Postechian's Pick: Me Before You
Postechian's Pick: Me Before You
  • Reporter Kim Yu-jin
  • 승인 2023.06.15 08:45
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▲Me Before You (2012)
Me Before You (2012)

  Living a life, being able to see, feel, and change something is a blessing. But for some people, this is not the case. The book, Me Before You, gave me the opportunity to view life from another perspective, and it was a shock to me when I read it for the first time. This is the first book that I re-read, not because the content was too hard to understand but because I was not able to empathize with the character’s actions. 

  Having lost her job, Louisa becomes Will’s caretaker. Will was a successful businessman, traveling far and beyond, trying out the most extreme sports. It was not before he was hit by a motorcycle that he became disabled. It is not easy for Lou at first, due to the bitterness Will has over being paralyzed below the neck. Over time, Lou’s liveliness breaks Will’s resentment and the two grow closer to each other. 
  As Will slowly warms up to her, Lou accidentally overhears the reason why she was hired. After Will’s suicide attempt, Will made a promise that he would not take his own life only if his parents let him go through with assisted suicide after 6 months. Lou was hired to watch over Will. Lou is shaken, but she plans to let Will realize that life is worth living, even in a wheelchair. She takes him on many different outings, where they face the limitations of being disabled and at the same time grow expectations for another tomorrow. 
  Just before the time limit ran out, Will and Lou go to Mauritius. Here, Lou confesses her love to Will, but Will decides to go through with his decision. Devastated, Lou does not speak to Will for the rest of the trip and comes home. When the time comes, Will asks Lou to stay by his side while he closes his eyes for the last time, and Lou decides to go. They say their goodbyes, and Will asks Lou to ‘live well’. At the end of the book, Lou finds her life, without family, money, or anything dragging her down. Free, just like Will wanted her to be.

  I have read this book three times and the more I read, the more I become closer to understanding Will’s decision. The first time I read the book, the ending of the book was a shock to me as a typical novel tend to end in a happily-ever-after. Will found love with Lou, but why would he just give up on even the smallest possibility of a happy life without even trying? Will’s “You only get one life, it’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.” almost seemed like a typo. 
  The second time I read the book, I began to see through Will’s perspective. I started to see the limitations Will would have felt in his everyday life with Lou. I understood that because he loved Lou, he couldn’t bring himself to shackle her life to his. Reading the book while knowing the end was an entirely different experience. 
  The third time I read the book, it suddenly came to me; the main reason for Will’s decision is not related to love. It is a romance novel, but his reason is more than that. His life before the start of the novel was the reason for his decision. And after comparing Will’s last few months to his life before the accident, I finally empathized with his decision. 
  There are heated discussions going on worldwide about whether assisted suicide should be legalized. After reading this book, I came to wonder if the people against the legalization have ever been in someone like Will’s shoes. Life is precious, but is it just because someone is simply breathing, or because that someone feels both happiness and sorrow? When you realize that the latter is the reason, you will come to see well-dying in another perspective.