I bought Me Before You after hearing really good reviews; however, at first I didn’t fully realise what the book was about. Coincidentally, I also began and finished reading this book during the week when MP’s rejected the legislation of assisted dying.
This is a topic I have felt passionate about since I learnt of the Dignity in Dying campaign and I’m disappointed that even after all the petitioning and debate, assisted dying wasn’t legalised.
When this book began touching upon the issue of euthanasia, I was even more eager to read it, and was really interested to see how the story evolved with this massive decision looming in each of the character’s minds.
I can say that Jojo Moyes did not let me down. The ending was how I wanted it, but perhaps not how you would expect, after the events that take place throughout the book.
For me, it may be easy to say I agree with assisted dying as I am not going through it. I don’t know how hard it would be to see a loved one make that decision or even decide it myself but Moyes did an incredible job of demonstrating the struggle.
Her writing really made me feel for the characters involved in Will’s decision; his mum, dad, sister and Louisa especially. You could begin to understand how difficult it would be to agree with, to allow someone you love to chose to die. If someone asked you for help to die, what would you do?
Instinct may lead you to immediately deny the request, but think of it from the perspective of those who are suffering. If they could do it themselves, they would. Haven’t they already lost enough dignity in the fact that they need others to help them with everything, from washing to eating, moving to sleeping? I believe they should be allowed the choice, it’s their right after all, to decide to live or die. Able-bodied people have the freedom to make that choice and follow it through, but unfortunately those in the most intense suffering need help to exercise that right. This is why I believe assisted dying should be legal. It comes down to those in pain, they’re the only ones that can truly make the decision.
In Me Before You, Will’s mother Camilla strikes a deal with her son. She’ll take him to Dignitas, if only he gives her some more time. I actually feel sorry for Camilla. What a horrible choice that is to make, to allow her son to die. Some may believe she is heartless for it, but really, isn’t she just thinking of her son? How could she force him to keep living if he was obviously so unhappy? Wouldn’t forcing him to live through his pain mean he is forced to go through even more suffering? Afterwards, she’s the one who has to live her decision, and live without her son, so I really do feel for Camilla Traynor.
Louisa’s mum did surprise me. After supporting her daughter throughout the whole story, the thought of Lou helping someone to die was too much for her to think about and she gave her an ultimatum. I suppose this shows the type of reaction anyone can expect in this situation. There will always be people who don’t understand the choice to die and those who don’t understand other people’s responsibility to help those who are suffering, but what really matters in the end is that people aren’t forced to suffer in pain.
I think that in the end Jojo Moyes does make the right decision, to end the novel as she did. That was what it was all about after all. Lou’s actions were never worthless, unappreciated or a waste of time. They gave Will some chances to escape from the imprisoned life he felt he was living and gave him some wonderful memories and experiences that he may have believed would have been impossible. Lou was a blessing in his life and Will was a blessing in hers. Despite the pain and heartache suffered by both of them, their time together was beneficial and memorable for both of them.
This book will stick with me for a long while and in the meantime, I will continue to support the Dignity in Dying campaign.
The film adaptation of Me Before You is set to be released next year, starring Emilia Clark, Sam Claflin and Jenna Coleman.
Have you read Me Before You? What did you think of it? Did you agree with the ending? Let me know by commenting below.
You can also read my previous blog post about the campaign here.