Commentary
5:00 am
Mon December 31, 2012

Book Review: Me Before You

Louisa Clark lives in a small English town with her parents, grandfather, sister and nephew. She has no secondary education, the cafe where she waits on tables closes, and when her father loses his job, it's up to Lou to become the family provider. She takes a job as a caregiver for Will, a formerly larger-than-life man in his 30s who is now confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.

 

Lou wonders why she was hired for a job for which she's not qualified, but soon discovers that she was not hired to be a caregiver, but instead is on suicide watch. Tired of being wheelchair-bound with no possible improvement to his quality of life, Will has made a deal with his parents that he will live for six more months before he will check into a facility in Switzerland that will help him end his life. With this new understanding, Lou has a self-imposed goal to show Will everything for which he has to live. And she also has a looming deadline. Lou has a rocky beginning as a caregiver, but is soon adept at the many intricacies of providing care for the disabled. Will doesn't make it easy on her, and at first she hates him. But then Lou does the unthinkable. At the risk of losing her job, she treats him normally and tells him to knock off the self-pity. Throughout the six months, their relationship moves from loathing to mutual respect to love. But is love enough? In a recent interview, the book's author, Jojo Moyes, said she knew this book was a possible career killer, so she had to make it funny. And there are plenty of opportunities to laugh through the tears. Although the issue of assisted suicide is front and center in this novel, Moyes presents both sides so we can have better understanding before choosing one.