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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Matthew Walker, Steve West

Me Before You

Me Before You - Jojo Moyes, Anna Bentink, Susan Lyons, Steven Crossley

This book was a suggested title for the "Star-Crossed Lovers" theme of week one of the Albany Public Library Summer Reading Challenge. I would probably not have chosen this book of my own volition.

 

Will Traynor was once a high-powered business guy based in London, making stacks of money buying and selling companies (authors love that paradigm, don't they?). Everything changed for him when he was hit by a speeding motorcycle, an accident that left him quadriplegic. Louisa "Lou" Clark is the young (age 26) woman Will's family hires as his companion, when she has lost her job at the Buttered Bun Cafe. Her role is to help him see that life is worth living.

 

I was up and down with this book. It is what I'd called "readable," and to its credit, I did want to keep going to find out what happened. But there were too many components that bothered me, for me to give it more than a two-star rating. Will often comments that Lou is "bright," but I really didn't see it. I often found myself thinking she was a bit dumb. There is a moment early in the book where she realizes she hasn't gone to the library since she left school, and she gets herself a card. Next time she sees Will she proudly declares, "I'm joined the library!" WHO says "I've JOINED THE LIBRARY"? You don't "join the library," you get a card.* And really, with the not since school?

 

Lou's boyfriend Patrick is clearly constructed so that readers will decide he's unsuitable for Lou and needs to be dumped. Among the qualities that we readers are supposed to disapprove are that he had the nerve to stop being a couch potato, become a marathoner and triathlete, get into top shape, and become a personal trainer. Lou resentfully "watches him run in circles" and attends some of the meetings of his triathlon club. She also, in her narration, uses "run" and "jog" interchangeably, a huge pet peeve to me and many other runners. Lou, your marathonning, triathlonning boyfriend DOES NOT JOG.

 

Finally, there is something that didn't sit well with me, but I can't discuss it without a huge spoiler. So the next part will be hidden.

 

Ultimately, Will chooses to die by assisted suicide, at a facility in Switzerland--despite Lou's efforts to change his mind through a series of outings and a big adventure trip to Mauritius. After his death, the epilogue reveals he left Lou a large amount of money to pay for her university education and to live on. I ultimately felt as though his entire existence in the book ended up being a means to lift up Lou. Like a circuitous lottery ticket. I understand there are sequels, so they must focus on Lou-post-inheritance. I can't help being left with a bad taste in my mouth.

(show spoiler)

 

*Update:  I've received a comment explaining that in Britain and British colonies "joining libraries" is a thing.  I stand corrected!