Will Traynor is thirty five years old. In his pre-accident life, he was on top of the world. He was handsome, wealthy, well traveled, and had a high powered career. Everything was snatched from him in an instant and he's deeply angry and miserable. His life is a series of urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, pain in limbs he can't even use anymore, and the humiliation of being unable to take care of his bathroom needs or even to feed himself. He doesn't want to continue living, and just prior to Louisa coming to work for him he used his very limited use of his hands to try to commit suicide in a horrific way. His family is desperate to see that that doesn't happen again, so Louisa is in effect a babysitter for him while his medical team takes care of his physical needs. Will has extracted a terrible promise from his family: 6 months for them to try to convince him to live, and if they can't, he wants to be allowed to end his life. Louisa doesn't know this; she only knows that she feels forced to accept a job where her charge seems to hate and resent her, and which she feels terribly unqualified for.
Will (in his previous life) and Louisa could hardly be more different. They argue regularly, and although Louisa feels sorry for him, she finds his cold, angry attitude very hard to take at first. But very gradually, a sort of respect begins to grow between them and a friendship begins to blossom. Then, to her horror, Louisa overhears Will's parents talking about his plan to commit suicide in six months. From that point on, she makes it her mission to make Will's life worth living and to change his mind.
This book was simply amazing. It's definitely not a traditional romance novel as I feared when I first heard about it. It's funny, tragic, wise, and very thought-provoking. What makes a life worth living? That's the question at the heart of Me Before You.