This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I had to read more by this author after reading The Last Letter for Your Lover, a beautifully written novel about love, love, love.

But Moyes writes different types of love stories and I knew that, after reading Last Letter and I expected the same going into this one.

Let me tell you...this book was not an easy find. I couldn't find it through the library so I requested it through interlibrary loan, to no avail. I decided to order it via Amazon and found one, used, in the UK. It didn't take long and I got it and read it as one of my books while in Canada. I actually finished it on the car ride home but only now am I able to bring myself to finally do some writing.

***Spoiler Alerts***
The books begins with the past, where rich, successful Will Traynor leaves his apartment and beautiful girlfriend to get to work. It's raining so he abandons the motorcycle to take a car to work. He's busy on the phone when he looks up to see a motorcycle headed straight for him before he has a chance to get into the car.

Fast forward to the present and we meet Lou Clark, a young lady in her late 20s who loses her job as a waitress at the local restaurant in her small English touristy town. She has no other skill set and works briefly at a chicken processing plant and hates it. Options are minimal, at best, without a whole lot of extended education but an opportunity to be a carer for a non-elderly person comes in. She takes it because it's short term - six months - and it's well-paid.

It turns out she is a carer for Will Traynor, who, for the past five years, has been a quadriplegic from that tragic accident. He is extremely angry and depressed and gives Lou a hard time. Will's mother hires Lou to be a companion, someone to "cheer" Will up. Will already has a caregiver for his medical needs; Lou is there to take him out, hang out, whatever it takes to at least have Will find something, anything, to find happiness in life again.

Lou tries to stay out of Will's way because it's obvious he doesn't want company. So she cleans. And cleans. And cleans. Eventually, as you can predict, she gets him out of his shell and he does for her. It becomes a sort of pygmalion scenario: he tells her and teaches her, to leave her shell and enjoy life: get out of this town, see the world, find some kind of goal to strive for, go back to school, see Paris, see anything.

She, in turn, helps him smile, laugh, and find happiness again.

But this really isn't chick lit, or a love story. This story is so much more than that. It's about quality of life and how pain: physical and emotional, overcomes what love and those little things that can make happiness not really worth it.

I don't know how Moyes did it but she did it. Once I figured out what happened to Will, I almost dropped this sucker. How can this be summer fluff when there's a quadriplegic? There can't be romance involved? He can't even move!

But this book wasn't about summer fluff and I was so emotionally involved with this story, with the ethics and the morals about it...well, I don't have to think twice. I have no problem with Dr. Krevorkian's ways and the decisions about the right-to-die, which is one of the main points of this novel but written so beautifully with the story of a greater bond between Will and Lou. Yes. Lou falls for Will deeply. She wants to be with him. Always. She searches for ways that she can please him...sexually and proposes this to him, when she pleads for him not to go through with his decision to end his life...

...because her job as a carer for six months was really, to convince Will to change his mind to commit suicide. He gave his parents six more months but that he was done with his life as a quad. He was in pain. There was no cure. And he was only getting worse. Frequent bouts with pneumonia and well, he didn't want to visit the places he had been as an active man only because they were reminders of what he once was.

But he wanted that for Lou. And even though he fell for Lou, he said to her it was no longer enough to want to stay alive. :( Tears galore. But that she had brought him the best six months of his entire life.

So in the end, she was with him as he lay dying. And then he sent her on her way (with an inheritance) to travel the world, to live life to her fullest, to do the things that he could no longer do.

I cried so hard in the car reading the end. In a million years, never would I think I would read such a book but there are just those gifted writers that move you with one book that you trust them and find that they can move you with another.

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