Sunday, June 29, 2014

Me Before You

I stumbled upon this title while reading a thread on a local mom forum titled, "What book could you not put down recently?" I read the summary of every single book listed and requested several titles from the library. 
Me Before You was absolutely a book I could not put down. The story is mostly written from the point of view of Louisa Clark, a 26 year old who lives with her financially struggling family. When she is let go from her job, she eventually accepts a job as caretaker for Will Traynor, a former CEO and adventure seeker, who becomes a quadriplegic after being hit by a motorcycle.

The characters are so well developed and there are many layers to the book. This is no Nicholas Sparks book. Will and Lou's relationship is complex, even painful to witness at times. A deep level of trust and intimacy evolves between the characters despite uncomfortable tension.

One of the more interesting aspects of the novel is the change in point of views. While the majority of the story is told from Lou's perspective, there are multiple chapters throughout the book that are written from supporting character's point of view. I found myself empathizing with each character and these snippets into their lives helped me better connect everyone together. 

I consider the turning point in Will and Lou's relationship to be when Lou had a panic attack in the maze. The author made the characters so raw and vulnerable. I have reread those pages over and over and continue to feel Will's frustration when he cannot scoop her up into his arms and comfort her in the way he yearns to. Yet the transforming power is in his words rather than his physical actions. 

The lack of physical contact makes his dialogue that much more meaningful. And the small touches that Lou provides heightens the intimacy the two share. One of my favorite quotes that showcased Will's frustrations was: 
"And I don't want to look at you every day, to see you naked or to watch you wandering around the annex in your crazy dresses and not...not be able to do what I want with you. Oh, Clark, if you had any idea what I want to do with you right now. And I...I can't live with that knowledge. I can't. It's not who I am. I can't be the kind of many who just...accepts. 
Without giving too much away, there is a major ethical dilemma on what makes a life worth living, or worth ending. I looked up Dignitas, which is referenced in the book, and was shocked and fascinated about their services. I guess I can understand the desire to die in dignity rather than prolonging further suffering. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, but the discussions are extremely thought-provoking.

I tried to begin another book on my list, but my mind keeps returning to Me Before You. I suspect this one will stay with me for a while.

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