Published by Peguin (Michael Joseph), 5 Jan 2012, 528 pages, £4.99
Plot: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
I saw this book in an office charity sale for NSPCC and thought I’d give it a whirl. I had seen a lot of praise for it from fellow bloggers. I knew there was a sequel hanging around and rumours of a movie in the making… So it sat on my desk as a TBR looking sweet and promising. One day this week my body was aching from screen stiffness so I took this book with me to the loungey part of the office and decided to read for a while. One hour later I couldn’t wait to leave and do my commute. Why should I look forward to a 1 hour and a half journey nicely playing sardines on the public transport system? Because I’d get to read more of this book. Yes, this book would make you look forward to that. Would make your days a little brighter. Would make you forget about your mundane troubles.
I love how Lou and Will are completely different- their class, culture, family, interests, desires. Their worlds collide in with the most compelling, uplifting, fascinating results. The story will make you laugh, cry and ache with heart-break. Will’s life was once full of luxury and activity. He had a high paid job and lived in London. He filled his free time with travelling and dating. Then an accident left him paralyzed from the chest down, unable to even eat without assistance. I mean, can you imagine the hideousness of this deal? The book does go into some dark areas about disability and society.
Anyway, when you strip all the action away, Will really doesn’t have anyone. His girlfriend and his friends all abandoned him. You could argue whether there was much meaning in his life before, if nothing is strong enough to survive? Enter Lou, who has never known much luxury or activity, has never ever left the small town they both grew up in. What a waste you must think. But we soon learn her own secrets for living in comfort.
I love the detail gone into creating the other characters- Will’s troubled upper classes parents and Lou’s boisterous working class family. The class thing is quite key in this book. The attitudes described could be shocking for other readers, but its such a British thing I completely understand. We do have some serious problems.. Will and Lou would not have crossed paths if it had not been for this accident, despite living so close to each other. As they are forced to get along, they start to teach each other about how to live, and what there is to live for.