NOTE: This article, originally posted on my blog, contains spoilers.
I love watching movie trailers. So when I saw the one for Me Before You several moNOTE: This article, originally posted on my blog, contains spoilers.
I love watching movie trailers. So when I saw the one for Me Before You several months ago, the first thing I did after leaving the theatre was Google the title, where I discovered the newly-released flick was based on the 2012 fictional novel by British journalist and author Jojo Moyes.
I don’t always have the luxury of first reading a book before seeing the related movie, but I did with Me Before You. How could I not? Moyes’s book has thousands of reviews at Amazon, with an average of 4.6 stars, which means it was either a good story or well written. Or both. Turns out, it’s both. I love Moyes’s writing style and the way she weaves a complex, compassionate tale about the wealthy, albeit depressed Will Traynor, a quadriplegic, and his upbeat, cheery caretaker, Louisa Clark.
Like many women, I also love a good love story.
While taking Megabus to New York City recently, I had nothing but time so I opened the Kindle app on my iPhone and began reading. The bus pulled out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, about 11 p.m. I couldn’t stop turning the electronic pages until my eyes grew so heavy they would barely stay open. It was after 1 a.m.
On my way home from NYC, I began reading again. By the time I finished, I was glad I had thought to pack some tissues in my backpack, because, as my father would say, Me Before You is a real tearjerker.
Last weekend, some friends and I went to see the movie. As we left the theatre, I couldn’t help noticing an older couple behind us. He was wiping his eyes. One of my friends saw it, too, and once outside we wondered if he had lost someone like Will. Or if the couple had a loved one who committed suicide.
That’s because, at its heart, ...Me Before You is a love story, but it’s one which also deals with the controversial issue of assisted suicide, or euthanasia. Will Traynor doesn’t want to live as he is, trapped in a chair while in almost constant pain. He wants to be the “me” he was before the accident that turned him into a quadriplegic. Before “you,” or Louisa Clark enters his world.
Several excellent articles have been written about the ethical and moral dilemma euthanasia raises, so I’m not going there. I will say that, having faced and overcome suicidal tendencies in the past, I can understand why Will made the decision he did. But as someone who has never been trapped in a wheelchair, I am not in a position to judge anyone who makes the choice he did.
Louisa, or Lou, as her family calls her, is such a bubbly, joyful character that we root for her, in her efforts to change Will’s mind. She is one of those people you’d like as a friend, a woman whose smile never fades. (Well, not for long.) Who is sure to pick you up, when you’re feeling down. Or goad you into finding a reason to laugh over your miserable lot in life. She is literally an adult Pippi Longstocking, with the stockings to prove it. I can’t wait to see how Lou fares in her life after Will, since her life “before (him)” was dull and boring.
If you’re a reader, get the book. You won’t be sorry. (Then take your significant other to see the flick on date night.) In the movie, the story arc of Me Before You is unwavering, and actors Emilia Clarke and Sam Claftin give a spot-on performance. However, it omits two other supporting storylines: gang-rape and the legal questions that arise from assisted suicide. Moyes tackles both topics deftly, in a poignant way that left this reader longing for September, when her sequel arrives....more
I started this book while on a Caribbean cruise, which seemed the perfect setting for such a novel. I love Doerr's use of language and writing style!I started this book while on a Caribbean cruise, which seemed the perfect setting for such a novel. I love Doerr's use of language and writing style! The story he weaves about Germany's invasion of France during WWII, the blind girl Marie-Laure, and the Nazi boy-soldier Werner is truly one of the best I've ever read. ...more
The second time around, L'Engle's classic is still as impressive as it was when I read it umpteen years ago, as a child. I think many of us can identiThe second time around, L'Engle's classic is still as impressive as it was when I read it umpteen years ago, as a child. I think many of us can identify with Meg, and know I certainly did. I hope to begin #2 next and can't wait to see how her story continues....more
I was on the last leg of a 600-mile car trip (with a lot of books on my iPad) when I began reading Snakeskin in early November. Initially, I wasn't suI was on the last leg of a 600-mile car trip (with a lot of books on my iPad) when I began reading Snakeskin in early November. Initially, I wasn't sure I would like it and to be perfectly candid, I wouldn't have purchased it based on the title alone—because Snakeskin didn't tell me anything about the book. Plus, I don't read thrillers, because they normally contain too much blood and gore, profanity and/or sex for me. All of the above, though, say more about me than they do about the book itself or even the author.
I had seen C.J. Lyons' books everywhere, so I was familiar with her name and knew she had to be a popular author. But it wasn't until I heard another reader say that Lyons' Lucy books don't have all the usual violence and sex other thrillers do, that I actually bought one for myself. And now I happily count myself among her growing "I love Lucy" fan club.
The main character Lucy Guardino must be based on real-life FBI agents, because I've worked with some of them and Lucy reminds me of the agents I know. So this character rings true. But even more important, she's just like me: she struggles with the demands of work and home, and home and work. Of being a wife, a parent, an employee. She doesn't do any of it perfectly, but she tries really, really hard—probably like we all do.
That Lucy just so happens to go after criminals who hurt children makes her all the better in my book. We could have many more people like her in the real world, and it wouldn't be near enough. Sadly, the real world doesn't offer the same outcome Snakeskin does, but in getting the bad guy, that makes Lucy a strong protagonist and a hero to me. Lyons is a very convincing writer, and her writing does an excellent job of showing the actual damage done by people who prey on children. And as it turns out, Snakeskin is the perfect title for this book.
When I arrived home from my trip, I was about two-thirds through the book, so when I couldn't sleep that night I stayed up for at least two hours to finish reading it. (That's another thing Lyons has going for her: she kept me turning the pages. Not a small feat, let me tell you.) Now I can't wait to read the next one in the series—and would have before now, if I wasn't trying to wade through the big pile I'm trying to conquer. Both on my nightstand and on my iPad.
Loved, loved, loved this book! It taught me a lot about myself and showed some amazing insight into the world of psychology and how little things becoLoved, loved, loved this book! It taught me a lot about myself and showed some amazing insight into the world of psychology and how little things become big things. I wasn't sure at the outset how Gladwell would tie in a suicide craze in Micronesia with Hush Puppies worn in Manhattan, or HIV in Baltimore, Md., with NYC's plunging crime rate. But he did, in a fascinating thread that left me a huge Gladwell fan....more
I finished The Good Earth in Hillsboro, WV, today. That's where Pearl Buck was born, and I wanted to be there when I turned the last page. After a touI finished The Good Earth in Hillsboro, WV, today. That's where Pearl Buck was born, and I wanted to be there when I turned the last page. After a tour of the house, filled with Chinese artifacts from Buck's life there. The Good Earth was great. I felt a connection to O-Lan, who actually did kill her own child—unlike me, who only planned to do so. (And which I relate in my book.) In that sense alone, even if in no other, this book deserved the Pulitzer Prize: to write about filicide during the early 1930's took a supreme amount of courage. It also shows the progressive character Buck displayed throughout her life. Which is why she's one of the country's most beloved authors....more
While I was impressed with her writing (How could I not be? She's Anne Lamott!) the storyline seemed to drag along. However, that being said, it was vWhile I was impressed with her writing (How could I not be? She's Anne Lamott!) the storyline seemed to drag along. However, that being said, it was very easy to picture myself there with the characters. I just wish Elizabeth, mother to druggie teen Rosie, had gotten her head out of the sand much, much sooner. I kept saying "wake up!" but she didn't listen. Loved James, the good-natured stepfather, and wanted to smack Rosie. More than a few times. All in all, a great depiction of how well addicts live a double life and hide their ugly deeds from the people who love them—and how often and how easily we let them....more
Boy Still Missing reads like a haunting tale, its melody remaining long after the reader finishes the last lyrical word.Haunting, lyrical and melodic
Boy Still Missing reads like a haunting tale, its melody remaining long after the reader finishes the last lyrical word. A cross between southern writers Bobbie Ann Mason and Flannery O'Connor, northerner (and Cosmo editor) John Searles proves that Yankee men can write a good "southern" story, too. Searles' style captivates the reader, effortlessly carrying her (in this case) through not just this fictional coming-of-age story, but also into the recesses of her own mind, life and experiences.
That is what great writing does: It provokes and causes one to pause, to reflect and try to find answers about life. Whether those answers are personal, peripheral or pivotal does not even matter, for Searles has provided the best answer of all--a lovely piece of prose in which nothing is what it seems; Dominick Pindle, a character most sons can relate to; and anticipation for an ending does not disappoint. Don't miss Boy Still Missing, for it will touch you in all the ways that matter, ensuring you spend a rich afternoon of pure pleasure with a writer whose work you will want to follow!...more