It took me precisely four months since I bought the book to totally drop it yesterday. I was reading it on and off, partly because I’m a multi-reader who rarely sticks to one book at a time. But the main reason I gave it up was that the book itself was a fucking big fat commercial failure.
Louisa Clark, a twenty-six-year-old white trash who is the breadwinner of a seven-member family lost her job at a cafeteria and was struggling to find a new decent one amid the economic recession. After a few failed attempts, she is offered a unique employment as a caregiver for the once-active, handsome and rich Will Traynor despite her clumsiness and lack of experience. Louisa and Will have nothing in common. She’s unambitious, risk-averse and leads a mediocre life while Will remains an elated, versatile spirit of an adventurer inside his exterior of a cynical quadriplegic. They started off rough but eventually fall in love with each other due to full accompany.
The first few chapters of the book were okay. Jojo Moyes’ language is witty and well-written. Problem lies in the protagonists, Louisa and Will. The movie employed exuberant advertising, people were talking about it like a fucking romance blockbuster, making me expect an inventive plot or heartbreaking quotes from the characters. But as I was reading it everything gradually unveiled itself to be worse than average, the book basically was a cliche with a storyline as old as the earth.
Most reviews from film critics and my friends praise the sustained efforts Louisa made to assist Will in retrieving his life and how Will helped free Louisa emotionally. They even dissected elements initially hindering Louisa’s later groundbreaking transformation into someone Will always preached her to become. Overall, the magic of meeting the one who is capable of changing you in a way you’ve never imagined is the underlying theme of this movie.
Sounds beautiful, but this book made it look like a one-sided business of Will whose selfishness blinded respect and forced others to live the way he wanted them to. Ironically, that exact same selfishness killed his morale in life and made Will a hypocrite. Louisa was depicted to be outshone by her sister and has class-related insecurity problem. She endured an unhappy relationship with her fitness-obsessed boyfriend and was easily shaken by Will’s theories of the world outside her constrained life. So Will imposed his narcissistic values disguised in the ‘live boldly’ motto on susceptible Louisa. That’s the similar thing this book shares with Chinese cheesy novels: an average, fragile female whose faith got uplifted (whether she wants it or not) by a charming, successful man.
My interest got thinner and thinner as the book drew closer to the end…