So, by now, you’ve probably seen the movie trailer for the upcoming film Me Before You based on the book by Jojo Moyes. If you are anything like me (read– hopeless romantic), then your heart probably melted into a puddle as you gazed on the adorakableness that is Emilia Clark and blushed over the studliness of Sam Claflin. Perhaps you even thought to yourself, “I need to see this movie.” You make it through the whole trailer, give a happy sigh, and then groan when you see a release date of June 3rd. “I can’t wait that long!” you think to yourself. What will you do in the mean time? Perhaps, read the book it’s based off? Well, I’m here to crush your hopeless romantic dreams into the dust (Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but seriously).
No, it’s not a The Fault in Our Stars situation, nor is it a The Notebook sob story that teenage girls sit up at night crying over at a sleepover. In my humble opinion- this book just sucked. But let me back up a bit.
While the premise of this book was interesting, the actual execution fell flat for me. I mean, anyone with a heart of flesh (and not of stone) would have to be interested or at least curious after seeing the movie trailer, am I right? Let’s set the record straight- this is not a happy book. For those of you who really want to see this movie or read this book without being spoiled, stop here. However, when you are finished, perhaps you will come back and finish reading what I have to say.
This book tells the story of Will and his happy go lucky caretaker Lou. Long story short, he is a quadriplegic who is very depressed and gruff. Early in her caring for him, Lou finds out that Will plans to travel to Switzerland in 6 months. There, he plans to commit physician-assisted suicide. Upset and confused, Lou– who finds she is slowing falling for Will– decides to make his life a wonderful adventure so he will change his mind. Long story short, he doesn’t. While I don’t mind if there is a character death in a novel, character suicide is never easy for me to read, and it is not okay if it is presented in the same way as this book presents it. The main problem I had with this novel was the message. While Lou struggles with the notion that the man she loves, despite loving her back, has decided to end his own life and needs her support, she does end up going with him to Switzerland at the close of the book and holding his hand as he commits suicide through lethal injection. This story basically spun the web that if you love someone, you let them commit suicide, and you support their decision. That is a bunch of bologna. If you love someone, report their suicidal tendencies and get them help. Loving someone does not mean letting them throw their life away, regardless of it it’s “their decision”. As a Christian, I was very sickened by this whole situation. Is this where our society has come? Are we not only supporting the murder of innocent babies, but are we also buying into the lie that enabling and supporting suicide is real love? I refuse to believe that. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells me what true love–God’s love– really is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Bottom line: enabling suicide is not love.
Take this review as you wish. I do not claim to be the authority on life, nor do I claim that Christians are sinning if they see this movie. Quite the contrary. I do, however, want you to think critically about the media you are ingesting. What is the message, and how does it line up with God’s Word? My main reason for writing this review was to inform you on what I believe is an important issue. Suicide is never a laughing matter, and it is something that is too often avoided in Christian conversations. Seriously consider what the Bible has to say, and try to think of what aligns with a biblical worldview. I hope this didn’t sound too preachy, but I felt like this was something I needed to speak up about.
Finally, if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please have the courage to speak up and ask for help. One website I found that could be helpful is the following that offers free 24 hour anonymous chat: