Me Before You

I would have never thought that this book could hit so close to home.

“Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.” (Amazon)

As explained in the summary above, Will is a quadriplegic, which means he cannot move his arms or legs after his accident. Now, a little known fact about my family: my mother lives in a similar state after experiencing several (nearly fatal) strokes in the past two years. She’s left with a semi-mobile right arm and leg, but the left side of her body remains paralyzed. Even more, she lost her ability to speak. As you can see, this is why the story so deeply affected me.

Will Traynor can talk, and talk he will. Through his thoughts and tirades, I am reminded of how handicapped people constantly feel. Many times they feel helpless since they are completely dependent on other people to move, eat, bathe, use the toilet… I am reminded of the kinds of hopeless thoughts and torturous memories that run through their heads when a life of possibilities and ambition are taken away in an instant.

Sounds depressing? Not quite so – the book is mainly told through Will’s caretaker Lou’s, perspective. She’s an upbeat, chatty, eccentric yet ordinary girl who is learning how to care for Will. The two may not have gotten off to a warm start, but I excitedly read on as their interactions grew more playful and relationship deepened. Theirs was a beautiful and unconventional love story. As a girl, how could I turn away a good romance?!

From Lou’s adventures and experiences, I took away two main points as a caregiver for a disabled loved one:

“If he has love, he will feel he can go on. Without it, I would have sunk many times over.” (Moyes, 230)

Of course I should love my mom, that’s a no brainer! But sometimes, loving someone when they cannot express their love back is hard. However, through this story, I am reminded that love may be all they’ve got to live for.

“‘You still don’t get it, Clark, do you?’ I could hear the smile in his voice. ‘It’s not your choice.'” (Moyes, 394)

Ah, yes. I’m so used to doing everything for my mom at this point that I forget she’s still her own person. That it’s important to let her make her own decisions, to do things for herself, even if it is just combing her hair or washing her face. Sometimes, all these people want is to be empowered to take back control of their own life.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’d recommend reading this book! Have you read it already? Would you read it? Any recommendations for books in a similar genre?

Thanks for reading!

P.S. After some Googling, I found out that they’re turning the book into a movie! So perfect, since while at one point when I was reading, I thought this story would make a good movie. Here are the rumored star actor & actress!

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7 thoughts on “Me Before You

  1. This is probably one of my favorite books and I’m so glad that you have posted this. It is from the heart and is a testament to both you and your mom’s inner strength. Though it isn’t entirely the same thing, I would recommend What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Its about a woman who has lost her memory and wakes up to a life where she doesn’t even recognize herself and doesn’t understand why her marriage to her husband has fallen apart. Much of it comes back to taking life for granted. I hope you like it.

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    • April, thank you for reading my review and taking the time to comment. Though it doesn’t sound like my typical reading genre, I’ll still check out What Alice Forgot soon. Thanks!

      Like

  2. Pingback: December ’14 in Review | It's JPei

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