Louisa Clarke is a woman content with leading a simple very ordinary life. She lives at home with her mother, father, sister, nephew, and Grandfather who recently suffered a stroke. She’s worked at the Buttered Bun for six years, has a fairly pleasant relationship with her boss, and is stuck in a relationship that’s going nowhere fast. All this changes when her boss loses his father and decides to close down the shop. She bounces from temp job to temp job never really finding the contentment that she had at her old job.
William Traynor is a shell of a man. Hallowed out by a horrible accident, he’s bitter, resentful, and is chalk full of sarcasm.
The interaction between the two is hilarious. I especially appreciated the fact that neither character changes overnight. Both slowly face the things they’ve been running from in the process become better people. All this growth comes to head when Louisa discovers the horrible secret behind her hiring. Can she live with the weight of it? Can she really make the difference that the Traynor’s think she can?
My Take On It
When I watched the trailer I posted on Facebook that I had to read the book and was informed by some of my friends that I would be in tears by the end. To be fair, they were wrong. I was in tears three chapters before then.
In Louisa I saw a young woman who had gotten trapped under the weight of routine, how no longer believed in her own potential, and had grown accustomed to being an afterthought in her relationships. She was hurting in several areas of her life and said nothing about it. Keeping everything inside of an eclectically dressed facade (facade might be harsh since she really hadn’t thought about her areas of brokenness in a long time).
Will is bitter. He hates his life. He was a man used to activity. Used to conquering the world. He can’t handle not being that man anymore and as a result he makes everyone around him miserable.He’s trapped inside of his own body and feels like half the man he used to be, perhaps less than that. I’m torn between the ideas that he either holds his feelings inside until he meets Louisa because he thinks no one will truly listen or he already knows that people won’t truly listen. He’s used to people thinking and planning around him and for him as if he’s not there. In Louisa he has finally found someone he will hit back with an equally snarky comment and will give him room when he needs it. She knows him. Something I think everyone longs for…
I loved this book. Towards the end of the book Jojo Moyes says she wants to take readers to places they haven’t been, explore places in their minds they’ve been, never dreamed of going. She, in my opinion, definitely accomplishes this mission. She really takes you to a place where you consider everything. Is Will wrong for wanting what he wants? Is Louisa selfish for wanting what she wants? Moyes takes us into the world of someone who is quadriplegic. Into their possible routines, the self-help groups, the emotions of those who are, and their caregivers.
I’m not big on crying. It gives me a horrible headache. By the end of the book I had a migraine the size of Niagara. I was emotionally drained but I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind because I was genuinely moved. I grew so attached to the characters that the fact that something could happen to one of them genuinely broke my heart. That said, the character development of Louisa filled me with…rapture. Honestly, I was so proud of Louisa. She faces some of her deepest secrets and realizes she’s more than she thought.
Some books take you to another place, some make you want more for yourself, and some hold a mirror up to your face forcing you to examine yourself. This book does all of the above and then some. Read it. You won’t regret it.
**P.S. This book should come with a complimentary box of Kleenex. Seriously. That’s my two cents.