I put off reading this widely acclaimed novel for a few years as I knew the subject was going to be emotive and affecting. However, when the sequel was published I felt I could read the book and deal with the undoubtedly sad ending knowing the characters weren’t just left in suspended animation.
Lou loses her job at a local cafe in a small town and after signing on for the job seekers allowance is manoeuvred to take a job as a carer for a quadriplegic man, Will Traynor. Will is 34 and suffered a C5/6 spinal injury after a motorcycle vs pedestrian accident in London, leading to the loss of his successful city career and life, leaving him to face the darkest depths of a living nightmare. They couldn’t have been more different from each other but attained a bond that changed them both forever.
Throughout this book is a commentary which has been topical for years now about assisted suicide and the various characters in the book have differing emotive views about Will and his life. Jojo Moyles has fastidiously represented the hurdles of living with severe disability and the spectrum of views about the right to choose. I have never felt so deeply conflicted about an issue as I did when I read this book.
From the very start of this book you cannot help but invest and root for Will and Lou, but it is also impossible to ignore the change in quality of life Will has had to undergo and the burden of illness his quadriplegia affords him. However, as much as I wanted this to be the ultimate love story, it was very unlikely to have the happy forever after.
I don’t think such a multifaceted complex issue could have been done more justice, a truly beautiful and haunting read.