Published December 2012 by Viking Penguin
Source: downloaded to my Nook to read with the Omaha Bookworms
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for exMaster of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
I have a confession to make - this book arrived in my mailbox one day, unsolicited, more than a year ago. It sat on my desk in limbo for some time before I decided it sounded it wasn't for me and gave it away. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Read it, they said. It will make you cry, they said. Still, I was a bit nervous about recommending it to the Bookworms. I wasn't even sure, when I did, that it would be a book that was discussion worthy. Is a tear-jerker really a worthy book club choice? Yes, yes it is. Not only did everyone enjoy the book, we had one of our best discussions.
The book gets off to a bit of a shaky start; the prologue is a little melodramatic. But from there Moyes delivers a story that completely sucked me in and won me over. There is nothing fussy about Moyes' writing but it's her straight-forward style that helps readers connect to her characters and their problems. And they are characters that are so easy to relate to. You know people like Lou and her parents; you have had relationships like the one between Lou and her sister; you've met people like pre-accident Will and his family.
"It's just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man - the galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated offspring - you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and complicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled into one."Lou and Will are going to stay with me a long time. I loved the way their relationship developed, their repartee, and their honesty.
"Nobody wants to hear that stuff. Nobody wants you to talk about being afraid, or in pain, or being scared of dying through some stupid, random infection. Nobody wants to know how it feels to know you will never have sex again, never eat food you've made with your own hands again, never hold your own child. Nobody wants to know that sometimes I feel so claustrophobic, being in this chair, I just want to scream like a madman at the thought of another day in it. "I'll leave you with some of my favorite gems from the book. Oh, and about that crying? Yep, I absolutely did cry...quite a lot. I defy you not to.
"I just want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress."
"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."
"Her face, when she turned to me, told me I should do the same. It could contain a million message, my mother's face..."
"Some mistakes...just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let that night be the thing that defines you."