Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
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“I will never, ever regret the things I’ve done. Because most days, all you have are places in your memory that you can go to.”
Louisa Clark is a happy-go-lucky, 26-year-old working class girl; until one day, she is left jobless. In dire need of a job to support her large family, she unwillingly chooses to become Will Traynor’s day care assistant. Will has been left handicapped after a motorbike accident 2 years ago and is now a sour, fate-hating, suicidal and frustrated young man with a shocking plan for his future. Louisa has 6 months in hand to change Will’s heart before Will carries on with his intended plan. How she plans and executes her plans is what the story is all about.
I was looking for a light read and hence, was going through the Goodreads’ choice nominee list for Fiction (2013) and came across this book which had received rave reviews and a 4.35 rating (by approx. 60,000 voters) and thought why not? After all, it was on the British bestseller list for quite some time. The story is not the usual boy-meets-girl and a happily-ever-after sort of story. Midway through the book, you know what is coming and you desperately hope that your expectations are not true though you also know that the story with your expectations would make the book just another novel. This anticipation makes the story stimulating. Will’s pain and his frustration with the inability to experience things have been beautifully expressed, making the reader hope that such a thing never happens to them. Louisa’s quirkiness and tit-for-tat attitude is endearing and lends an instant likeability to her character. The author has also managed to deliver different viewpoints on euthanasia effectively. The author’s empathy-evoking narrative reminds one of Jodi Picoult’s and Nicholas Sparks’ writing at some points. The prose is easy to get, maybe a little too easy at times.
The major part of the narrative is from Louisa’s perspective, but a few parts come from the other characters. I don’t see the significance of this as it does not add any weight to the story. It seems more impulsive than character-defining. Similarly, somewhere in the middle of the book, the story gets a little tedious and boring, leaving the reader disconnected from the book. It takes you sometime to get back to the story.
After finishing the book, I was left with mixed feelings about it. I liked the way the author ended the story – it is the best way one can end such a story without making the reader think ‘Oh… Just another predictable story…’ But I felt there was something missing about the way the author built her scenes and events leading to the perfect ending. It’s a very different and unconventional love story which could have been told in a better way. Yet, if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you will love this book.