Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Read It: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I love books. Thankfully I love my children more because every time I crack open a good book I am hit with a strong desire to ignore the entire universe until I finish reading it. I stifle that desire, but it's there.

I love being transported to new cities, meeting new people, and gaining insight into another time in history, another culture, another way of seeing the world, all through the pages of a book and the thoughtful smattering of ink on a page. I am in continual awe that we all learn these 26 letters that make up this dictionary full of words, yet some people can manipulate and frame them in such lovely, significant ways that leave an imprint on my heart.
"A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." - Carl Sagan
~Carl Sagan
So, yes, I love books.
My go-to books are tragic and gut-wrenchingly depressing with a side of WWII. I don't know what it says about me that when I have the chance to open a book for relaxation and escape, I often choose to go to Nazi Germany, the bedside of a dying man, or war-torn Rwanda. I'm sure Freud would have a field day with my book choices.

I think a lot can be learned from how characters handle tragedy. I think our world and our understanding of the world can be broadened through books. I think books offer us a chance to better understand our place in this vast world. And sometimes, in reading just how painful and difficult and seemingly impossible life is for others, I am reminded just how lucky I am and how we must find beauty in our everyday experiences to make it through this crazy, messed up, gorgeous world. Plus, I am a sucker for beautiful words and sentences. It makes me really, ridiculously happy.

Speaking of words, how's that for a long introduction?

An aside: We were talking about the word chillaxin' the other day (that's a weird conversation topic, I know) and I expressed my strong dislike for it. The kids asked why and I said I wasn't really in the business of combining words, but instead I liked to use as many words as possible and stretch them out nice and long to get my point across. Jim thought that was a very accurate explanation and I've proved my point again here!

OK, back to the topic at hand. Books. In particular Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

If you're in a book club, put it on your list. Now. It is one of those books that I finished and I wanted to immediately discuss with other people. It is about life and love, discrimation and sexual assault, living afraid and following your dreams, quadriplegia and assisted suicide. It is about all of those things, but it is mostly a really lovely story about two special people whose paths crossed in a very unlikely way and who forever changed the course of the other person's life. I adored the characters, except for that one idiot and you'll know which one I mean right away. I especially loved Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. I loved their flaws and complexity. I loved their banter. I loved their tender, sarcastic exchanges. I loved how complicated it all was and how there was no right or wrong answer, just layers upon layers of gray and room to draw my own conclusions, conclusions I'm still thinking about now.

This book made me think. In fact, it continues to make me think about people with disabilities, particularly those in wheelchairs. It made me feel deeply. It made me roll my eyes. It also made me ugly cry. It was everything a really sad, thought-provoking book should be.

If you're like me, the book won't hook you right off the bat. Give it some time. I am definitely glad that I did.

So, go forth and read Me Before You. Then call or email or message or one of the other 33 ways we have of contacting each other so we can discuss the book. I can't wait!

*Shout out to my friend, Jaclyn, for the recommendation. Although we haven't known each other long, she knew this depressingly beautiful book would be right up my alley.

What are you reading now? And what should I add to my miles long reading list?

1 comment:

  1. I read this book this spring and I'm not a very emotional person but I was all choked up finishing it! Such a great read!