way he has changed since he met Lou and the way Will in turn changes Lou as well.
Deborah Dolen They were both very different before they met. So the title applies to either.
Sarah It means who she was before him...the next book is me after you, which is probably how she coped after his death.
chokeboy The title, "Me Before You", is in relation to the title of it's sequel, namely, " After You". "After You" takes place after she met (and fell in love with) Will. Therefore the title "Me Before You" simply means before she met/fell in love with Will.
Sabina Before I read the book I though that the author meant: I am more important than you and I put myself before you, but at the end of the book I understand that means: what I was before you and what I am now, after you came in my life.
Judy I thought it was me before you. I will die before you do, because you need to have a life.
Katherine Gonzalez Well seeing as the book is mostly from Lou's perspective, I think it's about how she saw herself and who she was before Will. Which gives you, Me Before You.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ruth ... putting his needs before others ... (not always a selfish thing to do - although it's often seen that way).
Marlon Manalese It's the effect we have on each other in relationships. Who we are before others is significantly different after we impact each other through our interactions.
Roni Rebecca There are many interpretations, but based on the fact that the sequel is called "After You", I'm willing to bet the title refers to who Lou is/was before everything she went through with Will.
Alaina Post They were both different people before they met each other.
Anika I think that when people think "Me Before You" they think of a selfish aspect. For example, when I first saw the book cover I thought that Lou would be selfish and do something without considering Will. But at the ending Will does what he does without really considering Lou. It about putting yourself before others, like Will puts himself before Lou. Also how Will tells Lou to think about her life not her parents, sister or anyone else but her to put herself before anyone else or that "you" person.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Cristina Marcos she change after know he, it's esay.
Vicki Hubbard Its about the fact that he changed who he was but still couldn't live being this new person, the person he was before was who he wanted to be, and the person she was before was no longer relevant once she met him... Its all really deep in my opinion
Joanne Leaf it refers to multiple things. the fact that will wanted lou to put herself before others. and also the fact that will put himself before lou and his family.
Lâm Trịnh a prologue of the book :
Julia I always thought that it was a joke as well because when you are pushing a wheelchair, then he is always going before her (contrary to the classic "ladies first"). Obviously, you can do a deeper reading after you read the book.
Angie the title is very much about the ending of the book. Although he loved her he put himself before her
Lauren I think it's about Lou and her life before Will.
Jaskson56 Maybe Lou is putting herself before Will and by helping him she realizes so things.
Lily It represents how much both characters changed after meeting each other because they were completely different people before meeting. And afterwards... I think when you read this book, you will realize how much they grew from each other.
Jayna Ultimately, this is Lou's story. She evolves so much as a person throughout this novel. It is about her journey. Who she was, how Will changed her, and who she is now after Will helped push her to start living life.
Tehya Perhaps it is meant to be open ended? It could refer to his decision at the end, the people they were before they met each other, etc.
Stanley Guevarra Will puts his decision first before Lou because he can't handle the struggle of being a quadriplegic. Hence, Me Before You. It sounds a little bit self-centered, but it has everything to do with Will.
Ema I'm pretty sure it refers to Lou before she met will and the way she was thinking about stuff.
Estefania Because he changed her; Louisa was very different before she met Will, and he taught her to really "live her life" and take advantage of every opportunity life gives her. And at the same time, she changed him a little by giving him the peace he was lacking off.

I'm sorry for my english, it's not my native language.
Kaleigh I feel the title makes sense at the end of the second book. I think it has to do with the two stages of Lou's life, but I can't go in much further without spoiling everything else.
Vittoria Giordano I think it can be a lot of meanings: how was Will before he met Clark, the fact that finally Clark put herself first her family, her sister and her boyfriend thanks to Will.
Teresa I think it refers to the fact that Will put his own wishes over Louisa's love for him; but also that despite Will dying, leaving, before Louisa (me before you, he dies before her), he is actually putting her first. Living with him as he is, her life would be limited; without him and with the money he left her she can be anything, realize all the possibilities that he wanted for her.
Teresa Nasson I thought about this in the bus this morning on my way to work, and to me, it simply relates to Lou. It is beautifully ironic how Lou was employed to save Will's life, but all along it was him who was doing the saving. Lou was content in her small town with her comfortable life, not knowing what she was actually missing out on. In the end, Will blessed her with opportunities that she could only dream about. Her life has changed because of Will.
Hershe A It depicts the "selfish" decision of Will: "I come first among all things before you"
Phyllis When I first heard the title I couldn't figure out what it meant but then I read the book and got the impression it was who I was before I met you. The book is the journey of how he changed her and how she had an impact on him. The sequel is called "Me After You".
Nathalie Himmelrich I think the German title makes much more sense: "A full half year" (loosely translated)
Keelia i havent even read this book yet, but the way i felt as soon as i saw it i thought of it as put myself before you, like my self happiness is more important to me than your happiness
Ailin the title is so appropriate for the storyline of this book and in my opinion a very simple translation. Will had a set plan and no matter how deep Lou loved him and despite her pleas, he still chose do what he wanted before her wishes, even though he knew it would hurt her, he went on with his "self-less" decision....thereby calling it ME BEFORE YOU.
Carrie I interpreted it as Lou saying what she was like before she met Will because he changed her life so much. "That was me before I met you and look how far I'm come."
Rahila I also thinks it means that Will decided to put himself and his desires before Lou's, or anyone else for that matter
Stef When I first saw the title, I just thought it very briefly stated that someone's life has changed before meeting the other. Which is pretty much what it was. The book goes into lou's life before will, and will's life before lou.
Marcia I think the title has to do with the main character wanting someone in his life to put his feelings first for once before making decisions FOR him about HIS life. He wants to be his own man just once again.

discussion quiestions
Image for Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more