Reviewed by Debs Carr
Lou Clark and Will Traynor couldn’t be more different. Lou still lives with her parents, her single mum sister, nephew and granddad on a council estate. She's happy in the small town where she’s spent her entire life and believes that exercise is what happens when she watches her long-term boyfriend Patrick training for a marathon. Will is the opposite. He was a high achiever, extremely athletic and travelled extensively. Everything Will once enjoyed, including his high maintenance girlfriend, is no longer a part of his existence since a life-changing motorbike accident. When Lou is made redundant she only accepts the job as Will’s companion because she can’t find anything else and is desperate for the money. She has no idea how to deal with the morose, rude man she’s been employed to look after during the day and he resents the badly dressed, chatty girl his mother has taken on in a transparent attempt to bring some cheer into his life.
I loved the contrast of Lou's loud, occasionally dippy personality as opposed to Will's closed off emotional state brought about by the frustration of losing everything that was important to him and having to cope with constant mental and physical torment. I couldn't help feeling sorry for Lou's awkwardness as she tries to find a way to get Will to accept her presence in his structured life. She is determined and well intended, but not all her efforts are successful. It's easy to imagine Will's resentment towards his interfering mother and Lou's good intentions as he faces a lifestyle so opposite to the one he'd always expected to enjoy.
I don’t want to give away too much of this incredible book. I literally read it in one sitting, from 10.30am to 5.30pm one day. I opened the book and ended up ignoring family, telephone and everything else I should have been doing until I finished reading it. I laughed (loudly), cried (sobbed) and still can’t get Will or Lou out of my head a week later. I can imagine this story being made into an excellent film.
An evocative story that will make you laugh, cry, but ultimately keep you transfixed from beginning to end.
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