My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.”
I received this book through NetGalley and I wish to thank the publisher, Penguin Group Viking, for allowing me the opportunity of reading it.
Utterly unputdownable, this is a story of epic proportions.
26 year old Louise “Lou” Clark is an ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life which suits her just fine. Still living at home and recently retrenched from her job at The Buttered Bun, a local café, amidst the GFC, she is desperate to find alternative employment in order to continue to assist her parents in a time of dire financial crisis for a lot of families. Sitting in the office of her Job Center representative, Syed, after having looked at, and rejected, various other positions, a job comes through to care for an invalid man.
Lou accepts an interview for the position, albeit with some trepidation, and we finally see her meeting Will Traynor.
Much to her surprise, Lou soon realises that not all invalids are geriatric or require their bottoms to be wiped, although she is placed in a position where she is required to be a “friend” to an extremely unhappy and rude young man – he has, after all, lost almost everything. After a few weeks though, Lou and Will manage to find some common ground and she manages to tiptoe less and less around him as their friendship takes on a more jocular (albeit with some sarcasm) tempo. However, overhearing a private conversation between Will’s mother and his sister, Georgina, leaves Lou devastated and we finally learn the real reason why she has been called in to be his carer for six months.
Having never read a book by Jojo Moyes before, let me just say that I was astounded – completely. She is truly a gifted writer and I am so thankful that I have discovered her.
Being subjected to a life in a wheelchair as an adult, after having had the freedom of activity for so many years, cannot be easy and the author has quite capably taken us on a journey into the psyche of an invalid, showing us how it may affect some as well as the people close to them.
To me, this was an extremely emotional novel and Ms Moyes has captured all the emotions of her characters in vivid detail. Her characters are extremely well developed and I felt, by the end of the book, that I had lost a friend.
As a person who loves life, I felt a bit cheated that Will had decided to go through with his decision, even though a very rare, all-consuming love had blossomed between him and Lou, as I do believe that there are many Quadriplegics out there who have adapted well to their new lives in their “new” bodies.
Filled with humour, sadness, love and just about every other emotion you can think of, this is yet another great book that I can highly recommend.
The extremely emotional climax saw me sobbing right through to the revelation of the plot.
About the Author (Taken from the Author’s website)
Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30 she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University.
In 1992 she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, and apart from 1994 when she worked in Hong Kong for the Sunday Morning Post, she worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.
She has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.
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