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Me Before You: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) Paperback – April 26, 2016
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: Before Louisa met Will, her plans didn't reach beyond their tiny English town. Will, when he wasn't closing multimillion-dollar deals, blew off steam scaling mountains, leaping from planes, and enjoying exquisite women--until an accident left him paralyzed and seriously depressed. When his mother hires Lou to keep his spirits up, he meets her awkward overtures with caustic contempt, but she's tenacious and oddly endearing. Their fondness grows into something deeper, gaining urgency when she realizes his determination to end his life, and her efforts to convince him of its value throw her own bland ambitions into question. Plumbing morally complex depths with comedy and compassion, Jojo Moyes elevates the story of Lou and Will from what could have been a maudlin weepie into a tragic love story, with a catharsis that will wring out your heart and leave you feeling fearless. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
In The Last Letter from Your Lover (2011), Moyes presented a heavily plotted novel that spanned decades and featured parallel romances. Her newest work dials down the intricacy, and the result is a far more intimate novel. Moyes introduces us first to Will Traynor, a formerly high-flying, thrill-seeking executive now confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. Twentysomething Louisa “Lou” Clark has been hired as his caretaker, despite a total lack of experience. As the prickly Will and plainspoken Lou gradually warm to each other, she learns that the six-month length of her contract coincides with the amount of time Will has agreed, for his parents’ sake, to postpone his planned assisted suicide, a subject Moyes treats evenhandedly. Armed with this information, Lou sets about creating adventures for Will, hoping to give him a reason to live. Simultaneously, Will encourages Lou to expand the expectations of what her life could be. All signs point to romance and a happy ending for the pair, but Moyes has something more heartbreakingly truthful in mind: Sometimes love isn’t enough. --Patty Wetli --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Im not going to get into the movie trailer that was recently released, but I must say that a lot of movie goers are going to be deeply disappointed.
I have to applaud Moyes' high-quality writing, the way she seems to effortlessly string words together to tug the reader in whichever direction she pleases is impressive and the beginning of the book seemed promising, akin to the fault in our stars' plot line where the characters' illnesses provide them with a depth and humanity that makes their relationship and interactions intriguing. But it all goes downhill from there.
Lou's character is so precious, her perseverance and love for Will was strikingly beautiful. However, her efforts are all pointless and the message we are left with is that a life with disability is not worth living. This book had the chance to inspire and challenge the reader, to bring them close to the realities of living with physical challenges while proving that life can go on and there is beauty and hope in what others would deem tragic. Will is surrounded by a family that cares for him, he has financial stability, he can still do countless activities despite his condition and most importantly, his life is enhanced by the presence of a character who is willing to give up absolutely everything for the slim chance to change his mind.
I was furious as I read the book's ending. (which was predictable but still undesirable) Lou is willing to give up everything because she learns to see beyond the wheel chair, she can see Will as the man he can no longer see himself as. Will's letter at the end was especially infuriating. He asks her to fulfill her potential and pursue a life she'd missed out on, to live the life she "deserves". He spends his last months telling her that nothing would make him happier than seeing her flourish outside their hometown, yet he is unable to understand that the only life she wants is one with him in it. He urges Lou to expand her horizons and challenge her limits and yet he can't seem to see beyond his wheelchair. It was cowardly of him to give everything up when he had a chance at life with someone who could see him for who we truly was, he is haunted by an image of his old self and fails to realize that Louise is in love with the man he is now, and asks for nothing more than his will to live.
It is NOT a heroic act, it is arrogant to decide when his life should end and the suffering he caused Lou far outweighs any "opportunities" he could have given her with the inheritance.
It seems that only those that are close to or have witnessed the struggle of someone living with physical disabilities see the atrocities being discussed in the novel. That despite all the reminders that his life can still be filled joy and love, he has the right to choose when to end it, regardless of who he hurts in the process. I've read many books that don't end in happy ever after, but there was not point to the depressing, suicidal ending. No reason could have justified his choice but his decision to die is summed up as his inability to cope with the fact that he can no longer live the adventurous life he used to have or behave as the successful, athletic, popular, rich kid he once was.
Will despises the fact that he can not make his own choices, and yet he urges Louisa to go back to school, move on with her life, and witness his death without regard for her only request - his presence. The final scene is selfish and cruel, Lou is left suffering quietly because of her love for him. It goes against everything ethical and moral Lou's family stands for and yet she stands by him as he fails to see the life he could have led with her. Life already has its downsides and challenges, I don't need a novel that celebrates suicide and contemplates that tragedy makes life pointless.