Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February Book Discussion

Sorry this post is a few days late. I'll have more on that later this week. But, I hope you've all had a chance to finish the book. And here we go.
Discussion questions for this book can be found here, but I'll also add them to this post.

Now, what did you all think? I was certainly looking forward to reading Me Before You because it sounded like it would be the perfect story for February (and Valentine's). And in some ways, I was right. But in others, I wouldn't consider this a Valentine's book at all.

1. Did you like the book? Was it what you were hoping for or expecting? Why or why not?

I really did like the book. It captured my attention once I made it through the first 4 chapters or so. And while I was engrossed in the book, it was not what I was expecting at all. Those of you who read along with us know that Will's desire is to end his life. He doesn't love the "new" life he's currently living and he doesn't want to continue to be stuck in it. Being the romantic that I am, I hoped and hoped that Lou would change his mind and that they'd be happy together. After their trip to a friend's wedding, my hopes were up more than they should have been. And while this book was engaging and my romantic heart was longing for the relationship between Will and Lou to work out, I found myself ultimately disappointed. Don't get me wrong. I did like the book, I am glad I read it, and I will recommend it to others. However, I didn't necessarily like the message of the book. While I didn't like the message of the book, I do appreciate that it challenged my beliefs and caused me to examine why I believe what I do. If you're up for being challenged in what you believe, read Me Before You.

2. What do you think the book title Me Before You means? Who is the me and who is the you?
I'm still unsure as to who the "me" is and who the "you" is. In a very surface level way, I think that the "me" could be Will and the "you" could be Lou. This could be because he dies before her. But on a deeper level, I see the "me" as Lou and the "you" as Will. Yes, Will chose to end his life prematurely, but unselfishly, he chose to but Lou's well-being before his own. He formed a deep relationship with her in the six short months that they knew each other and he decided to give her a better life than she had ever dreamed of. By agreeing to her adventures and dreaming with her, he chose to put her before himself.

3. "The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life-- or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else's life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window-- is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you may seem to other people." Louisa Clark, Chapter 5 What do you think of Louisa? Was she a better person at the end of the novel? Why or why not?
I found Louisa to be a relatable character throughout the entire novel. Lou dealt with uncertainty and self-esteem, two things that most women can relate to. She was stuck in an unhealthy relationship for many years and it was only with the help of Will that she was able to get out of it. In looking at Lou as a person, I would definitely say that she did change. She's a better person at the end of the novel, because she realizes that she can show Will that she loves him in many different ways. She supported Will by saying good-bye and by following his instructions after his life had ended.

4. Will gets a tattoo that reads "Best before 19 March 2007." Will lost a lot in his life but he also chose to leave a lot behind. Did you find anything about the way Will chose to live his life inspiring? Or did you find the way he chose to live is life more difficult to grasp and/or reconcile?
The way that Will chose to end his life is not something I'd ever advocate for. Yes, some aspects of his new life were inspiring, like his ability to overcome the majority of his anger issues. However, I found his life and ultimately, his death to be an awful reality to reconcile with. Lou's online friendship with Ritchie helped her accept the fact that Will was going to end his own life and that it was his right to do so. But while Lou accepted Will's decision, she didn't agree with his choice. Up until the very end, I kept hoping Will's mind would change and that life with Lou would be "enough" for him.

5. What are your final reactions after reading the book? So many issues were raised and so many ideas were presented. How do you feel as you walk away from the book?
This book really struck a chord with me. I don't cry during books often. And while it may have been hormones from being pregnant, I really did fall in love with the idea of Lou and Will being together. And even though I don't agree with Will's decision to end his own life, I do empathize with Lou and the loss she was feeling. I am glad I read Me Before You and I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll be seeing the movie this July.
Thanks for joining us this month and please leave your comments on the book below. I'd love to hear what you thought of it! And do let me know if you're planning to see the movie this summer.
Happy Tuesday!


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