by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 4 of the Online Book Club!

I hope you were able to finish the book this week. The end of the book is incredibly sobering, so I hope that you were able to get through it all.

As you can imagine, this book and movie garnered some controversy. Some groups were disappointed with the ending and feel that Will choosing to end his life proves that Jojo Moyes feels that disabled people don’t have a life worth living. Others were frustrated that in the movie, the character of Will was played by a non-disabled actor. If you’re interested to learn more about some of the objections to the movie and book, read this article. If you’re interested to read what one paralyzed woman thought of the movie, read this article.

If you’re interested in hearing Jojo Moyes defend her story and explain where she originally came up with the idea for the book, check out this video.

I just find this book to be incredibly sad, and it has stuck with me throughout the month. I have to confess that I checked out the movie several times, but I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it. Reading this book for a second time—now as a new parent, I just can’t stop thinking about Will’s parents and how sad and full of despair they must have been. I just find their part of the story to be extra heartbreaking. And, I find Lou’s ending to be really sad. I know that she has the chance to make a change in her life, but she seems to be incredibly broken by Will’s death.

I really don’t know what to think about this book. I think it’s a well-written story, and I enjoyed the characters. And I don’t think that Jojo Moyes is implying through Will’s story that all disabled people don’t have lives worth living. But the ending unsettles me, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Were any of you able to come to any sort of conclusion with this book? Do you think Moyes was just trying to tell the story of one man, or do you think she was making a comment about disabled people in general? Were you surprised by the ending? Do you think the role of Will in the movie should have been portrayed by a disabled actor?

Thanks for reading along with me this month. I hope you check out the video and articles on this post—I think they helped me get more closure from the book.

If you’d like to read more about Lou, make sure to check out the sequel, After You.

I hope you’ll come back next month as we read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. See you then!

4 Responses to “Me Before You: Week 4”

  1. Carrol

    As I said at the beginning, this is a book I never intended to read. I just didn’t think it was “my kind” of book. I was so wrong.

    Like you, I have continued thinking about this book. There were issues that really made me think. I have never had anyone with such severe disabilities in my life. I hope I would be as loving and caring as Louisa.

    Thanks for the interview clip from Moyes. I really liked hearing her personal story. I think it is obvious that she does not think disabled people are worthless. Like she said, it was an untraditional type of love story.

    The line that sticks in my mind was at the end when Louisa arrives at the hospital. Will tells her, “This is the first thing I’ve been in control of since the accident.” There is no way I can comprehend the amount of pain Will suffered to make the choice to end his life. I try to walk in his shoes, but I just can’t.

    I know I will read more work by JoJo Moyes. She is a good writer. Since I like Louisa’s character so much, I think I want to read After You.

    Thanks again for motivating and encouraging us throughout the month.

    • Erin K.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the book! I’m glad that it was a book that you thought at first might not be your book, but turned out to be one you liked! I hope you’re able to read a couple of JoJo Moyes’s other books. They are pretty good. Let me know what you think of After You–I haven’t read it yet.

      I do think that the video clip helped to show that Moyes didn’t think this story applied to all people with disabilities–just Will. Hearing that helped me understand her thought process a little better and helped me process the story a little better.

      Thanks for faithfully commenting all month long! See you next month!

  2. Jane Engle

    After reading the book, I can see why it has caused controversy. Readers’ reactions will depend upon personal opinions and viewpoints. While author Jojo Moyes claims, UTube blogger and fan of the novel Sarah-Jane says and I believe that the book has been written about one fictional man’s situation and choice, others will think differently. Many people have strongly held religious ideas and consider suicide to be morally wrong going against God’s will. Even discussing the subject is something they will not condone. It is understandable why some like myself consider this to be an individual right that should not be taken away from anyone in a similar situation. As a result they will want more open talk about it including legislative action and freedom. Right-to-die and death-with-dignity laws including physician-assisted suicide is something both my husband and I have discussed and support depending upon our individually stipulated guidelines.

    Since Will’s choice of assisted suicide is directly related to his abilities/disabilities, quadriplegics may not like his choice but it does not mean that this book is saying that their lives have no meaning. Instead it is meant to encourage more study, insight and discussion about a topic that people may dislike and avoid. As such, I am happy to know many who do not read will see the movie and be aware of it and the topics it raises for thought and discussion.

    Since Lou first met Will after he had dealt with his impairment for some length of time, I was not surprised by the ending. Will had sufficient knowledge to discern the overwhelming odds against him even remaining in his present condition. He could only believe that his health and abilities would deteriorate which he did not want to experience. To him no amount of love from others was enough or a solution.

    Saying that a disabled actor should have portrayed Will is just another topic of contention associated with this book. While I understand those who feel this way because of the lack of available suitable roles, initially Will was able bodied which would have required two people to play the part. Instead one person was chosen to do the job, and his ability to act well enough to be believable should not be discounted. Since I have only watched the trailer and not seen the movie, I cannot compare it to the Love Story movie, however, I do believe seeing rather than imagining characters will make a greater impact and believability which made the latter so memorable.

    With the upcoming holiday and knowing that I am well aware of next month’s read, I will get back with you in the new year.

    • Erin K.

      Thanks for your well-thought out reply, Jane! I totally agree with your thought that Moyes was just writing about one character and was not trying to make a grand statement about the quality of life for all disabled people. I do think, too, that this book is really important because it makes people consider what they believe about the topic–and, anything that causes us to really think and examine a topic is great!

      I didn’t watch the movie for the reason you mentioned at the end. I thought that watching real life people acting out the roles would be too intense and sad for me. So, I just stuck to imagining the roles in my head.

      Thanks for commenting along so faithfully! I hope you have a great holiday season! And, I’ll look forward to hearing from you in January!

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