“I had a hundred and seventeen days in which to convince Will Traynor that he had a reason to live.”
What an incredible story!!
When I finished this book, tears were pouring down my face. It was powerful, heart-breaking, and bittersweet but also oddly heartwarming. Absolutely unforgettable. I honestly think it’s impossible to come away from this book without an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the blessings in your life.
I’ll be honest, it’s taken me over a year to work up the courage to read this book. I found out the ending back in 2012 when I first heard about the book and my initial reaction was Noooope, I can’t do this!… but I was still drawn to the story and deeply curious about it. So I kept it at the back of my mind and would think about it from time to time. I’d even open the book, then chicken out and put it back. But I finally came to terms mentally with the story and got to a point where I felt I was ready to read it. And I just want to say that I am SO glad that I finally decided to go for it because this story will stay in my heart forever.
It’s about a woman, Louisa, who is desperate for a job and accepts a position as private caregiver to a young disabled man, a quadriplegic, from a wealthy family. This man, Will Traynor, had once been on the fast track in life — a high powered business man who pursued a thrilling life of action and adventure. But that all came to a sudden, tragic halt the day he was the victim of an accident that left most of his body paralyzed. Now faced with the medical reality that he was never going to recover, his entire outlook on life changed and he made a shocking, but yet oddly understandable, personal decision which he felt was right for him much to the despair of his family. And that was where Lou came into the picture.
It was truly tragic seeing this guy who had so much mental energy be so strongly and permanently confined. He was trapped inside his own body and, as a reader, I could really feel his hopeless frustration and rage. For the first time since his accident though, Lou brought moments of joy into his life.
Mind you, they didn’t have the smoothest of starts. Will was cranky, moody, and had no desire to establish any kind of friendship with her. But as the days went by, things slowly began to change between them…
This story was quietly captivating. You could almost call it slow-paced and yet I didn’t want to put it down and was constantly thinking about all aspects of the story even when I wasn’t reading it.
I’m at odds with how much I should tell you about it though. On one hand, I fully respect and understand the benefits of going into a story like this blind, but on the flip side, if it was me, I would have wanted to know what to expect so I’m going to split things up here….
If you don’t want to know anything more about the story before you read, you can just stop here or click to purchase the book. BUT…. if you want to get an idea of the way everything ends, then read on.
Essentially, prior to the start of the book, Will made an unwavering, clear-minded decision that he did not wish to continue his life in his condition. It was not a rash or unstable decision made out of depression or anger, but rather one based on medical facts and personal choice. Louisa found out about his choice relatively early on and when she did, she was horrified and decided to do everything in her power to convince him to change his mind. I think that it was a very natural reaction to want to cling to hope for a better future and the belief that there must be a way. I don’t want to directly give the ending away but at the same time I want to warn you that this is not a fairy tale and its a painfully real and honest story.
There is no sudden tragedy or twist at the end. More like a personal choice made by taking a realistic look at life. It’s painfully heartbreaking to admit but I do feel that, given the circumstances of Will’s situation and what he wanted out of his life, it was the right ending for the person to whom it mattered most.
I’m not going to lie, prior to reading this book, I struggled with the morality of it simply based on my natural reaction. But, looking back, that was unfair because I didn’t really know the complexity or details of this exact situation. I think we innately want to fix things, and it’s easier to hold on to imaginary hope when you’re not the person who is trapped. It’s an incredibly selfless act to love someone enough to put their happiness first even at the cost of your own. It makes my heart ache to say this and I still can’t even think about it without tears coming to my eyes but… it really ended the only way it could have.
There are so many valuable life lessons embedded in this story — to find a purpose in life, to follow your passions, to never waste a single moment — and I feel like this story gives an important reminder to value each minute, and cherish each of the things that we can so easily take for granted.
Everything is precious. Every ability, every minute, all of it.
Count your blessings. Be grateful for each one of them. Read this book.
Rating: 4.5 — 5 stars. Standalone.
This is fiction, not romance, even though there is a love story.
This was originally written as a standalone, but the author recently announced a sequel to be released this Fall. Click the cover below for more info on it!