Instead of doing a typical review for this wonderful novel by JoJo Moyes I thought I would approach this differently by discussing questions that were raised. To anyone that has read this novel, and to those who haven’t, this is not your typical romance book but explores how to deal with life and love under the most extreme circumstances.
Louisa Clarke is a girl who is content with her simple, quiet life. She works in the local cafe, has athletic boyfriend and lives with her parents, but she is content with her life and does not have many ambitions. That is until her normal life is turned upside down when she looses her job, and begins to work for a quadriplegic man, somewhat reluctantly.
Will Traynor had it all, a top job in the city, the perfect model girlfriend, pretty with a good job and wealthy. Rushing to work one day Will Traynor is caught up in an accident that leaves him in a wheelchair and changes the cause of his life forever. The once thrill seeking Will finds himself in a wheelchair. He now feels joyless and can’t see any reason to continue to live in this world.
However Lou Clarke bursts into his life like a burst of colour and the two people, who should have nothing in common soon change each other’s loves irrevocably.
The quote above to me defines the essence of the novel and encapsulates what the author JoJo Moyes intends the reader to take from this novel.
There are several issues raised within the novel, the most important being the issue of euthanasia and the effects that it has on those who surround the individual who has decided to take this path to end their life.
In the novel Lou is unaware that she has been employed to effectively change Will’s mind on his impending trip to commit suicide in a clinic. The novel explores his family’s reactions to Will’s decision. His mother seems to be in a state of denial, and is adamant that Lou will be able to change his mind. Meanwhile, his father seems to distance himself in order to deal with it.
When she finds out that Will has decided to end is life Lou comes up with a plan to try change his mind and does this through planning different activities in order to show Will that life is worth living again.
It is clear that JoJo Moyes intended us to think deeply about the issues raised in the novel as she lists a set of reading group topics at the end of the novel, I will address one here:
Will’s right to die, and Lou’s determination to change his mind about exercising this right, is a theme that runs throughout the novel. How did you feel about Will’s decision in the end? Was it what you expected? Do you think the novel should have ended differently?- JoJo Moyes,
To me, as the novel unfolded it was clear that Will was suffering a lot of pain and had his mind set on ending his life. This may be controversial to say but the hopeless romantic in me was somewhat disappointed that Will went through with going to Switzerland. Perhaps this was because I was so caught up in Lou’s unrelenting will to succeed in keeping Will Traynor alive and the growing love between the two characters, that selfishly I wanted the two to have their ‘happily ever after’ and have a long lifetime of love and happiness together. However, in terms of the novel as a whole if this was to be the ending I think I would regard it as just another simple tale of romance and not value it as highly as I do now. As well as being about love Moyes deals with the difficult reality of living with quadriplegia and explores how for some living this way is not enough. Although perhaps because of how much I love the characters and their opposing, mis-matched personalities I could not think of a more suitable way to end the novel.
To view the trailer for the upcoming movie Me Before You please click below:
This movie is not to be missed and I can’t wait to see and write about how this compares to the book!