what Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. he knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
what Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. and neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
oh guys. I didn't expect to love this book so much. the main reason I put it on hold was because I saw the movie trailer for it and it tickled my curiosity bone. it's adult fiction, which I haven't really gotten into yet? and I don't know if I ever will? and it's a contemporary romance, which I have pretty much maxed out on. and yet it still wrapped me up and invested me in the characters and painted a little town in England so perfectly in my mind that I couldn't help but love it.
Lou Clark is a gem. she's awkward, she likes stripey tights, and she's sassy as heck. her problem is she doesn't know where to go next. she thinks she's the world's most ordinary person, so she's stuck inside her status quo. that is, until she loses her job at a simple cafe...and ends up working for this very rich family as a care-keeper of a quadriplegic.
|one of my favourite scenes. bless Lou Clark. I love her|
Will Traynor wasn't always stuck in a wheelchair, needing 24 hour care and someone to spoon him food and turn him over in bed. he had a life, a beautiful girlfriend, and a desire to see the world. that all got ripped away one rainy morning. now he doesn't want anything to do with life, adventures, or that strange woman in ridiculous footwear that his parents hired to babysit him. that is, until she surprises both him and herself.
|basically Will after Lou popping into his life|
Lou is in Will's life for six months--and then she's gone, off to the next job. but what she discovers in that tiny window is so so much more...she has a huge chance to change someone's life and only a little time to do it. can she the difference that could save someone's life? and if she fails, will she be able to handle the consequences that come with it?
like I said above, Lou is a gem. the way she carries herself is full of timidity mixed with "I don't give a care" in the world's strangest concoction. when she first meets Will and he tries to freak her out, she just rolls with it externally, even though she is freaking out on the inside. she never thinks out of the box when it comes to herself, but when it comes to Will...man, she goes all out once they become friends.
the period where they aren't friends is very prickly and hilarious. and it only gets sassier from there.
this book broke my heart a little. I can honestly say I loved every character and their perspectives (yes, even Patrick), because they are portrayed so uniquely and boldly. so to see characters that I love and admire caught up in a race against time and morals that ultimately may end in sadness...it really pulled at me, even though I said I wouldn't care after seeing spoilers. boy did I care. (it took me almost a week to pick it up again, because I just didn't want to deal with what I knew was coming).
this book raises a lot of things to consider. Will repeatedly tells Louisa not to waste her life in their boring little hometown with her ordinary boyfriend and her simple education. at the same time, he's stuck in his chair, unable to live the life that he was supposed to have. when Lou suggests that both of them go out and find an adventure--mostly to make him shut up and maybe to find a way to make him happy again--he says this: "the day we go and I'm in this bloody contraption, all those memories, the sensations, will be wiped out, erased by the struggle to get behind the table, up and down Parisian curbs, the taxi drivers who refuse to take us, and the bloody wheelchair power pack that wouldn't charge in French socket."
so is Will a hypocrite or is his perspective in the right? if you were stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, would want to keep your "perfect" memories intact? or would you try some way to live again?
another heavy thought this book raised for me is whether people have the right to choose whether they live or die. now, the discussion of suicide is both painful and triggering for many people (including myself), and honestly most days I don't want to talk about it because of how difficult a conversation it is. I usually don't even have the right words to sum up how I feel about it. the topic of medical suicide had never really occurred to me before this, but I'm glad Me Before You made me think about it, because it is important to dwell on. I can't imagine how hopeless life day after day after day in the same chair, needing assistance for the littlest things...I know what it's like to be sick enough that I can't get out of bed, but my illness and fear is nothing compared to what Will describes so painfully. he claims he has nothing to live for. so does that make it okay for him to willingly--with a clear conscious and mind and no future--choose to end his own life? or is that even possible, for someone to be in a stable state of mind and make that decision?
I tend to be somewhat hesitant to talk about my conclusions about heavy and personal topics like this, mostly because I'm still young and learning about my faith and stance in this world--and my views are still flexible and ever changing, because I am still being educated about life. I will say this, though: I understand the hopelessness of depression, and I wish that no one would ever have to come to the point where they would rather die than live. but because of humanity's fall, because of sin, because of sadness, suicide, pain, and death have become part of life. I don't think we can "condemn" those who choose to end their own lives--as so many people I've had this discussion with end up doing. I believe that's between them and God, and I'll trust them to take care of the fine details. I do believe that we should do everything that we can to help people who struggle like this--to let them know that they are loved and that we have hope in them. and that's why I love Lou so so much. she works her hardest to love Will and show him that love, and when it comes to a point, she realizes that only he can make that final choice--all she can do is be there for him.
the thing that struck me hardest about Me Before You is that Lou's goal throughout the whole book is to convince Will to live, but in the end, it's Will who convinces Lou to choose life. whether we are deathly ill and hopeless or whether we're stuck in a rut with no desire to do anything extraordinary--or maybe anything at all, deep down--we all have a choice to make. a choice to live or just to exist...or to not exist at all.
overall, I love Me Before You (and the sequel--it helps deal with both Lou and Will's untied strings from the first book and add to the depth of the story in a unique way. even After You has important messages about living and choices and all that. definitely worth a read). I almost wish I hadn't seen one specific spoiler, but I think it actually added to my experience. I won't spoil it for you, but do yourself a favor and pick this heart-wrenching, though-provoking, and sassy (AT THE SAME FREAKING TIME) read. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
also, read it for Nathan. and Lou. and Will. they are wonderful characters who deserve all the love.
p.s. I also plan on writing a movie review once the Me Before You movie comes out. crossing fingers that it will be as good as the book!
|that eyebrow wiggle|