The recent release of the trailer to the movie, “Me before You”, reminded me of how much I loved the book on which the film is based. The story begins with Louisa Clark, having just lost her waitressing job. Times have not been good for the Clark family and her parents depend on the extra money that Louisa brings in. The recession has hit their small English town and jobs of any kind are scarce; so when the opportunity of being a companion to a disabled man at better than average pay comes along, Louisa jumps at the chance even though she hasn’t a clue about caregiving.
Her charge, Will Traynor was once a powerful investment broker but an accident has left him a quadriplegic. Will is many things; bright, educated, demanding, difficult and depressed. Forced to live in the modified annex of his family’s palatial home, Will feels the life he has is no longer worth living, and has chosen assisted suicide in six months’ time at a clinic in Switzerland. The beginning of Louisa’s relationship with Will is difficult but overtime they grow closer. When Louisa learns of Will’s decision, she throws herself into creating opportunities to show Will that his life matters. Will takes an interest in educating Louisa, showing her that there is a whole world outside her village by introducing her to foreign films, wines, literature and classical music. Will sees all the potential that resides in Louisa, and tries to get her to spread her wings.
On the surface much of the tale seems to be about the relationship between two very different people but the core of the novel is really an exploration and celebration of Life and the relationships with others that bring colour and joy to our own existence. Warning: bring tissues.