Me Before You.

62-me-before-you

It may look like a standard chick lit from the front cover, but DO NOT LET THAT FOOL YOU. This is far from your average romantic boy-meets-girl book.

This is a heartbreaking, funny, poignant, story that will make you want to really live. 

Amidst hundreds of books being published in this digital day and age, I think it’s rare to find a book that truly opens up your heart, cuts you deep, leaves you breathless, vulnerable and makes you question the way you are living your life now; whether you are living it to your full potential and how maybe, just maybe, you could be living it so much MORE?

Me Before You did just that for me and so much more.

When I found myself wishing for the Powers That Be and some other Divine Force for this book to miraculously turn into the NeverEnding Story, I knew I’d found an absolute treasure.

The Story
Will Traynor was all about living the high life. A successful businessman, an adrenaline junkie and someone who had travelled all over the world, he knew how to live. However, after being involved in a nasty motorcycle accident, Will is now a quadriplegic. Growing bitter and more miserable each day, he is now in the caring hands of middle-class, ex-waitress, Louisa Clark, his new and reluctant/desperate-for-money care assistant. And as they start to form a friendship, they both end up changing each other’s lives in a way neither thought possible.

As soon as I had opened up the first page, I could not put it down. I was so anti-social, ignoring my parents and guests. But my eyes were glued to each page, trying to absorb every word as I was drawing near to the end. And I was dreading it because I just wanted it to go on and on. I ended up finishing this book at around 1.30am. And once I was done and had settled my emotions, all I wanted to do was read it again.

Because I was BLOWN AWAY.

This was the first book I had read from the author and it certainly will not be the last. Moyes creates characters that may at first seem stereotypical – Louisa is bubbly and awkward, Will is miserable and withdrawn and you may think, pah, typical!

NO.

Will and Lou are not your average characters and you will, without a doubt, fall in love with them. Lou is pretty, funny and awkward but also wears her heart on her sleeve and doesn’t believe she is someone who can be into things like foreign films and travelling, or even bright enough to carry on with education. Will is unhappy and reserved but also handsome, sexy, sarcastic and is extremely knowledgeable. And the two mesh so well together, you cannot help but reach out to try to grasp some of their happiness and store it in a safe place so it comes to no harm.

There is a dark, controversial subject that aids the entire story: euthanasia. Moyes grapples with this tough subject with such ease. She handles assisted suicide with sensitivity and perfection, taking the reader on an emotional journey with the characters, making it all realistic and finally, leaving you to tackle your own thoughts about it. She doesn’t drown the book with complicated words so it sounds like a medical dictionary, nor does she shy away from the physical pain the paralysis brings on Will (and there are plenty) or the awkwardness people feel when faced with a quadriplegic. A perfect example is when Lou’s dad Bernard, meets Will for the first time and he embarrassingly holds out his hand, then stammers, “I don’t know how to greet a… I can’t shake your-” Moyes’ strong humorous reply from Will, “A curtsy will be fine,” breaks the tension and draws a laugh from the reader. A perfect balance.

I won’t carry on more about the story. All you need to know is that you NEED to read this. And I cannot stress that enough. It is a powerful story, combining love, heart ache and humour in such a way, that it will leave you in awe and possibly change your outlook on a few things. It changed mine.

So thank you Jojo Moyes for writing a story that will follow me forever. It has a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart and is definitely a story that I will never, ever forget.

Will Traynor and Louisa Clark are forever “scored on my heart.”

You told the world something good.

The Vow and Other Little Things…

I recently went to watch The Vow in cinemas and even though Rotten Tomatoes didn’t give it a very high rating, I loved it. This film was inspired by true events and what an event to be inspired by.

If you don’t know the story: Leo and Paige are newly weds. A tragic car accident causes Paige to lose 4-5 years of her memory – meaning she has no idea who Leo is. Because of this tragic event, Leo attempts to win his wife back and make her fall in love with him all over again.

*Spoilers as you continue to read*

Soppy? Romantic? Mushy? Hell yes. But oh so sweet. 

This film got me thinking about how couples sometimes can take each other for granted. They forget to appreciate the little things and because of this, your partner’s eyes begin to wonder and flirt with other girls, you begin to argue more than usual, they become distant and start telling you endless lies and before you know it, you don’t even recognise your partner any more.

I believe it’s so important to show your partner how special they are and vice versa, no matter how long you have been together. If that person has been there for you through your worst times and helped you in any way possible, then where is the harm in showing them just how much you love them? The ‘Honeymoon’ period may have passed but that doesn’t mean the romance has to too.

Aside from the usual relationship rules, staying faithful, honest, loyal and caring, these little gestures, the surprise hugs/kisses, the thoughtful gifts, (the gifts do not have to cost you a penny) are what counts in relationships. Next time you’re with your other half, why not try a few of these suggestions?

If you see each other every day:

  • Try lighting a few candles to make the atmosphere appear romantic, and if it’s not a regular occurrence, make dinner at home. Your partner will appreciate the time and effort you put in to surprise them.
  • The same with the candles but instead of dinner, how about a surprise massage with a bubble bath?
  • Going for something small? A simple surprising kiss, either in the privacy of your own home or in public, or a squeeze of their hand.
  • A small, thoughtful surprise, maybe his/her favourite food? You saw it in a shop and couldn’t resist? Maybe a book/DVD they have talked about, or anything that makes you think of them, just to show them you were thinking of them.

    Saw this and thought of you...

If you’re in a long distance relationship:

  • If you know your partner is coming to visit, try making your house/flat/room appear romantic by lighting a few candles and putting on some slow, romantic music in the background. A personal favourite will make your partner appreciate the thought you put behind the surprise.

  •  If you’re going to surprise your partner, maybe wear some sexy lingerie to add spice to the surprise.
  • If you’re having to text/talk for a while, speaking for all the women in this advancing technological age, surprise texts/phone calls just to say that you miss us or that you love us will leave a smile on our face for the rest of the day and make us feel special, warm and fuzzy. Even if some of us won’t admit it, it really will.
  • Send something through the post. For the real romantics out there and if you know it’s something your partner will love, try writing a love letter. A tangible token of love and affection is more personal than an email or a text and it is something that your partner will always cherish.

Leo went to great lengths to make Paige fall in love with him again. And I know he’s thanking his lucky stars because the characters the film was based on, are now happily married (again) with children. She never regained her lost memories but she made perfect new ones.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to effort and how much you’re willing to put in. Celebrate your anniversaries, make a big deal out of any occasion, make memories, capture them, write them down, do something for them that would take you out of your comfort zone because it will make you appreciate each other more and keep your love and the sparks alive.

A Morbid Truth.

When Death knocks on your door as an unexpected guest, you have no choice but to answer it.

You stare up at the Dark Messenger as he stands in front of you in all his black-robe-glory, towering above you as he patiently waits. He knows and understands you have to say your goodbyes so he just simply nods and waits until you’re ready.

Which of course you’re not. Any fool, living or dead can see that. But what can you do? Try and cheat it? Final Destination tried that (five times was it?) and look what happened to them.

The tagline says it all...

I call him Unexpected Death.
He arrives at the most unexpected times, creeps into your dreams, follows you around, watches you grow and start your life, as he patiently waits in the background until he gets the dreaded phone call from above saying two simple words, “It’s time.”

For people who know Death is around the corner, or as I like to call it, Predicted Death, it allows time for preparation, for themselves and their loved ones. This doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking but when Unexpected Death arrives, it’s as if grief, suffering, sorrow and misery have all joined forces, entered your heart and soul and planted a seed there so that this new emotion is forever rooted inside of you. It may ease away with time but it will never let you forget.

You try to do all you can to cope but ultimately you can’t help but think,

 ‘This is unfair. It’s not right, it shouldn’t have happened, so why did it? Why do bad things continue to happen to good people? Why was he/she taken away so soon, when he/she just started living his/her life? Why? Why? WHY?’

No one can answer these questions. They can offer advice, their opinions, say a prayer or give you a shoulder to cry on but one thing you have to accept is that the hardest questions will never be answered.

Unexpected Death is painful beyond words but I believe it can teach you about life. When you are forced to face situations that leave you feeling numb, angry and confused, it also forces you to face reality; that life really is incredibly short and fragile. No one knows who or what is around the corner, so the next time you feel miserable about your job, or that you’re not 100% happy with where you are in life, start making some changes before it’s too late and just embrace life with all its flaws and imperfections, live it to the best of your ability and truly live each day as if it is your last because…what if it is?