Sorry guys, I’m writing this because several people have asked me to read this book/recommended it to me. I just want to *politely decline* and say thanks, but I just can’t.
Let me explain.
I’ve had a few friends give me a complete, detailed synopsis in their own words after my original hesitation with this book (after reading reviews.)
I have no doubt that the story is emotional and beautiful up to a certain point. I’m glad it has affected some of you in such positive ways. Yes, I’m going against everything I normally say and judging this book without reading it – but please understand that this is not meant to trash this book but to show you why I (and several of my friends) just can’t personally deal with it. Also please note that I have read several excerpts, quotes, pages and reviews in addition to what my friends have told me. I hope you can understand the reason for this.
Firstly, I was made aware of several quotes where Will is talking about the life he can’t have because of his disability – and how in the end, he chooses medically induced suicide because he is defined by his disability.
“The thing is, I get that this could be a good life. I get that with you around, perhaps it could even be a very good life. But its not my life. It’s nothing like the life I want. Not even close. I loved my life, Clark. Really loved it. I loved my job, my travels, the things I was. I loved being a physical person. I liked riding my motorbike, hurling myself off buildings. I liked crushing people in business deals. I liked having sex. Lots of sex. I led a big life. I am not designed to exist in this thing – and yet for all intents and purposes it’s now the thing that defines me. It is the only thing that defines me.”
Now before anyone jumps down my throat and try to defend this, I get why the author shows this emotional struggle -and I understand that several people realistically feel this way and it is just a point of view.
Let me tell you all a little something personal. No, I can’t compare to someone who doesn’t have physical use of their limbs/etc. I’m not a quad. I am not comparing myself with them at all. But I have my own battle. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease this past year- along with a slew of other health issues. I can’t live the life I would normally want. I can’t go out with friends, travel… work out…take care of my home, and do most of the things I love. As I’m writing this, I am on disability from work (from my dream job as an Art Director- with a company that I have endless love for) because I’m too sick to show up every day on site. Most days I have trouble breathing and eating basic foods without being very sick afterwards. I don’t know if I’ll get better (though I do have faith). But I’m at peace with what is happening to me. I’m not writing this for pity or to complain at all. Additionally, I have dear friends and family members who suffer their own types of limitations and disabilities- far worse than mine. I just want to say that life is more than this. I have so much to give even if I can’t do physical things that most people can. So does everyone else with any type of limiting condition. We are not our condition- we are not our disabilities. Life is so much more than being able to live out our own desires. Our lives are worth something, and I’m thankful to be alive despite being “unable to live my life to the fullest”. Living a full life is not just about being able to do certain things. Its the impact we can have on others, the love we can still share. Yes, my viewpoint is fueled by my faith in God, but regardless – I think it stands as a universal truth. Life is so precious, and everyone has something to give.
Here is a quote from Stefani Shae and I think it speaks volumes.
“Illness and disability do not disqualify anyone from being able to live a full, rewarding life” #MeBeforeAbleism
So the idea of this story just breaks my heart- the devaluation of life if you can’t live it by his “full” standards.
Sure, I understand that there are some cases that I can’t even begin to imagine – that make life extremely difficult. I can’t even begin to talk about terminally ill cases nor will I judge them. No, I can’t relate to being a quadriplegic. I’m not going to judge everyone’s case.. but Will’s in particular just upsets me because of the way it is handled. Here’s an article that explains why better than I can: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-sau…
Yes, I get that he inspired Lou for the better. I’m not addressing that. I’m not trying to argue that this book doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. I’m just disturbed by some of the things said in this book.
Again, please don’t walk away from this review thinking that I’m judging every bit of this book– but please understand the effect that some of the things said in this book have on people who are sick or limited in life in any way. I’m not the only one that feels this way- several disability rights activists are in quite a rage over it too. Sure, I think some beautiful people with disabilities will be able to handle this. I just can’t.