Rating: ★★★★★ (Reread)
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
Review: (contain spoilers!)
I first read this in 2014 so this is a reread. I cried my eyes out the first time I read this. So the second time round I was more prepared.
I know this isn’t a love story. But I can’t help but to root for Lou and Will’s relationship from the beginning. To read that ending for a second time broke my heart because it makes you realise that sometimes, 2 perfect people aren’t meant to be together.
So many controversies have already surround this book and its recently released movie. So I won’t go into much detail about the awfulness of Dignitas. But I do believe that you have a choice in accepting your circumstances, or ending them. I felt angry at Will for giving up but I understand his need to make one solid choice about his life, when everything else was decided for him previously.
It makes sense why he did the thing he did. It’s not a good excuse, but I see his point. It’s horrible and people actually do go to Dignitas and do it. And there’s nothing we can do but to always give help and hope that this life is worth living.
We have seen how the disabled community have viewed this book (negatively, mind you). So we should also consider their plight and struggles in living in this world where some places are not so disabled-friendly. That said, there are some instances where I felt the book didn’t reflect the disabled community properly, as not everyone can afford medical care and jet set to expensive vacations on a whim. But it did give us a peek at how challenging living/caring for a disabled person can get.
I love this book not for its romance, but for the reality of it in that we make our own choices and have to live with it. But we can never be responsible for other’s choices. We just have to be there for them when they need us.
On an additional note, I find Lou very relatable in a sense that I live in my own safety net. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find the courage to live boldly. But for now I am contempt with my books and my family.
None the less, we should all just live well.
Or just live.