Me Before You: My First Audible Book

60718 Book CoverI know, I’m a little behind the times on this. I just discovered books on tape. More specifically, and perhaps a little more on trend, I’ve discovered Amazon’s Audible books. On the suggestion of a coworker, I decided to try listening to books. Admittedly, I tried this once and failed miserably, having my attention always falling to whatever was at hand. So this time, I just signed up for my free first book, downloaded the app and file to my cell phone and decided that I would take the suggestion of listening during my commute. I’ve been wanting to read “Me Before You” since the movie came out and I always love to compare.

My commute is “my time”. The only time to myself where I should be able to just let my mind “blah out” and do whatever thinking I choose to do in my recreational time. (Whatever I mean by that, just roll with me. ) That said, my mind usually gets back to work, or whether I should be teaching my child something culturally worthy, or what my husband wants for dinner. I decided to stop all that “wholesome” thinking, and instead, indulge in a book. With what little free time I do have nowadays, I don’t get back to book reading, and Audible really helped solve that issue. (Much to the unrealized appreciation of my fellow commuters as reading a book and driving is probably unsafe.)

This book is very much in the same realm of one of my other favorite romantic books-turned-movies-of-all-time, The Notebook. It deals with a young woman who’s unsure about the path her life should take who stumbles into a job of a caregiver to a young quadriplegic.  I’m not going to spoil the end, but this book does address both sides of the “Dying with Dignity” issue we saw popping up in the news last year.

Several years ago I had someone in my life who was being destroyed by a debilitating disease. While their life span outlook was “99+years”, because of the prognosis, they most likely be considered a quadriplegic in their mid-40s, living mostly as a several disabled paraplegic in their 30s. This is the closest I’ve ever come to having an experience with someone who might be the Will Trainer character. Ever being the optimist, it’s easy to push someone and think they can “make it work”. However,  something that resonated with me in the story is Will’s constant reminder that no one was listening to “his” needs and “his’ wishes .  Looking back, if the tables were turned, I think I would at least like the option of ending my life if it were dire enough. But I can’t help to think that not being able to walk, or dance or participate in my day-to-day would be a hard pill to swallow. I can’t imagine having to ever decide this, but given legislation lately, I still would like the right to do so.

There were some phenomenal quotes from the book that I walked away with.

Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle.

I’m always one to say, LIVE BIG! To the students that I mentor. We really do only go around once, and you never know when our last day will be our last. It felt so good to have this come from Will, the quadriplegic in the book, to let your mind soar, and to press on. I think it’s something we forget to do while we’re just trying to pay the bills and make due.

Some mistakes… Just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.

This spoke to the diet I’ve been trudging through lately. I can’t seem to get it to “stick”. As soon as I go a littttttle bit off for the day (say I have a snack pack of crackers because I have a hunger headache) I tend to lose my discipline for the rest of the day – and I let that one little slip allow me to slip the rest of the day. Additionally, in my life I’ve let people in who were complete mistakes for entry into my soul – it’s taken me a long time to forgive myself for continuing to devalue my worth. It’s a day to day battle to say “They aren’t worth space in your thoughts.” This sentiment rang true to me.

You are scored on my heart, Clark.  You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt.

I am always one for ridiculous clothes. Always. I’m definitely one to wear leg warmers, rompers, loud colors and take chances on my fashion. I’m missing it right now because it’s hard to find trendy in “Mom size”, but I’ll get there again. This quote, for me, was getting in touch with who you are, and being loved for it. I’m also relating to the fact that I can’t keep a secret or hide an emotion – Louisa Clarke was all me!

The book is amazingly written; Moyes’ detailed writing style really let your mind picture exactly what characters look like, their mannerisms, and the like. She let several other characters narrate from time to time, giving us a 3-d view into the players’ personalities. I actually miss hearing the story now, as I felt like Louisa and the other characters were talking right to me. It’s a phenomenal story, where everything is very real, not just “as it should be”, and having taken care of handicap people before, it’s wonderful to see a story that doesn’t have the disabled able to almost do everything that their able bodied counterparts can do. It definitely deals with this head on.

Photo: Amazon.com

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