Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I don’t usually like weepy novels, and this is one where I alternated between reading a few pages and shedding a few tears.  For some reason, though, I kept seeking out opportunities to pick up this book and embark on another crying jag.  The book is about Louisa, a young woman who has just lost her job at a café and taken on the daunting duties of a caregiver to Will, a handsome young quadriplegic.  Will is resentful and bitter and wants to end his own life, for a variety of reasons—helplessness, hopelessness, pain, fear of further complications and/or further helplessness.  Mostly, however, he just laments that his life is not the way it used to be, where he orchestrated corporate takeovers and participated in a variety of high-adventure activities.  His family is obscenely wealthy, but there’s not much they can do except perhaps grant Will his wish to die after a mutually-agreed-upon 6-month period.  Plucky Louisa seems to be just the antidote to Will’s depression, bringing a breath of fresh air to Will’s miserable existence.  She desperately races against time to try to convince Will that he has something to live for, devising all sorts of outings meant to demonstrate that he can still lead a full and enjoyable life.  Not all outings have the desired effect, and an undesirable adventure is worse than no adventure at all.  Is this trite, formulaic and predictable?  Quite.  Enjoyable?  Definitely.  Louisa is sort of a Bridget Jones without the madcap mayhem and assorted vices.  Like Bridget, she can hold her own in a conversation, tossing out barbs and witty comebacks when Will tries to bait her into giving up on him.  The growth of their relationship is enough of a reason to keep reading, but the question becomes, “Who is really helping whom?”  Theirs is a Pygmalion sort of mutual education, in which Louisa expands her horizons, thanks to Will’s worldliness, and Will finds some level of fulfillment as a catalyst to Louisa’s awakening.

No comments: