The story centres on a Quadriplegic, Will Traynor, and a woman employed to keep an eye on him for six months, Louisa Clark. Will is difficult to get along with at first but Louisa doesn’t let that deter her. She does her best to make their days interesting. Then she learns the terrible truth behind her employment and spends all of her time trying to prove to Will that life is worth living, even if it isn’t very much of a life.
Louisa is determined to change Will’s mind, without letting on she actually knows what he plans to do. She sets about organising days out, hoping to ignite a spark of renewed interest in his own life, hoping to prove to him that life in a wheelchair is not the bleak, desolate place he is perceiving it to be. She finds an online forum for disabled people and feels that she can turn Will’s thinking around. If these people – people from all over the world – can manage to find interest in life then surely Will can.
Louisa is on a mission and this plays havoc with her love life. She also must remain tight-lipped about what Will has planned, nobody must know. She finds this hard at first because her instincts are screaming that this is so wrong. She confides in her sister, who helps her with the daunting task of finding things that a Quadriplegic can actually do. Before Will’s accident, he was a successful lawyer, an adrenalin junkie and had a healthy interest in the opposite sex. In short, his life was filled to the brim with work and play. It is because of this that Will has given up on life and Louisa knows it must be extremely difficult for him to have gone from one extreme to another, in terms of quality of life.
Undeterred she continues with her plans, consulting Will’s carer and parents along the way. She devises an action packed holiday for him in the States. A holiday where he can bungee jump and go white water rafting. A holiday package that a former stunt man, now also a Quad, has created so that fellow disabled people can have as good a quality of life as possible. A package that shows that life doesn’t have to be all about remaining at home, whiling the years away.
But tragedy strikes just before the holiday, Will is rushed to hospital with Pneumonia. Once he is out of the woods he and Louisa decide not to cancel the holiday altogether, they just won’t be going to the States, instead they will be going to a place where they can relax and Will can recuperate.
Throughout the book I found myself thinking he was never going to change his mind, only to find I actually thought Louisa had cracked it. The book is very thought provoking and insightful. It is quite an emotional read, I gained an insight to why severely disabled and terminally ill people choose to take their own lives. I still do not think assisted suicide should be legalised, life is precious, even a life that is so very limited. But at least now I understand what drives people to such a point.
A very thought provoking read and I strongly recommend everyone reads it. ***** 5 stars.