Still Me by Jojo Moyes is thoughtful, funny and heartfelt. By now, the character of Louisa Clark is starting to feel like a friend. A likable protagonist and Moyes’ writing style makes this an enjoyable novel.
The three books in the series—Me Before You, After You and Still Me—features Louisa at very important stages in her life. Me Before You finds Louisa sheltered and scared of the world. After You shows Louisa lost and depressed. Still Me is the one where she is truly coming into her own. She leaves behind her native England and enters the world of the super rich in New York City. She’s working as an assistant for Agnes Gopnik, a complicated woman with plenty of secrets. While Louisa dedicates herself to the job and New York City, her boyfriend Sam back home is feeling a bit left behind.
It might not seem like it at first but there’s quite a bit going on in this book. Louisa’s job with Agnes, her pull to a thrift clothing store and her anxiety about her relationship with Sam. She also develops a relationship with an older woman that becomes very significant. And she meets Josh, an American man that reminds her of Will, which is intriguing. Still, despite the numerous storylines, Moyes does a good job of balancing each one.
The story is told in first-person narrative so we see everything through Louisa’s eyes. I believe she really painted the challenges of moving to a brand new city. And especially with Louisa coming from England, it’s even more a fish out of water type story. There’s plenty of descriptions of the city, landscape, the food, the ultra rich, the average people, her building, etc.
In Me Before You, Will tells Louisa to ‘live boldly’ and to push herself to live life to the fullest. She’s not living that kind of life in After You, but she’s attempting to do so in Still Me. Louisa has a heart of gold and will do anything to help someone in need. But in doing so, she’s also neglected putting herself first. The move gives her the push to experience life.
The problem is that many people in Louisa’s life want to change or tell her what she should do. When Sam visits her in New York, he remarks how she’s different and makes off hand comments that she’s becoming more American than British. Josh tried to get her to tone down her eccentric wardrobe for a more conservative one. The balance between helpful advice and being controlling is blurred with her dealings with men.
The title Still Me refers to the fact that despite everything she’s been through and is experiencing, she’s still the same kind and sweet Louisa. She’s quirky with plenty of self-deprecating humor but what she discovers in this story is she’s stronger and more resourceful than she expected. While she didn’t have much career goals in Me Before You, she slowly learns where she’ll feel the most satisfaction, job-wise. Louisa is finally becoming an adult and her own person.
Bottom line: this is an enjoyable read.
It’s a complete story, with some romance, but mainly about a woman discovering who she truly is.