GOODREADS SYNOPSIS: 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.
First of all, let’s talk about this novel’s original cover (the one on the left). It is so boring and lifeless. It doesn’t catch your eye and will you to pick it up and read it in any way. It doesn’t portray what a beautiful and emotional story lies within the pages beyond this horrible cover. I hadn’t even heard of this novel until the movie came out and then the new book cover was released (the one on the right). Where the book cover (the middle one) comes into it I am unsure, but that’s not even all of them and yet none of them show me what this story is about.
I have read a few reviews about this novel and although a lot say ‘get your tissues ready’ and ‘a beautiful, emotional love story’, there are also some not so nice reviews but do have a point.
As much as I loved this novel for it’s unique story line (one like I’ve never read before), I am having some mixed feelings about the ending to this story.
I get that not every novel can be a ‘happily ever after’ and that’s a good thing because life isn’t always a happily ever after result either; but in a novel that is all about a paraplegic who want’s to end his life and a carer who is employed for the sole purpose of changing his mind within a certain time frame, you’d think the author (JoJo Moyes) would let her succeed, but everything she does during that time can be seen as a waste of her time and effort because she fails to change his mind. He still gets his way and proceeds to legally end his life, so the question then becomes: ‘Is this novel saying that it’s OK to just give up and end everything if you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you would rather end it all then to try and accept what’s happened and make the most of it?’ Because that’s sort of what JoJo Moyes is basically implying in this novel.
But on the other hand, Will (the now paraplegic) was once a very active person who travelled the world, ran his own business and stood on his own two feet without needed to rely on anyone else; so to then end up in a wheel chair with no use of any body part below the chest and having to have 24 hour care and rely on other’s to do everything for him, it makes you wonder what you would do if found in that same predicament. And once you allow yourself to think and imagine that way and put yourself in his position, you might find yourself agreeing with his decision after all. As much as you might think (at first) that you should just adapt to your new way of life and committing legalised suicide surely isn’t an option.
So it’s a very interesting story really and one that would get a lot of people talking.
A lot of people are also unsure of what the title actually means. My understanding is it’s Lou’s (the narrator’s) story of her life before she knew Will and then the change that occurred within herself as a person once she met him. He helped her ‘find herself’ as people say and become the person she wasn’t sure she would ever be. He helped her try new experiences and expand her horizons, which is a truly remarkable message to all readers because you never really know what tomorrow brings and if we will be capable of doing what we are capable of doing today – so why put anything off!
The few chapter’s that were told by other character’s were a nice little insight to their lives and how they felt about Will and his unfortunate situation.
This book overall is a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed one minute at the witty sarcasm that was exchanged between Lou and Will and then I cried the next, this continued throughout the entire novel but I loved every sentence. I loved these two inspiring characters. Will for his encouragement to Lou to live a fulfilled life and Lou for her encouragement to Will to not give up on his life and her determination to help him see just how much he can still achieve even now, stuck in a wheel chair.
I havn’t seen the movie yet, but I cannot wait to see how it has been turned into a reality.
I have also ordered the sequel to this amazing book ‘After You’, so stay tuned for that review soon!
I would love to know what you thought of this book.