alright...so i had preconceived notions about what this book might be. hearing and reading it labelled 'chick lit', 'romance', 'women's lit', and 'giralright...so i had preconceived notions about what this book might be. hearing and reading it labelled 'chick lit', 'romance', 'women's lit', and 'girls' books club', i was put off. in past instances of reading books that could be boxed in in those ways, i have found them light, angst-y, melodramatic, then neatly, tidily resolved. they haven't been terribly deep or exploratory. sometimes that's totally okay, and even welcomed. but the labels can do a disservice.
labels aside, i kept hearing strong, positive things for moyes' book. having just come off of some serious nonfiction reads, i wanted a book that would be engaging but not taxing. i hoped this would fit the bill, and it did.
moyes is handling a very important and difficult subject at the core of me before you - the right to determine one's own death. in canada, this is a big debate and one i feel needs to be seriously addressed through legislation. i strongly believe people are entitled to self-determination - and choosing a dignified death should not be a criminal act, nor should there be so much stigma surrounding death (generally), and one's right to die.
moyes' characters seem genuine - though louisa's 'quirk' factor lost it's charm fairly quickly, and lou's boyfriend needed a punch in the throat. his purpose was not well developed/used, and for me he did not add much to the story at all. will traynor had been a larger-than-life, successful man until he wasn't. (by his own determination.) the supporting characters were interesting and nuanced, adding richness to the story, reflecting well families and every day life. it did end up all a bit neat and tidy, and the wealth of will traynor, and his parents, made things unrealistic to most people. so those were a few of my grumps on the story. but overall, i think moyes has succeeded in creating a good novel, dealing with an important subject and done so in a way that makes it highly accessible to all readers. books like this - fiction, well done - can help in the conversations about a person's right to die, and may help the discussions become easier.
also, moyes offers a shoutout to the awesome flannery o'connor, so you gotta love a writer with excellent taste in writers. :)
another novel i read on this subject, earlier this year, is the fantastic All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews. this was a stronger book for me - the writing is better, the story goes deeper and the humour is not silly. where the two novels forked, i think, has to do with the perspective of the narrators. in AMPS, the main character is the sister of the woman who want to take control of her own death. they have a lifelong, deep connection which resonates throughout the book. in MBY, the main character only has a 6 month relationship with the man who would like to choose his own death. though we get a bit of a voice from will's mother in MBY, the depths of emotions and strengths of the relationships are not as well-developed in moyes' story. so toews' book is definitely my preference and is, in fact, my favourite read of 2014 at this point.
having said that, though, i do recommend both novels - each helps to serve the subject in a memorable way. plus, i hear me before you is being adapted for the big screen...so you may as well read it first. i am thinking this adaptation will affect viewers the same way The Fault in Our Stars has...but the book is always better, even if a film is great....more
okay, so going into this read...i was ready for all the feelings. it's sad state of affairs - our world, our environment - for all the species currentokay, so going into this read...i was ready for all the feelings. it's sad state of affairs - our world, our environment - for all the species currently contending, and no longer here. and make no mistake, kolbert offers some very disturbing and sobering information. (two chapters, in particular, got to me the most - the auks, and the bats.) but the way kolbert presents her work is so compelling, and almost without judgement. heck, she even has a few moments of humour that made me giggle. (though i have a weird sense of humour.)
kolbert is not writing as an environmentalist or as an advocate. she avoids the contentious politics that can appear in books like this. kolbert is a journalist. her research seems really solid, the book is hugely informative, and it's very accessible. if you have any sort of heart and conscience, this book will horrify you, upset you, and punch you in the gut. yet somehow kolbert pulls this all off without conveying utter hopelessness. if you don' t have either of these things ... you're probably not going to read this book anyway. (heh! see - weird humour: i have it.) if you are already a fairly well-informed person, curious about the world, and one who seeks out information and knowledge, none of what kolbert presents will be news. going along on her travels as she participates in research and talks to experts is a bit of an armchair adventure, and i found it fascinating - the fantastically diverse locations, the projects being done, and the people out there doing the dirty, isolated (in many cases) work.
if you're interested, al gore did a pretty great review for the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/boo... (heh! disclosure time: so, i totally missed that gore wrote this review. i didn't catch the fact until my third reading of the piece, when i realized i hadn't even taken in the name of the reviewer, then scrolled back to the top of the article and beheld gore's name. yes...i am a dork sometimes.)...more
well...this was not at all what i thought it would be. i was absolutely fascinated and engaged with the life, story and art of mary delany. but i waswell...this was not at all what i thought it would be. i was absolutely fascinated and engaged with the life, story and art of mary delany. but i was really not engaged with (or interested in) author molly peacock's memoir-ish insertions of herself into delay's biography. for me, it really detracted from the read and made me not want to pick up the book to continue the read. i found the flow and style of writing in the book bumpy, and also found myself really questioning peacock's suppositions and inferences. i actually ended up setting this book aside, around ¾ of the way through - something i never to. i most always finish the books i start. so, unfortunately, this book lands on my DNF shelf.
my rating is based on how much i liked learning about mary delany, the stunning beauty of her art, and the beautiful quality of the hardcover edition of the book i own - it really is a lovely object....more