One of the reasons I so enjoyed this novel is that it tackles a very modern dilemma. If a disabled young man feels his life is over, then no matter how much those around him - his parents, his friends - love him and want to help, is he justified in deciding his own fate, even if that means those left behind will be desolated? There have been a number of reports in the media lately of how seriously ill or disabled people (especially paralysed young men) feel they cannot face life, and opt to end theirs. This is, as Judy says, a real love story. Will and Lou are star-crossed lovers. They make each other happy, but for Will, that happiness is not enough. Lou has to face and accept his ultimate decision about his future, no matter how much she loves him. But I don't want to give the impression that Me Before You (which we both loved) is mostly sad and painful, because in parts it's extremely funny. Lou's working-class family, and Will's upper-class, snooty mother, are sharply and hilariously observed. It's a very powerful and emotional novel, full of insight into people's lives. We think it is a perfect read - uplifting, but also tragic. Precisely the elements the best romantic stories are made of.
This book is compelling, moving and totally absorbing. It is also a true romance, a real weepie. Louisa (known as Lou) is 26. A working-class girl, her family (mum, dad, granddad and sister Treena, who is a single parent to little Tom) depend on her meagre wage from the Buttered Bun, a cafe where Louisa has worked for six years. To her shock she is suddenly made redundant. She knows her family need her to earn and desperately starts looking for another job. After a few false starts, she reluctantly accepts a position as carer to a young man who is paralysed as a result of a terrible accident, in which he was mowed down by a motorcyclist on a busy, wet morning in London. Will Traynor is young, handsome, rich, upper-class, and before his accident had a high-flying career in the city. Then, in one shattering moment, his life is ruined. Resentful, convinced he has no future, he is full of anger. Will Traynor is not a very nice young man. When Lou meets him, there is instant mutual dislike. She is an ordinary girl from a poor family, while he is an arrogant guy from a very different, moneyed world, who feels his life has been poisoned by the accident. He is forced to witness his former girlfriend's new relationship with his old friend, as they visit him to commiserate, but also to make it clear that she has moved on. However, as Lou and Will get to know each other, their relationship becomes deep and profound. This book is very much a romance, and also terribly moving. Expect tears. Keep the tissues handy.