Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Rant: Me Before You

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.

I don't like this cover. Or the blurb. Or really anything about the way this book is marketed, because it's not true to the tone or plot at all. The disconnect is jarring, really. All of the descriptions and the visual of the cover make this book look like a fluffy and quirky YA contemporary romance. Could not be further from the truth. The book features a 26-year-old protagonist, so it's definitely not YA. Also, it's about a quadriplegic who wants to end his life. It's very heavy material, and it's pretty unromantic, in that sense.

What I really like about this book is that it handles a sensitive issue in a realistic way and never at any point feels as if it's pushing an agenda. I am fine with books that deal with controversial political issues, as long as the characters act on their beliefs and the characters don't act on the author's beliefs. I don't want to feel like the author's views are coming through, even if I agree with those views. I am also fascinated with right to die as a concept, and I have to say it is one issue, despite the fact that I generally lean liberal, where I am actually unsettled on what I believe. So I liked exploring the more emotional side to assisted suicide here.

But most importantly, wow. The book is brilliantly written, and truly engrossing. I read it in one afternoon. It is a little bit hard to get into at first because Lou is not the most engaging character at first (and neither is Will), but once the plot picks up, you really get into it. And by the end, the book has you wrapped around its pages, and you won't be able extricate yourself from the tragedy unfolding before you. And you won't want to.

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