My Mum recommended this book to me, because it's related to my job, and she had liked the book so much herself. It did come with a warning, though. It will make you cry.
Suffice to say, it did.
So, the story: a twenty-something girl, Louisa, lives a simple, small life in a small town. But when she loses her job at a cafe, everything starts to change. She starts working with Will, a quadriplegic who was the victim in a motorcycle accident. This is the story of what happens when their two worlds collide and how their relationship grows and develops. It becomes not only about making Will happy, but encouraging Louisa to break out of her small-life box and fulfill dreams she didn't even know she had.
I won't say I was instantly hooked, because I wasn't, and I won't say I instantly loved the main Character, Louisa, because I didn't. I don't know why exactly, but it took me a chapter or two to get into. But I soon couldn't put it down. When we met will, I think was when the book realy came alive for me.
The book is so beautifully written, with humour, real human emotions and heartbreak. It speaks so well of human relationships and the struggles that Will and Louisa encounter in relating to each other to begin with. In a sense that is what makes my initial reaction to the book quite fitting, because I learned to love the characters as they learned to love each other.
What I loved about this book was it's ability to make me laugh and cry in the same breath, making strangers on the train peer round their newspapers conspicuously. JoJo Moyes has so beautifully woven a tale of heartache, juxtaposed with humour that serves the same purpose as a cup of tea and a rom-com after a difficult day. It helps you to cope with what you are reading, which I foud very thoughtful of JoJo.
As well as laughing and crying like a madwoman on various illegal substances, I also found myself shouting at Louisa, at Will, even at minor characters towards the end. I would tap Rob on the shoulder, dragging him out of A Feast For Crows, and say, 'Rob, I'm very cross with Louisa. Why the hell is she doing that? She's just... What a.... Humph.' It was at this point I established that I couldn't tell him, because he just had to read this book.
But you see, I like that. I like the fact that I was shouting at her, because it showed how into the story I was, how much I put myself in her situation and thought about what I would do. I also ended up resigning to the fact that maybe I would do the same as her.
There were some geeky moments in which I turned to Rob (getting an irritated sigh back) and told him about a small error in research, like the legalities of crushing tablets, or explaining that what Louisa should have done was park the car close to the pavement and get the wheelchair out on the tarmac. There was also one paragraph which started, 'the thing you have to understand about being a carer is...' and I had to read it out loud to Rob because it rang so true to both of us. Spending so much time with one person, tending to their needs, caring for them, putting all of your attention on them, means that their moods affect your moods. And perhaps that makes us unprofessional, or perhaps it shows just how deeply we care about a person.
I definitely recommend this book, it is very well written and grasps the whole spectrum of human emotion in one sitting. I was not brave enough (or fast enough) to read it in one sitting, though i think it would definitely benefit from it. In a sense, having the breaks that I did gave me time to calm down when I should have still been reeling for the next chapter.
I think it has been good to read a book that deals with disability, as like I said previously, I have been wanting to try writing something that deals with disability, and I think I've learned a lot from how JoJo tackles the issue.