A few years ago, Jojo Moyes, the writer of the novel, heard about the case of Daniel James, a young rugby player who was paralysed and persuaded his parents to let him go to Dignitas in Switzerland. She was horrified by this case initially – what mother could do that? – but the more she reads about it she realized that these issues are not black and white. Who is to say what your quality of life should mean? How do you face living a life that is so far from what you had chosen? What do you do as a parent if your child is really determined to die? And living as a quadriplegic is not just a matter of sitting in a chair – it’s a constant battle against pain and infection, as well as the mental challenges. So these issues refused to go away.
His life is a constant round of humiliations and frustrations. Can you really put yourself in his shoes? Do you know how it feels to not even be able to empty your bowels without help? To know that forever after you are going to be stuck in your bed/unable to eat, dress, communicate with the outside world without someone to help you? To never have sex again? To face the prospect of sores, and ill health and even ventilators?
They SCIs know that very little is under our control – who feeds them,dresses them, washes them, dictates their medication. Living with that knowledge is very hard.
Will is a quadriplegic, he is 35 years; he was injured in a road accident almost two years ago. He requires twenty-four-hour care, the majority of which is provided by a trained nurse.
He also needs a carer to be with him throughout the day to keep him company, help him with food and drink, generally provide an extra pair of hands, and make sure that he comes to no harm.
His life is complicated, and it is important that he is encouraged to.
Let’s just say that his mental welfare is as important to us as his physical welfare.
Will gets really, really scared of how this is going to go.
This isn’t much of a life, Clark. But when I think about how much worse it could get – some nights I lie in my bed and I can’t actually breathe.’
He swallowed. ‘And you know what?
‘You, Clark,’ he looked down at his hands, ‘are the only person I have felt able to talk to since I ended up in this bloody thing.’
Louisa Clark is twenty-six years old and she isn’t really sure what she was and what she is. She comes from an ordinary family, her father has problems with his work, her mother is a lovely housewife and her sister has had a son without being married. She goes to university to improve her life. With them there is their grandfather who has some health problems.
She has just lost her job and she has found this job as career for Will.
Before to lose her job in a cafeteria she supposed she would have probably married her ex boyfriend Patrick, knock out a few kids, lived a few streets away from where she had always lived. Apart from an exotic taste in clothes, and the fact that she was a bit short, there was not a lot separating her from anyone you might pass in the street. You probably wouldn’t look at her twice. An ordinary girl, leading an ordinary life. It actually suited her fine.
But knowledge is power, Clark, Will always said. Louisa hated this at first; it felt like she was at school, being quizzed on her powers of memory. But after a while she realized that, in Will’s eyes, there were no wrong answers. He actually liked her to argue with him. He asked her what she thought of things in the newspapers, disagreed with her about characters in books. He seemed to hold opinions on almost everything ; she had begun to anticipate him and n read a newspaper on the bus on the way in, just so she felt prepared.
‘You’re twenty-six years old, Clark. You should be out there, claiming the world as your own, getting in trouble in bars, showing off your strange wardrobe to dodgy men … ’
‘You cut yourself off from all sorts of experiences because you tell yourself you are “not that sort of person”.’
‘That’s why you piss me off, Clark. Because I see all this talent, all this … ’ He shrugged. ‘This energy and brightness, and potential. ‘I’m telling you there’s a whole world out there.
A whole world out there, Will knows it very well.
But he also knows most people think living like him is about the worst thing that could happen. But it could get worse. He could end up not being able to breathe by himself, not being able to talk. He could get circulatory problems that mean his limbs have to be amputated. He could be hospitalized indefinitely.
He had already had pneumonia three times.
Nobody wants to hear that stuff. Nobody wants him to talk about being afraid, or in pain, or being scared of dying through some stupid, random infection. Nobody wants to know how it feels to know he will never have sex again, never eat food you’ve made with your own hands again, never hold your own child. Nobody wants to know that sometimes
he feels so claustrophobic, being in this chair, he just wants to scream like a madman at the thought of spending another day in it.
His mother was hanging on by a thread and couldn't forgive him for still loving his father. His sister resented him for the fact that yet again he had overshadowed her – and because his injuries mean she couldn’t properly hate him, like she had since they were children.
His father just wanted it all to go away. Ultimately, they wanted to look on the bright side. They needed him to look on the bright side.
They needed to believe there is a bright side.
And hid bright side is Louisa and Will is the bright side of hers.
They sat there in silence, letting his words sink in. Louisa Clark could have stayed there all night, above the rest of the world, the warmth of Will’s hand in hers, feeling the worst of her slowly begin to ebb away.
Together they watched films, especially foreign ones with subtitles that Louisa had never watched, they listened to classical music. He knew an awful lot about it.
They went to a classical musical concert , the first classical musical concert for Louisa and there she felt the music like a physical thing;
It was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard. And it made her imagination do unexpected things; she wanted to sit there forever. She hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted.
‘Just wait a minute, Clark.’
‘I’m fine. I just … ’
‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about … ’ He swallowed.
‘I just … want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’
I released the door handle.
I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.
Some days she thought Will was happier – he went out with her without a fuss, he teased her, prodded her mentally, seemed a little more engaged with the world outside the annexe – but what did shereally know?
With Will she sensed a vast internal hinterland, a world he wouldn’t give her even a glimpse of.
And she said anything to him, but she was afraid for him. Going to the wedding of an ex seemed a masochistic act, to watch her marry his former friend seemed to me a sure-fire route to depression.
‘If I’m not worried about it, Clark, I don’t think you should be,’ he said.
She was stunned by Will’s reaction to the whole day. She had thought she was going to get Taciturn Will, Sarcastic Will. At the very least, Silent Will. But he had been charming to everybody.
And she felt simultaneously acutely self-conscious and mildly hysterical.
I didn’t give him any choice. I sat down carefully on Will’s lap, draped my arms around his neck to hold myself in place. He looked into my eyes for a minute, as if working out whether he could refuse me. Then, astonishingly, Will wheeled us out on to the dance floor, and began moving in small circles under the sparkling lights of the mirrorballs.
‘Come on, Clark. Don’t let me down now.’
‘Sometimes, Clark, you are pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning.’
‘Then let’s go somewhere.’ The words were out almost before I knew what I wanted to say.
‘Okay,’ he said.
Here Louisa began to feel a rare happiness at the simple pleasures of existing here –Slowly the past few months began to slip away. To her shame, she hardly thought of Patrick at all.
Will was different. This place seemed to have granted him a peace that had been missing the whole time she had known him.
She thought she might never go home. Here Will and she were safe, locked in their little paradise. Every time she thought about heading back to England, a great claw of fear gripped her stomach and began to tighten its hold.
For the first time in her life she tried not to think about the future. She tried to just be,
She let herself get drunk that last night It was the first time she had felt truly that Will was well and that she could let go.
‘You’re glad you came, right?’ I said, tentatively.
He nodded. ‘Oh yes.’
And then, as someone turned the music up by the bar, I kicked off my shoes and I began to dance
‘You … ’ he said.
‘What?’ My smile was mischievous. I felt fluid, electrified. I barely felt responsible for myself.
He shook his head.
‘You . … ’
‘You … are something else, Clark.’
I did the only thing I could think of. I leant forward, and I placed my lips on his ...
He hesitated, just for a moment, and then he kissed me. And just for a moment I forgot everything – the million and one reasons I shouldn’t, my fears, the reason we were here. .
‘I can’t.‘It’s not enough for me. This – my world – even with you in it. And believe me, Clark, my whole life has changed for the better since you came. But it’s not enough for me. It’s not the life I want.’
Because Louisa didn't know know him, not really. She never saw him before that thing. He loved his life, really loved it. He loved his job, his travels, the things he was. He loved being a physical person. He liked riding his motorbike, hurling himself off buildings. He liked crushing people in business deals. He liked having sex. Lots of sex.
‘I am not designed to exist in this thing – and yet for all intents and purposes it is now the thing that defines me. It is the only thing that defines me.’
So Louisa told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other. And she told him of the adventures they had, the places they had gone, and the things she had seen that she had never expected to. She conjured for him electric skies and iridescent seas and evenings full of laughter and silly jokes. She drew a world for him, a world in which he was still somehow the person he had wanted to be. She drew the world he had created for her, full of wonder and possibility. She lets him know a hurt had been mended in a way that he couldn’t have known, and for that alone there would always be a piece of her indebted to him. And as she spoke she knew these would be the most important words she would ever say and that it was important that they were the right words, that they were not propaganda, an attempt to change his mind, but respectful of what Will had said and aboe all to let him know that he as beloved, oh he was beloved.
男主角因意外傷殘, 不能接受自己終身得依靠別人照顧, 打算半年後安樂死. 女主角受聘去用心打動他活下去, 安排活動讓他覺得生活有意義, 可是最後即使兩人相愛也未能挽回結局. 是因為太愛而不想負累, 還是自私地想把最美好保留?
「我們只能有一種回應, 我可以說得很清楚, 因為我每天都在看。那就是活下去。妳全心投入每一件事情, 不要去擔心瘀青。」
「沒有人在向前邁進的時候不會回頭望, 永遠帶著已經失去的包袱。我們這個小團體的目標是要確保大家帶著回憶的時候不是覺得扛著不可承受的負擔、不會被重量壓在原地。我們希望把生命的經歷當成人生的禮物… 難過也沒關係、失落也沒關係、憤怒也沒關係。我們有很多感受, 其他人不一定能懂, 那都沒關係, 就算持續很久也沒關係。每個人都有自己的旅程, 我們不會妄加評判。」...Continua
This book deals with an argument (the reason I liked it better than others) we all try to avoid unless we find ourselves thrown in it. Somethink we should all think about.
It's a bit predictable but nicely written.
ho iniziato a leggere questo libro credendo fosse il solito libro romantico con quale staccare il cervello e rilassarsi, magari dovevo leggere la trama prima e scoprire che in realtà è un libro che tratta un argomento drammatico.
Comunque superata la sorpresa iniziale mi ha appassionato, e pur immaginando che il finale sarebbe stato un "non lieto fine" mi ha stupito, perché è proprio il peggior finale che ci potesse essere.
Ovviamente ho pianto e mi ha fatto venire una grande ansia, anche perché è davvero difficile non affezionarsi al personaggio candido e dolce di Lou (a posteriori forse anche un po' troppo).
Nel complesso è un bel libro, però sono in disaccordo con chi dice che fa pensare e riflettere e invece sono d'accordo con chi dice che, per stare a soffrire immedesimandosi nei personaggi, forse è meglio leggere qualcos'altro visto che la vita da già abbastanza sofferenze.
Dietro all'apparente banalità della trama (si innamorano e bla bla bla), ci sono anche tanti temi iteressanti. Eutanasia, violenza sulle donne e la necessità di superare i propri limiti per crescere.
Mi è piaciuto.