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still me, jojo moyes

Still Me is the third book in Jojo Moyes Me Before You trilogy. If you haven’t read the books, you likely know the story from the incredible (acting, and to look at, let’s be real) casting of the movie adaptation for Me Before You. From a mixture of Game of Thrones, Hunger Games and Harry Potter — with Emilia Clarke at the helm as Louisa Clark, we watch as she falls in love with her client Will Traynor, played by Sam Claflin. (And then some cheeky appearances by Neville Longbottom, aka. Matthew Lewis as Louisa’s boyfriend).

Still Me follows Louisa Clark through moving across the seas to, nothing but, New York City (because how else are you supposed to find yourself unless it’s on the other side of the world, in a big city? Duh). She leaves her wonderful, beautiful paramedic boyfriend back in London, so naturally that throws a few curveballs into the mix; especially when she meets a Wall Street social climber who looks awfully like someone from her past. Moyes has an incredible way of painting New York through Louisa’s eyes, the socialite parties with her employer, the extravagance of living on Fifth Avenue, as though you almost feel like you’re there… I could picture the exact buildings she was talking about, and imagine myself running (struggling) through Central Park alongside Lou.

I devoured this in almost on entire sitting. In less than 24 hours, I went along the ride with Louisa Clark for (I assume) the last time, and one of much self-discovery. I think it’s underestimated how much one can lose themselves in the midst of grief, and just how important it is to be able to get back to yourself – let alone to define what yourself really is. For me, it was one of those books that you go to put down so you can go about your daily routine, but you pick it back up immediately, thinking just another chapter…

In reviews, you can see that people often come back to the idea that Moyes shouldn’t have written another book. That her protagonist, Lou, didn’t need her story to be continued after the heartbreak of the first story. But who are we to say where a character’s story should end? And if an author thinks there is more to tell, then there is… It’s their world, after all. As with the character of Lou, life continues on after the shittiest times of our lives, and perhaps Moyes wanted to gift her readers’ the happy ending; which is entirely her prerogative.

If you decide to go into it, go into it lightly. It is not as heart wrenching as it’s predecessor, and arguably that is one of the best things about it. This was a light, easy read and painted a picture for those who decide to live boldly and *find* themselves in the process. While the narrative jumped, it was occasionally corny, and it definitely pulled in some very well-used tropes; I still highly recommend it.

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graduated

Last week, I graduated from University; thus closing a long chapter in le ~ book of life ~. It took me five and a half years, a small sabbatical, a switch in degrees, and many last minute assignments to get that beautiful piece of paper. I walked out with a Bachelor of Writing, majoring in Creative Writing, and in Literary Studies. So, basically, I walked out of there with a piece of paper that says I can write and read.

Finishing my degree has been more to me than just being able to get a job in… Writing. Is that even a thing outside journalism/before getting ‘properly published’? Ah, the ever elusive Arts degrees. It’s been about a commitment to what I want out of my life and in a career. People ask what difference it makes now; I already have established myself in business, as an artist, and in a writer in my own right. What are you even going to use it for? Well… Writing, duh.

Studying writing changed the way I saw it; the art form, but also the thought that goes into which word you use, the structure of your sentence, and where exactly to emphasise.

Welcome to the real world… except, wait a minute? I have been living in it. Because living as a student is just as valid as your job taking up most of your week.

I have seen things take the rounds on the socials in saying that tertiary education isn’t necessary to get where you need to be, and is a whole lot of unnecessary debt. Isn’t that just a whole lot of subjective bullshit? Does that not depend entirely on where someone wants to be? And… hang on… is it not my debt? You’re not paying it off, darls.

There was something I read just the other day, that said you should build a business rather than get a degree. Sure, if you have a business idea and no desire for more education? Go for it. If you are going to Uni in hopes of figuring it out along the way, perhaps taking time away from study is the path for you. But you wipe out the myriad of careers that require the study. From communications all the way to doctors. And the Arts degrees are as valid, it all coming down to where the individual wants to end up. Also… saying this denies that we are all cogs in a machine, and honestly, you have to face that fact while we live in a capitalist society. That there will be people who have to be employees, rather than employers. And that there are people who want that.

I am speaking to you from both ends of the bat: starting my business was the best decision I made for myself, in terms of what brings me finance and freedom to do what I love. But going to University refined skills I need to succeed in the field I desire. Why can’t I have both?

A simple message to end on: stop trying to dictate how you think others should live their lives because you are insecure about your own decisions. Literally, just… live and let live.

Soiya Uni *cheers*