Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Me before You

This is quite a departure from the type of book we usually read and I wasn't sure what to expect since in essence this is a romance novel. Though we wrapped up within an hour, I was still pleased and surprised by the discussion.  We spent quite a bit of time on the question of assisted suicide, including people we know who have opted out of treatment and chosen hospice.  As Maureen noted, some diseases progress more quickly than others, like  Parkinson's versus end-stage cancers.  Which brought us back around to assisted-suicide.  We hadn't heard about Dignitas, which is a real place in Switzerland.  Kareen said that it's also legal in Oregon though the terminally ill patients to take the "cocktail" of this own volition.  So I was wrong when I thought it was just a romance.

Patricia didn't care much for the book, feeling the characters to be contrived and flat, but Maureen loved it.  The author has written ten in all and Claudia says she has read seven of them and loved them all.  She teased Maureen that she has a lot of look forward to.

We found it easy to criticize Louisa for her anger and nonacceptance of Will's decision.  Then we thought about her  background and the fact that she had never known him before his accident, and by her own admission, he would never have given her the time of day then.  Angela also noted that he never told her that she loved her, even after she told him she loved him.  He loved it that she gave him a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

We weren't in agreement on Camilla, Will's mom, though Dianna said she came to like her more.  I thought she was the saddest character in the book because in the end she lost her career, her son, her husband and her marriage and was utterly alone. None of us liked Mr. Traynor.  And though Lu left Patrick after seven years, we found his character completely flat and unbelievable.

Angela thought the author's choice of two characters from such different walks of life is the chemistry that made the story work.  Will introduced her to books, movies and music and encouraged her to set goals for herself, to think about college and maybe a career in the fashion industry.  Then he left her the wherewithal to accomplish it.  The closing chapter is bittersweet because she has all that but not that love of her life.

I didn't understand the title and asked for comments.  Darlene said she thought it mean Will before he met Louisa, me before I met you.  Elaine thought it meant I choose me before you, i.e., I choose the right to die.  Interesting!

I have an interesting email from Mary Bruns who said that she had company and was unable to make the meeting.  "Others throught the past few books have been "sad."  I thought they were grim but not really sad.  BUT "Me before You" made me cry tears, real dribbing, sad, tears.  It was an emotional roller coaster for me.  I felt ho-hum before starting it and ended up really liking it.  I'm sending the book to my granddaughter who I think will love it."  I think that sums us the spirit of the book.  It wasn't about issues as much as it was about emotions.