I am pleasantly surprised with this read. A co-worker, who isn’t a huge literature junkie and herself admitted that few books capture her attention, recommended this book. She spoke very highly of it, and urged me to read it. Being a mere £3.50 on Amazon, I couldn’t say no. Plus I was just genuinely interested in finding out her literary style.
Like most books, I had not read any synapsis or reviews of the book. Only the two pages in the front of the book contained snippets of quotes from different newspapers all praising it as a “beautifully written” novel. Suspiciously, the front cover, the positive hype at the beginning, and the summary at the back reminded me of the dreadful The House We Grew Up In, so, I am not going to lie, I was very weary and cautious.
The book opens up with Louisa, a woman living in a small town in the UK with her parents, losing her job of six years and struggling to find a replacement. She’s always had her position at the café, and she had really enjoyed it. Her choices are limited as it’s during the height of a recession and she doesn’t have any qualifications beyond high school. Until she stumbles upon a less than ideal job, which in a mere 6 months manages to rattle everything she knows as life.
It took me at least 50 pages to get into the novel, to be able to relate to some of the characters and to get wrapped up in their world. Once I got passed that I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a revolutionary plot twist; it is very predictable. Rather, I enjoyed learning and growing with the main character. Life as she knows it is completely turned on it’s hind legs when she starts working as a carer for a quadriplegic named Will Traynor.
The book deals with powerful themes of life, disability, depression, suicide, love, family and adventure. It’s premise is sounds simple but is quite daunting; how do you convince a man set to leave the earth that life is worth living?
“ ‘But you’re…you’re going to take him to that place where people commit suicide. Dignitas.’
‘No. I am going to do everything I can to ensure he doesn’t do that…you must know by now that if Will decides to make himself unreachable, there is little anyone can do about it.’ ” (154)
It’s a crazy coincidence, because just a few days back I came across this video addressing the same theme:
What a powerful question to try and solve.
Verdict: Most definitely a hard warming read, that just puts a small smile on your face before the tears start falling. Really great message about life and love that will leave you inspired.
Have a read a book similar to this one? What was the message of that tale?