Post-Reading: Me Before You

In Me Before You, Will’s parting message to Louisa is “Just live well. Just live.” This somehow translates to Louis reading a postmortem letter from Will at a café on Rue des Francs-Bourgeois in Paris, eating a croissant and drinking coffee. On one hand, I know that what it means to “just live” is different for all of us. I’m constantly trying to figure out what it means, and of course I have no idea. On the other hand, this books tells the story of a young man who commits suicide after enduring a horrible accident and its aftermath. The book ends with a girl tearing up over a letter at a café before going on a Parisian adventure. I don’t know about other readers, but girl-in-Paris-café did not give me the closure I needed for this very heavy, emotional book.
 
That being said, I think Jojo Moyes makes it easier for the reader to accept Will’s decision to end his life by making him such an intelligent and consistent character. Despite flashes of happy moments with Louisa, he never wavers from his decision. Will convinced me that he knew what he wanted and that he deserved to receive it. But did he convince all readers? I doubt it. That’s what makes Me Before You such a worthwhile read, because you have the opportunity to gauge your reaction to an incredibly serious issue within the safe space of a book. Do we have the right to choose death for ourselves? If so, at what point does it become appropriate? I know, heavy stuff. So to be able to explore the idea, even within the confines of a book, is quite an experience.

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3 Comments

  1. This book was excellent, and yea, I absolutely believe that people are entitled to do what they will with their lives. I’ve always been an advocate for assisted suicide. People should be allowed to say when their suffering has become too much to bear.

  2. I was also mildly disappointed with the ending of the book: I feel like I didn’t fully get the closure I needed. However, I think the author’s choice to explore the topic of assisted suicide was fascinating. I remember taking a Bioethics course once where we discussed this same topic at great lengths.

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