NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, September 16, 2013

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

4.0 out of 5 stars  A heartbreaking dilemma..., September 15, 2013

This was a surprisingly touching story about the relationship that develops between a caregiver and her patient. When she finds herself newly unemployed, Louisa Clark tries to find a new job as quickly as she can because she knows her parents, sister and nephew rely on her income to keep the family solvent. After a series of unsuccessful stints at various employment situations, Lou interviews for and accepts a position that offers her a 6 month contract as a paid companion of sorts to a young man, Will Traynor, who was left a quadriplegic after being hit by a motorcycle.

At first, Lou wonders why the limited contract, and she finds her employer, Will's parents, and her patient difficult and very complicated. When she learns the real reason she was given the job, Lou begins a campaign that involves trying to get Will to see some hope for his life and to show him that he is not confined to the annex apartment where he now lives in pain and isolation. It soon becomes clear that it may be that it will be Lou who ends up the most changed.

I don't know if the author intended this, but the man's name -- Will -- summarizes the scope of the big question in the novel -- can Will develop a "will" to live with this devastating handicap? Formerly the owner of a hugely successful business and a very active daredevil lifestyle, he is despondent as he accepts that he has lost everything that made him HIM. As Lou tries to draw him out of his prison, engage him in activities and travel, Will seems to become happier and everyone is hopeful that he's turned a corner.

Unfortunately, Will has already made a decision that no one believes is firm. He has no control over any aspect of his daily life and medical situation, but there is still one thing he can do to take back his autonomy. Can Lou change his mind? There is nothing that she won't try.

This was a book that begged to be read in one sitting and I was totally absorbed even as I anxiously dreaded the possibilities for an ending. The controversial nature of the central theme is handled objectively without being moralistic. I really enjoyed it and feel this would be an excellent choice for a book group. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in "right to die" issues.

Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP for the ebook to review.

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