Me before You.


One Life Jojo Moyes

*contains spoilers*

I am a self proclaimed book worm . Its one of the qualities I am most proud to have passed down to my children. I love to read and get completely absorbed in a book, to walk into a make believe world and becaome part of the characters lives, to feel I know them and that I am part of their story.

The first book I remember loving was Danny the champion of the world. There is no doubt Roald Dahl is one of the most amazing authors ever to have graced this planet. My children still read his books with the same joy I did and although David Walliams is a very close second for them, I doubt anyone will ever quite over take the genius that was Dahl.

The next books I fell in love with where the Under The Hawthorn tree trilogy by Marita Conlon-McKenna, my primary 7 teacher read the first book with our class. Then knowing that I was dyslexic but refusing to let that hold back my love of reading she bought me the next two books. I went on to fall in love with Angela’s Ashes and then Jane Eyre and Pride and prejudice.

When I was 17 I picked up a Sheila O’Flanagan book and swiftly read everything she had ever written, this became a pattern of finding a new author, reading everything they had ever written and soon I had a little bank of my favourite authors. Along with Sheila was Lucy Diamond, Sinead Moriarty, Sarah Webb, Giovanna Fletcher.

Then a couple of years ago having read all the most recent books I was in search of a new author, Id heard of the book ‘Me Before You’ I wasn’t initially enthralled at the idea of a book that I knew touched on assisted suicide. I can be fairly stubborn and when I have an opinion I am not easily swayed. I have had experience of suicide and attempted suicide I am fairly hard-line in my own opinions but I was assured that the book was well worth a read and I decided to give it a go.

As soon as I picked up this book by JoJo Moyes I was hooked, I instantly couldn’t put it down. I felt connected to the character and even when I was frustrated and didn’t agree with them, I couldn’t stop reading, I needed to know what happened and I read that book in two days.

Some books are a great story and some books impact your life. This was the latter, I was so drawn in by Wills, love of life being contrasted with his undeniable need to end his existence in a life that he could never believe was his own. I loved that Louisa sings to her own tune and although afraid ultimately by seeing someone else’s pain and through pure love she catches a glimpse of loving life the way will once did.

My life journey is nothing like Will’s, I am not paralysed, not even close. I have huge amounts of independence compared to his life post accident and I am no thrill seeker like Will was before his accident. I do know what its like to gradually loose control of your own life and your own body. I have had to let go of hopes and dreams and ideas of what life will be. My opinion is still that our lives are not ours to take, but that decision is a personal one and not for anyone else to make. We each have our own minds on all the big issues in life. I would however be lying if in the midst of an arthritis flare up, when I cant think of anything other than the overwhelming pain, that is my bones feeling like they are being crushed, like my lungs are filled with bricks and every single breathe hurts, the thought has very briefly entered my head that it would be easier to sleep and let all the pain just go away. Now do not get this confused with Suicidal thoughts, nothing of the sort, just situations become overwhelming and to understand that Will’s decision was one based on his need and indeed selfishly he left others in a different kind of pain. That is not a decision that anyone takes lightly. We have to understand we would need to have been in his shoes, to  truly know if that would be the same decision we would have made.

Now since the release of the film Jojo Moyes has had a lot of flack, for not knowing someone with the same condition as Will, for saying that disabled life isn’t worth living. That the love between a disabled person and an able bodied person isn’t worth fighting for. None of this I feel is true of fair. It simply paints a picture of ONE circumstance.

Its there to open our eyes that preconceived ideas sometimes need to be looked at from someone else’s point of view. That this book says, living is EVERYTHING. Its never about giving up, its about grabbing life with both hands and living every single moment to its fullest. Its about our actions having consequences (please read ‘After You’) and heart break and causing a chain reaction.

Read this book, see the film, catch the message.

Realise that each life is different and fragile.

“Push yourself, don’t settle, just live well, Just live.” Jojo Moyes

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