Me Before You

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Will is the second main character of the novel. In the midst of his high-stakes, thrill-seeking life as a financier, Will suffers a traffic accident that leaves him paralyzed in a wheelchair. Will has given up on ever living a fulfilling life again and wants his parents, Camilla and Steven Traynor, to allow him to go through with assisted suicide. Camilla hires Louisa Clark to try and convince Will that there are still good experiences available for him. Will keeps up a sarcastic and difficult demeanor, but it’s later revealed that this hides a heart of gold. Though Will and Louisa fall in love, Will can’t change his mind about the life he wants to lead. He leaves Lou with the funds to live up to her potential.

Will Traynor Quotes in Me Before You

The Me Before You quotes below are all either spoken by Will Traynor or refer to Will Traynor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of Me Before You published in 2016.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“You were just looking at my photographs. Wondering how awful it must be to live like that and then turn into a cripple.”

Related Characters: Will Traynor (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark
Page Number: 42-43
Explanation and Analysis:

The first day that Lou starts to work for Will, she finds the many photographs in Will’s room that display the amazing life he once had. Will, looking handsome and well-off surrounded by his upper class friends, has pictures of himself skiing, bungee-jumping, and generally living the life that most people only dream of. Will catches Lou looking at these photos and displays his bitterness at everything he lost after the accident that left him in a wheelchair. Will expects everyone to pity him, an attitude about his physical situation that damages his mental health. Will struggles with the physical limitations of his new life, but the constant awareness of everything he can no longer do is far more painful. Aside from the constant threat of sickness that might limit Will’s life even more, Will’s depression over the loss the life he used to have is what actually convinces Will that this life is not worth living.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

“I know what you’re thinking,” she said, after a pause. “But I did try. I really tried. For months. And he just pushed me away… You know, you can only actually help someone who wants to be helped,” she said.

Related Characters: Alicia Dewar (Lissa) (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark, Will Traynor
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

Alicia Dewar, Will’s girlfriend when he suffered his accident, comes to visit Will with the news that she is getting married to Will’s former best friend. As Alicia leaves this tense meeting, she runs into Louisa in the hall and admits that she knows that Lou is judging her for choosing to leave Will behind. Though Lou is somewhat justified in her anger at the way that Alicia handled her break up with Will, Alicia is also correct that there is only so much anyone could have done for Will at that time in his life. Will was completely shattered by the accident, both mentally and physically, in ways that love alone would never have been able to fix. Ultimately, it is up to Will to decide if he wants to live and if he wants to be happy. Moyes consistently asserts that Will himself is in control of his life, and Will has the right to choose for himself what he wants his life to be. All of Alicia’s, and later Lou’s, efforts to convince Will that life is still worth living will only help Will as much as he wants to be helped. Alicia recognizes this, and chooses not to sacrifice her own happiness in the pursuit of forcing Will to be happy.

I could well imagine Will pushing her away. But surely if you loved someone it was your job to stick with him? To help him through the depression? In sickness and in health, and all that?

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Alicia Dewar (Lissa)
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

After Alicia, Will’s ex-girlfriend, visits Will with the news that she is going to marry Will’s former best friend, Lou reflects on what it means to love someone else. Lou sees the failed relationship between Alicia and Will as a sad sign that Alicia did not try hard enough to help Will in the wake of his accident. Moyes considers how much someone should sacrifice for the people they love. Will, given his sarcastic demeanor and dark sense of humor, was most likely horrible to Alicia because of his pain. Alicia deserves to be happy just as much as Will does, and should not necessarily have sacrificed her own happiness in order to be Will’s punching bag. Lou believes that true love also requires true sacrifice, but she will have to consider these questions again when she falls in love with Will and has to decide if that love means that she should force Will to live or if she has to respect Will’s own decisions for his life.

Chapter 6 Quotes

“I have never found a pair of tights I loved like that again. They don’t do them anymore. Or if they do, they don’t make them for grown women.”
“Strange, that,”
“Oh, you can mock. Didn’t you ever love anything that much?”

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker)
Related Symbols: Lou’s Bumblebee Tights
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

In one of Will and Lou’s quiet days together, Lou confesses that her favorite thing was a pair of bumblebee striped tights that she had as a three-year-old. Lou outgrew these tights, metaphorically having to give up this thing that she loved in order to grow up. As a grown woman, Lou laments that she can no longer have a pair of tights that she loves as much, because Lou believes that part of being an adult is letting go of things that made her happy. Will gently teases the tights, but he very much agrees with the sentiment behind them. Lou needs to find the things that she is passionate about, even if they are as silly as bright clothing, in order to live a satisfied life. No matter the difficulty in finding or achieving these ambitions, Lou’s life is incomplete without them, and without a pair of bumblebee tights.

Chapter 7 Quotes

“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…”
“I’m happy here,” I said.
“Well, you shouldn’t be.”

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker)
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

As Will gets to know Lou more, he starts to encourage Lou to do more with her life than stay in their small hometown. While Will calls Lou’s wardrobe strange, he still wants Lou to show it off rather than hiding her quirks. Will wants Lou to think of more ambitions for her life rather than staying “happy” and safe. Lou may be content, but Will sees that Lou is not truly happy here. Yet Will does not yet know the whole story. Lou was actually sexually assaulted, which caused her to retreat from anything adventurous in order to protect herself from getting hurt again. Will’s reference to dodgy men may seem like a joke to him, but the threat of strange men is actually the reason that Louisa is not out in the world. Yet Will may be exactly the push that Lou needs in order to see that she is not actually happy here, and that she needs to explore more in order to find a fulfilling life.

Chapter 11 Quotes

“If you’d bothered to ask me, Clark, if you’d bothered to consult me just once about this so-called fun outing of ours, I could have told you. I hate horses, and horse racing. Always have. But you didn’t bother to ask me. You decided what you thought you’d like me to do, and you went ahead and did it. You did what everyone else does. You decided for me.”

Related Characters: Will Traynor (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

Lou decides that she is going to show Will all the amazing experiences he can still have living in a wheelchair, and she pushes Will to go to a horse race as the first step in this new life of adventure. Will suffers through the day, suffering many indignities at being a disabled man in a world that is not built to accommodate him, then finally explodes at Lou when they get home. Aside from Lou’s mistakes about wheelchair logistics and Will’s discomfort in public, Will actually hates horses and horse races. Lou’s zest for showing Will how wonderful his life can be ignored the fact that this is still Will’s life. Will has to have a hand in the choices and decisions that face him every day. The biggest struggle of Will’s life post-accident is that everyone assumes that his physical handicaps make him incapable of making any decisions for himself. Making decisions for himself is what makes life worth living for Will. If Lou truly wants to convince Will to keep living, she has to start giving Will back some control over his life.

Chapter 12 Quotes

“I just… want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just a few minutes more.” …
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.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker)
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

In another one of Lou’s attempts to get Will out of the house and enjoying life, Lou and Will go to a classical music concert where one of Will’s friends is playing Mozart’s violin concerto. After the concert, Will asks Lou to delay the moment where they have to go back inside the house and end this magical moment. Will and Lou are not dating, but the scene plays like a classic romance novel. Down to the castle and the moonlight, everything about the moment echoes the conventional love story that Will and Lou are specifically not living. Will wants to live the illusion of the perfect love story because he knows his life is very far from the traditional romance. Moyes seems to point out that this dream love story is beautiful, but that Will and Lou’s connection is actually more meaningful because it does not strip away the complicated history and circumstances of the two love interests. Will is more than just a normal man, and Lou is more than just a normal girl in a red dress. Though that “more” includes pain, it also gives significance to the love that Will and Lou share that might not fit into the conventional romance novel.

Chapter 13 Quotes

…Granddad was picking at his plate with greedy delight, letting out what we called his “food noises” – little grunts and murmurs of pleasure.
“Delicious salmon,” Will said to my mother. “Really lovely flavor.”

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker), Granddad
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

Will comes to dinner at Lou’s house for her birthday and meets her family, including Lou’s grandfather who has suffered a stroke and no longer speaks. Still, Granddad clearly enjoys his life, expressing his pleasure at the small things, like good food. Will also enjoys the food, but limits his expression of that pleasure to a far more polite form. Will’s mental fitness is untouched by his accident, where Granddad no longer has the mental ability that he once had. Yet Granddad’s compromised mental acuity actually keeps him from realizing the new boundaries of his life, while Will struggles with depression at the thought of everything that he can no longer do after his injury. Granddad can enjoy the small delights of life without worrying about how much better things might have been before his stroke. Though Will is potentially better equipped to handle life, Granddad is actually happier because he focuses on each present moment instead of thinking about his previous mental health. Moyes defines mental health as a matter of happiness rather than a matter of intelligence, unfortunately for Will and Will’s mental fitness.

I ran out of the room and pulled on a pair in the hallway. I pointed a toe, admiring the silliness of them. I don’t think a present had ever made me so happy in my life.
I walked back in. Will let out a small cheer. Granddad banged his hands on the table. Mum and Dad burst out laughing. Patrick just stared.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Patrick, Granddad
Related Symbols: Lou’s Bumblebee Tights
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

At Lou’s 27th birthday party, Will gives Lou a pair of bumblebee striped tights. Lou had previously told Will about a pair of yellow and black striped tights that she absolutely loved as a child, wearing them every day even though no one else understood why Lou found them so wonderful. Will goes to great lengths to give Lou a new pair of these tights, understanding that the tights are really a way for Lou to express what she actually wants out of life. Will constantly pushes Lou to achieve more in her life, but these tights affirm that Will wants Lou to do things that truly make her happy. Lou’s parents and Patrick do not fully support Lou’s ambitions, thinking that the tights are strange rather than a way for Lou to express her personality. Lou can no longer ignore what she wants in favor of doing things that make sense to her family and her boyfriend Patrick. Will loves Lou so much that he wants her to have the things that make her happy. With Will’s help, Lou will fill her future with the things she has a passion for – even if those things are as odd as bumblebee striped tights.

Now he was just Will – maddening, mercurial, clever, funny Will – who patronized me and liked to play Professor Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle. His body was just a part of the whole package, a thing to be dealt with, at intervals, before we got back to the talking. It had become, I supposed, the least interesting part of him.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:

As Lou becomes comfortable with Will and spends long hours in his company, Lou slowly begins to see the real Will beyond a man in a wheelchair. Will’s wit, intelligence, and darkly funny personality match with Lou’s own. Together, Will acts out Professor Henry Higgins, a character from the movie My Fair Lady, who tries to teach the lower class Eliza Doolittle to be a high society lady and falls in love with her in the process. Though Lou and Will do not yet recognize their romantic feelings for each other, Lou very much identifies with the way that Will broadens her horizons and introduces her to cultured experiences that she never would have had on her own. Will is often on the more powerful side of their relationship, though the common assumption about handicapped people would make Will unable to take care of himself or teach anyone else. Will’s mental fitness far outweighs any physical disabilities that he may have. Lou realizes that Will as a person is far more interesting than Will’s disability.

Chapter 17 Quotes

I thought of my parents, my sister with her big new life. Mine was to be the small life, my ambitions the petty ones. I glanced over at the maze, at its dark, dense box hedging. I was being ridiculous. Perhaps I had been behaving ridiculously for years. It was all over, after all. And I was moving on.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Katrina (Treena) Clark
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:

Before meeting Will, Louisa had assumed that she was not meant to do great things, the way that her sister Katrina seemed destined to achieve an amazing life. This feeling was cemented by the sexual assault that Lou suffered in the maze at the castle above the village where Lou lives. This trauma, which occurred in a location that symbolizes the many choices and paths that Lou might have taken in her life, convinces Lou that making adventurous decisions invites pain and struggle. Lou’s fear keeps her stuck living with her parents in the tiny town where she was born, metaphorically never entering the “maze” and never making choices that carry both potential risk and potential happiness. Will brings Lou back to the maze, suggesting that she go in, and Lou finally takes the opportunity to confront her fears. With Will’s support, Lou can enter the dark maze and move forward into a better future. Lou takes back agency in her own life and goes into the maze ready to make the necessary choices to make it through and emerge on the other side with new ambitions.

“Ultimately, they want to look on the bright side. They need me to look on the bright side… 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.”

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker)
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:

After Will’s accident leaves him wheelchair-bound, the bonds and sacrifices of a family come into sharp focus. While Will’s family sacrifices for Will in order to give him the best care available, Will also makes sacrifices for his family in order to keep their spirits up. Will has to repress some of his natural feelings of anger and hopelessness for the good of his family, remaining outwardly optimistic even when he desperately wants to share his fears and receive support. Will’s wheelchair physically isolates him from many of his old friends and loved ones because of the logistics of handicap-accessible movement, but he is also emotionally isolated from his family because he can’t share the deep lows of his injury as well as the hope for a better future. Lou, free from the complex push and pull of familial love, is able to offer Will a place to be honest about his feelings, no matter how painful they are. That vulnerability and honesty is a big part of the relationship that Will and Lou build. Their love comes from their ability to share the darkest parts of their experiences with each other.

“Some mistakes… just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that night be the thing that defines you.”
I felt his head still pressed against mine.
“You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.”

Related Characters: Will Traynor (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

After Will learns about the sexual assault that Lou has kept secret for six years, Will offers Lou the chance to move past this traumatic event. Lou has chosen safe, boring paths for her life for fear that anything more adventurous will open her up to the danger and pain that she experienced that night. Will recognizes the real consequences of that trauma on Lou’s emotional and mental health, but also tells her that she has the ability to make more out of her life than staying stuck in the past. Will sees Lou as so much more than a victim or a survivor, instead focusing on Lou’s tremendous potential to overcome hurt and tragedy. Will also emphasizes Lou’s choice in her own life, a central tenant of Moyes’ outlook in the novel. Moyes celebrates the ambition and achievement that her characters are capable of. Each of Moyes’ characters has the choice and agency to overcome their difficulties as long as they are able to have the mental strength and willpower to continually fight the circumstances of their lives. This may somewhat simplify the obstacles that these characters face (as well as the lasting trauma of sexual assault), but it is also a powerful message of hope in the face of adversity.

Chapter 18 Quotes

I wanted to tell him that he was too good for that silly caramel woman, no matter what appearances might suggest, and that… I didn’t know what else I wanted to say. I just wanted to make it better. “You okay?” I said, as I caught up. The bottom line was, it should have been him.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Alicia Dewar (Lissa)
Page Number: 284
Explanation and Analysis:

At Alicia’s wedding, Lou comes to terms with the fact that Alicia is the type of woman that Will probably would have married if he had never had his accident. Will dated Alicia before the injury that landed him in a wheelchair, and is shaken when Alicia marries Will’s former best friend. Lou recognizes that it’s sad that Will lost out on this opportunity, but also remembers that Will is actually worth much more than the traditional marriage to a well-bred, beautiful woman. This safe, conventional love story may be the epitome of a perfect life for most people, but Lou wants bigger things for Will. Will’s ambition, drive, and charm should get him more than the “appearance” of a perfect life. Lou loves Will on a more genuine level, seeing all the things that Will could be rather than the expected happy ending for a man of his wealth and social class. True fulfillment and happiness for Will would come from more than the life that should have been his, or the things that he once thought would make him happy. While Lou is sad that she can’t make him realize this, there is also a hope that Will can discover on his own a better purpose for his life than money, adventure, and marriage.

“Louisa is one of the smartest people I know, but I can’t make her see her own possibilities.”
Mary Rawlinson gave him a sharp look. “Don’t patronize her, dear. She’s quite capable of answering for herself.” I blinked. “I rather think that you of all people should know that,” she added.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker), Mary Rawlinson (speaker)
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

At the wedding of Will’s ex-girlfriend, Will introduces Lou to an old friend of his, Mary Rawlinson. Mary now runs an organization that helps people retrain for new careers, and offers to help Lou find a new ambition in life. Will is adamant that Lou should find something bigger to do with her life than stay in the small town she has always lived in, but Mary wants to hear from Lou herself what Lou wants to do. Though Will hates when people speak for him or take away his choices because of his wheelchair, he here makes the mistake of trying to talk for Lou. Mary calls him out on this hypocrisy, reminding Will that one of his biggest struggles is that people assume that his physical limitations make him incapable of making his own decisions. If Will truly wants Lou to live up to her potential, he has to let her make those choices and goals for herself. Though Lou may have incredible potential, Will has to let her set her own ambitions, or those achievements will mean nothing.

Chapter 20 Quotes

“Well, this is actual life or death, after all, and you’re locked into this man’s life every day, locked into his weird secret. That’s got to create a kind of false intimacy. Either that or you’re getting some weird Florence Nightingale complex.”

Related Characters: Katrina (Treena) Clark (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark, Will Traynor
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:

Lou finally admits to Treena that she has feelings for Will, her quadriplegic employer, that are far more powerful than her feelings for Patrick, her boyfriend of six years. Treena supports her sister, but also brings up important questions for a relationship between Will and Lou. As Treena points out, Lou’s job as Will’s caretaker has caused Lou to be much closer to Will, both physically and emotionally, than she would normally be with someone she just met. Lou also has to be careful that her responsibilities as Will’s caretaker, acting as Will’s “Florence Nightingale” (a famous nurse), do not get in the way of Lou’s emotional needs. Lou’s feelings for Will are naturally more powerful because there is the potential that she could lose Will, something that Lou has never been afraid of in her relationship with Patrick. Moyes explores the codependency that might arise in such a close working relationship. Lou does spend eight hours a day, five days a week with Will, but Lou is also more honest with Will than she has been with anyone in her life. Treena interprets this closeness as a false intimacy, but Treena’s skepticism forces Lou to confront the real emotions behind her connection with Will.

Chapter 21 Quotes

I knew it, and Camilla knew it. Even if neither of us would admit it to ourselves. Only on my son’s death would I be free to live the life of my choosing.

Related Characters: Steven Traynor (speaker), Will Traynor, Camilla Traynor
Page Number: 327
Explanation and Analysis:

Steven and Camilla, Will’s parents, have had to sacrifice many of their dreams and ambitions in the wake of Will’s accident. Though Camilla and Steven love their son dearly, and willingly put their lives on hold in order to care for Will, Steven still recognizes the things that he has had to give up due to Will’s current situation. Steven and Camilla are bonded in a loveless marriage in order to provide a support system for Will, even though Camilla is well aware of Steven’s affairs and Steven’s mistress Della wishes that Steven would leave his family in order to be with her. Though it is too monstrous for Steven to say out loud, he cannot ignore the fact that his life would be less limited if he did not have his son to worry about. Steven even admits that a stronger man would not remain with Camilla out of obligation.

Moyes examines the bonds of family, and questions what family should sacrifice for each other. Many of the other characters, such as Lou and Lou’s mother Josie, sacrifice just as much for their families without even seeing the things that they themselves are giving up. Moyes suggests both that Steven should be free to live as he wants but that it is also wrong of him to resent the sacrifices that he is making for Will. There is no easy answer for Steven, as he wants his son to live a fulfilling life just as much as he wants to remove some of the obstacles keeping him from his own happiness.

Chapter 23 Quotes

I know this isn’t a conventional love story. I know there are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t even be saying what I am. But I love you. I do. I knew it even when I left Patrick. And I think you might even love me a little bit.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Patrick
Page Number: 359
Explanation and Analysis:

While on the beach in Mauritius, Lou finally gathers the courage to tell Will how she feels about him. Moyes uses this moment to emphasize the fact that this book as a whole is not the traditional romance novel. Will is not the idealized romantic hero and Lou is not the perfect romantic heroine. Furthermore, their love will not be the ultimate solution to all of their problems. Love is a powerful force in the novel, but it is not able to immediately fix all the things that Lou and Will are struggling with – including Will’s paralysis, Lou’s recent breakup, the class differences between Will and Lou, and Lou’s job as Will’s caretaker. Moyes recognizes this fact without diminishing the significance of what Lou feels and the gravity of Lou’s confession. Even if love cannot cover up all the difficulties of their relationship, Lou still needs to be honest with Will. Theirs is not a conventional love story, where the happy ending comes as soon as the characters realize how they feel about each other. It is a realistic love story, where love can help the characters do wonderful things without becoming the only thing that matters in life.

“Well, you don’t have to let that… that chair define you.”
“But it does define me, Clark. You don’t know me, not really. You never saw me before this thing. I loved my life, Clark. Really loved it… I led a big life.” His voice had lifted now. “I am not designed to exist in this thing – and yet for all intents and purposes it is now the thing that defines me.”

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor (speaker)
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

Lou confesses her love to Will as a final effort to convince Will that he still has reasons to live despite his physical limitations. Will returns Lou’s love, but asserts that it is not enough to overcome his wheelchair-bound life. Will defines himself through his paralysis, reducing his health and well-being to just the physical aspects. Will’s physical limitations, keeping him from the bold, ambitious life that Will always thought he would have, damage his mental health. Will’s depression over all the things he can no longer do prevent him from seeing the possibilities that are still open to him. Lou is open to improving Will’s mental and emotional health to balance out the physical disabilities that Will struggles with, but Will can only focus on the physical fitness that he will never achieve (in a way, echoing Patrick’s single-minded obsession with physical fitness). While Lou tries desperately to give Will a chance to make a new life in his wheelchair that is just as fulfilling as his able-bodied life, Will prioritizes his lack of “normal” physical health above any other definition of a healthy, satisfying life.

Chapter 25 Quotes

I couldn’t imagine crying over anyone I’d been with. The only equivalent was if I thought about Thomas waiting to die in some strange country, and as soon as that thought came to mind it made something inside me actually flip over, it was so hideous. So I stuck that in the back of my mental filing cabinet too, under the drawer labeled: unthinkable.

Related Characters: Katrina (Treena) Clark (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark, Will Traynor, Thomas Clark
Page Number: 383
Explanation and Analysis:

When Lou comes back heartbroken from the trip to Mauritius, Katrina doesn’t fully understand how deeply Lou feels for Will because she has never had a romantic attachment that significant. Katrina compares Lou’s feelings for Will to her own feelings for her son, Thomas. Moyes equates familial love and romantic love, holding up each as extremely powerful. Katrina’s comparison here, then, adds more weight to Lou’s feelings for Will. Lou’s love for Will is as strong as the bond between a mother and her child, one of the most incredible bonds between people. Lou and Will have more than a passing attraction—they have a true, deep love that changes each of them for the better.

Chapter 26 Quotes

Mum? I owe Will. I owe it to him to go. Who do you think got me to apply to college? Who do you think encouraged me to make something of myself, to travel places, to have ambitions? Who changed the way I think about everything? About myself even? Will did. I’ve done more, lived more, in the last six months than in the last twenty-seven years of my life.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Josie Clark (Lou’s Mom)
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:

When Lou finds out that Will has asked her to come to Switzerland to see him one last time before he ends his life, Lou finally admits to her parents why she has to drop everything and rush to see Will. Josie doesn’t understand how Lou could possibly support this choice for Will, comparing it to murder. Lou sees it differently, feeling as though she owes Will support for his choices in exchange for all the things that Will has pushed Lou to do.

Before Will, Lou had no ambitions for her life, choosing instead to remain safe in her hometown after a traumatic experience convinces her that she will be hurt if she follows her dreams. Will helps Lou come to terms with her past and move forward with her life. Will even allows Lou to see herself as someone extraordinary instead of the average failure that Lou previously considered herself. Will also gives Lou a new goal. In trying to convince Will to see the best in life, Lou also finds new motivation to improve her own life.

It’s not my choice. It’s not the choice of most of us on this board. I love my life, even if I wish it was different…If he is determined, if he really can’t see a way of things being better for him, then I guess the best thing you can do is just be there. You don’t have to think he’s right. But you do have to be there.

Related Characters: Ritchie (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark, Will Traynor
Page Number: 395
Explanation and Analysis:

Lou goes on the online forums for quadriplegics one last time before she visits Will in the Dignitas Clinic where he is planning to end his life. Ritchie gives her advice about supporting Will through this decision. Through Ritchie and the other contributors to the board, Moyes points out that Will’s choice to end his life is not the normal course of action for most people living their lives disabled in some way. Will’s choice to end his life is related more to the loss of choice and ambition he feels now that he is in a wheelchair, rather than the conditions of living in a wheelchair alone.

Ritchie also observes that part of loving someone is supporting their choices, even when they are not the choices that Lou necessarily agrees with. If Lou truly loves Will, she has to sacrifice her efforts to change Will’s mind and be at peace with Will’s choice for his own life. Lou cannot live for Will or force Will to live for her. What she can do is be with Will and support him through one of the most difficult moments of his life.

Epilogue Quotes

Push yourself. Don’t settle. Wear those stripey legs with pride… you are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your bad jokes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt… Don’t think of me too often. I don’t want to think of you getting all maudlin. Just live well. Just live.

Related Characters: Will Traynor (speaker), Louisa (Lou) Clark
Related Symbols: Lou’s Bumblebee Tights
Page Number: 409
Explanation and Analysis:

After Will’s death, he leaves a letter for Lou to read once she has gone to Paris like she promised Will she would. In the letter, Will tells Lou how much he loves her, but also asks her to live well to honor his memory. It may seem odd to have a character who chose to end his life offer such life-affirming advice, but Will’s message “Just live” gets at the heart of the novel. Moyes explores what makes Will’s life worth living. Will’s purpose in life was to live as boldly and ambitiously as he could, something that he found impossible once he was in a wheelchair. Though Will loved Lou dearly, and appreciated all her efforts to give him back a life of adventure, these exterior motivations were not enough to restore Will’s intrinsic love of life.

Will’s mission is then to help Lou see all the potential that she has to live grandly. Will recalls the striped tights that Lou loved so much as a child as a way of telling her to follow her heart in all her choices going forward, no matter what anyone else says.

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Will Traynor Character Timeline in Me Before You

The timeline below shows where the character Will Traynor appears in Me Before You. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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2007. Will Traynor comes out of the shower to find his girlfriend, Lissa (Alicia), still in bed.... (full context)
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With little difficulty, Will manages to stop thinking about how sexy Lissa looked in bed and focuses on the... (full context)
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As Will leaves his apartment building, his best friend and co-worker, Rupert, calls about a deal from... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...make tea in the kitchen or help with small chores, but emphasizes that her son, Will, can only be left alone for 15 minutes at a time. Camilla gives a despairing... (full context)
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Camilla takes Lou in to meet Will and Will’s personal nurse, Nathan. Will is a solidly built man with shaggy unkempt hair.... (full context)
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Nathan turns the radio on for Will and takes Lou back to the kitchen to the medicine cabinet. Lou is overwhelmed by... (full context)
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Lou offers to make Will a cup of tea, but Will snottily refuses, and then ignores her. Lou goes to... (full context)
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...can find and hurries out of the house when Nathan appears to take care of Will’s after-lunch medical needs. Lou sits at the castle bus stop and calls her sister to... (full context)
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...so selfish, but she swallows her feelings and assures Treena that she will tough out Will’s moods for the paycheck. (full context)
Chapter 4
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...first two weeks, Lou goes in to work at Granta House and stays out of Will’s way as much as possible. She feels awkward when forced into close proximity with Will,... (full context)
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Lou wants to have sympathy for Will, knowing that he is in constant pain and that he has a very isolated, limited... (full context)
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Camilla comes in one morning to let Lou know that Will has friends over, Rupert and Alicia. Lou offers to make them coffee and brings a... (full context)
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As Lou comes back into the house, Lou overhears Rupert and Alicia tell Will that they are planning to get married. Will silently looks at them with contempt as... (full context)
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Lou goes back to check on Will only to find that Will has smashed all of his old pictures in their frames.... (full context)
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...Patrick about the events at Granta House today, and Patrick laments the awful life that Will must have. Patrick can’t imagine life without the active pleasures he enjoys, and he changes... (full context)
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The next morning, Lou comes in to the house to find Will in a worse mood then ever. She gets the broken picture frames out and tries... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Lou has been caring for Will for a month, and her parents love the inside peek she provides to the Traynor’s... (full context)
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...stand the way that Camilla micromanages her every move. Yet finally, Lou has a breakthrough. Will catches Lou trying to sneak vegetables into his meal, but he jokes about it instead... (full context)
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Will asks Lou to keep him company while he watches a DVD in the afternoon. Lou... (full context)
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On Friday, Lou drives Will to a doctor’s appointment. She is happy to get out of the house, but quickly... (full context)
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While Will meets with the doctors, Lou and Nathan wait outside. Lou asks if the doctors are... (full context)
Chapter 6
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A huge snowstorm hits and Lou arrives at Will’s house only to find that Nathan has been unable to get there. Steven asks Lou... (full context)
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The snow continues and Lou continues to worry about Will’s labored sleep until Nathan appears at the door. Nathan is aghast at Will’s state, admonishing... (full context)
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Nathan leaves and Lou grabs a book from Will’s bookshelf so she can read at Will’s bedside. She relishes the rare moment of silence.... (full context)
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Will finally wakes up at 8:15, looking much better and sounding more lucid. Lou takes advantage... (full context)
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Will laughs at Lou’s singing, then asks her to tell him something else. Lou tells Will... (full context)
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Camilla wakes Lou the next morning, annoyed that Lou stayed in Will’s room instead of the spare room. She is further disturbed to find out that Will... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...he is too tired from training to even talk to her. As she walks to Will’s house, she thinks of how she and Patrick first met: Lou was working at a... (full context)
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Lou gets to work and Camilla orders her to take Will outside so she can do some spring cleaning. In the garden, Will asks Lou what... (full context)
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Will seems a tad melancholy about Alicia, but quickly tells Lou that he is happy for... (full context)
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Will has good days and bad days, considering that his paralyzed limbs still put him in... (full context)
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Lou interrupts Will’s advice to say that Will shouldn’t be giving such high and mighty advice when he... (full context)
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Lou puts on a DVD while she cuts Will’s hair. As she finishes, a young woman bursts into the annex and shrieks at Will... (full context)
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...Lou returns from lunch, Nathan is in the kitchen. Lou explains about the uproar with Will’s sister, but Nathan seems more interested in complimenting Will’s haircut. Lou goes back to Will... (full context)
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Georgina is sobbing as Camilla tells her that Will truly has no hope that he will ever get better. Lou gets uncomfortable listening in,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...life. It is there for her in good times and bad, always growing. Yet after Will’s accident, Camilla didn’t touch her garden for a year. It was only once they brought... (full context)
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...her room, and Steven blames her bad mood on jet-lag. Steven then optimistically brings up Will’s haircut, but Camilla tells him not to get his hopes up, because she knows her... (full context)
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Camilla remembers when Will first told her how he wanted to end his life. She pretended not to understand... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Lou doesn’t sleep the night after she finds out Will’s plan. She is angry at Camilla for being so cold, now understanding that Camilla’s distance... (full context)
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Yet the next day, Will is in amazingly high spirits. He asks Lou to finish his haircut, but Lou can’t... (full context)
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...raise Thomas. Still, Lou is adamant that she cannot tell her family the truth about Will. (full context)
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...wants her to remain on suicide watch, but Camilla assures her that she thinks that Will is going to change his mind. Lou walks into her house, leaving Camilla on the... (full context)
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...the door to her tiny room. Lou starts to cry on her bed, thinking of Will, and Treena comes in to apologize. Cracking under the pressure, Lou tells Treena the real... (full context)
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...to brains, but realizes that she will always love Treena for her calm acceptance of Will’s end of life plan. Treena tells Lou to finally put the Traynors’ money to good... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Lou presents her grand “cheer up Will with adventures” plan to the Traynor family. They are surprised, but supportive, Steven more than... (full context)
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...Patrick to reach the end of his latest triathlon. They discuss Lou’s potential plans for Will. Lou brings up horse racing, but Treena encourages her to try more “cultural” events. Treena... (full context)
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On Lou’s next Saturday off, she goes to the library to research trips for Will. She is nervous to be at the library again and using a computer for the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...and Lou enjoys the exotic breath they bring to her quiet life. She cheerfully greets Will, excited for their outing to the horse race at a close by arena. Nathan is... (full context)
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...reach the parking lot of the racing grounds. The wet grass is too soft for Will’s wheelchair and Nathan has to essentially carry Will and his chair to the entrance, only... (full context)
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...starts and Lou excitedly cheers her horse on, but Man Oh Man comes in sixth. Will looks pained so they decide to go have lunch. Will blanches at the thought of... (full context)
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Despite Will’s protests, Lou tries to buy the right badges for the Premiere restaurant, but the hostess... (full context)
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As Lou and Nathan try to wheel Will across the parking lot, his chair gets stuck in the mud. Despite her reluctance to... (full context)
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Back home, Will stays in a stony mood. When Lou asks him if anything is wrong, he responds... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Back in the present, Lou tells Will that she’s joined the library, and Will encourages her to read more Flannery O’Connor instead... (full context)
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The night of the concert, Lou triple checks the accommodations for Will’s chair and agrees to take over Will’s bedtime care, as Nathan will be busy by... (full context)
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At the concert hall, Lou notes the different ways that upper class people react to Will. Rather than staring, the high class concert goers pointedly ignore Will and his chair. Will... (full context)
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The concert begins and both Will and Lou are transported by the beauty of the Mozart. Lou’s mind ranges across all... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...spend it. Her free time is spent at the library, looking for new opportunities for Will. Lou finds a computer program that will allow Will to type by speaking, after Will... (full context)
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...Lou begins to move her things to Treena’s bigger room. She redecorates and puts her Will calendar prominently on the wall. At work, she continues to broaden Will’s radius every day... (full context)
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Josie immediately starts cleaning the whole house once she hears that Will is coming to dinner. Lou assures Josie that everything will be fine, and Nathan drops... (full context)
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Lou is suddenly self-conscious of her family’s cramped, cluttered house as Will sits at the table. Josie fusses over the roast in the kitchen, worried that it... (full context)
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...all the changes that have occurred in Lou’s life since she began to work for Will’s family. The dinner gets off to a beautiful start, and Lou even misses Treena and... (full context)
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The rest of the dinner passes without incident, as Will tells Bernard about his old job buying and selling companies and Josie coos at having... (full context)
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Will leaves as Bernard thanks him for employing Lou and Josie sends him off with leftover... (full context)
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...where Patrick asks about the bed baths. Lou responds that it is perfectly proper, as Will keeps his pants on, but Patrick is still unnerved. Lou doesn’t even see it as... (full context)
Chapter 14
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In May, Lou suddenly notices a wealth of news about assisted suicide cases. Will makes no mention of this, happily going on more excursions with Lou, but Lou knows... (full context)
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The next Friday, Will receives an invitation to Rupert and Alicia’s wedding. He acts indifferent, but Lou decides to... (full context)
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...Josie can help with Thomas. Lou fills her in on how well the dinner with Will went, once their parents realized that Will was really just a normal guy. At dinner,... (full context)
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At lunch the next day, Lou asks Will what was the best place he ever visited. He names many exotic locales, both natural... (full context)
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...next weekend, Lou comes downstairs at night worrying about how she can get through to Will. She finds her parents sleeping on the couch so that Treena and Thomas can have... (full context)
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Lou now has 79 days to change Will’s mind, and Camilla calls Lou in to talk about Will’s current state. She carefully probes... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Will asks what Lou plans to do tonight once she gets home from work. Lou makes... (full context)
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Lou still works on Will’s adventure calendar every chance she gets. She is rapidly running out of feasible ideas and... (full context)
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Two days later, Will gets an infection that lands him in the hospital. Lou gets some days off while... (full context)
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...helpful, while others are not. One even questions why Lou feels the need to change Will’s mind for him at all. The suggestions continue, but the one that sticks in Lou’s... (full context)
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On Thursday, Lou picks Will up from the hospital. He is exhausted from the lack of sleep, and Lou’s planned... (full context)
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...tattoo parlor, Lou leaves happily with a tattoo of a little bee on her hip. Will had seemed relaxed and happy in the shop, as the tattoo artists were used to... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...Patrick’s apartment and the knowledge that she won’t actually by going to Norway with Patrick. Will starts to notice how tired Lou is at work and offers to let her sleep... (full context)
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Will mentions that Lou saw his dad, Steven, in town with another woman and probes to... (full context)
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...castle the Traynors care for. Lou’s parents are very happy, but Lou feels uncomfortable about Will doing her family this favor. She calls Will to voice her concerns, but Will tells... (full context)
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...job for the Traynors suspicious and is even more annoyed when he finds out that Will offered Lou his spare room. Patrick tells Lou to officially move in with him, though... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Lou reflects on the emotional struggle of being a caregiver, unable to escape Will’s bad moods or her own. After Lou tells Will that she is moving in with... (full context)
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...to Patrick’s flat. Her bright clothes leave the closet half empty. Patrick comments on the Will activities calendar that Lou hangs on the wall, but Lou just tells him that she... (full context)
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Lou knows she is bad at keeping secrets and her anxiety over Will’s end of life plan worsens as the deadline draws closer. With seven weeks to go,... (full context)
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...the Dandelion Lady will be happy here. When Camilla arrives, Lou shares the news about Will drawing up a will. Camilla tells Lou to arrange any trip she can think of... (full context)
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...talk about it, telling Lou not to make things complicated. Lou finds solace in cleaning Will’s annex from top to bottom instead of engaging with any of her problems. Will draws... (full context)
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As Lou and Will walk around the castle grounds, Will reminisces about his childhood playing knight on the wall... (full context)
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...of the boys from the bar touching and kissing her and starts to scream for Will. Will comes to find Lou and comforts her until she can breathe again. Will then... (full context)
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Once safely out of the maze, Will asks Lou why she panicked. When Lou can’t answer, Will shares his own secret fear... (full context)
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Will takes in Lou’s story and tells her that no part of that night was her... (full context)
Chapter 18
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As Lou hangs up on yet another travel agent who suggests that she take Will to Disney World, Will comes in and tells Lou that he is taking her to... (full context)
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Will’s parents see them off, warning Lou not to let Will get too drunk. Lou and... (full context)
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The reception begins and Lou goes to get refreshments for Will. The bartender offers Pimm’s (what she thinks is just a lemonade drink), and Lou accepts,... (full context)
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...the Pimm’s actually had wine in it. Lou is horrified that she is drunk, but Will seems pleased to relax and enjoy the day tipsy. Will is more charming than Lou... (full context)
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Will introduces Lou to Mary Rawlinson and the older woman is far nicer than Lou expects... (full context)
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Lou tries desperately to sober up so that she can drive Will home, but chocolate and coffee only make her feel jittery as well as drunk. Will... (full context)
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After Alicia moves on, Lou convinces Will to take her on the floor for a slow dance. She sits on his lap... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Nathan, now narrating, recounts the day after the wedding. When Louisa and Will arrive home, Camilla is furious that they didn’t inform her that they would be staying... (full context)
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Nathan shakes off thoughts of Will and Louisa’s relationship to care for Will’s physical needs. Will’s catheter desperately needs to be... (full context)
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Louisa returns at lunchtime and Nathan mischievously refuses to let Will and Lou watch a Miyasaki film alone. After the movie is over, Louisa asks Nathan... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Patrick that she won’t be going to Norway to watch the Xtreme Viking Triathlon because Will needs company on a trip. Patrick is angry that Lou won’t support him and accuses... (full context)
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...after the wedding, Lou asked on the online forums for advice on where to take Will for a holiday. She gets 89 responses, including some from Ritchie, and is bolstered by... (full context)
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Treena and Lou get a drink at the pub, and Treena approves Lou’s holiday for Will. Lou then finally goes back to Patrick’s flat to find that Patrick has attempted to... (full context)
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...night comes to a screeching halt when Patrick notices Lou’s folder of holiday plans for Will. Patrick calls the trip a honeymoon, and asks if there is something that Lou hasn’t... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Steven, now narrating, tells how Louisa moved in to Will’s spare room that weekend. Steven runs in to Louisa one Saturday morning and is pleasantly... (full context)
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The next Monday, Louisa shows Will, Camilla, and Steven the plans she has made for Will’s grand adventure in California. Steven... (full context)
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Steven goes for a drink with his mistress, Della, and tells her all about Will’s holiday. Steven knows that Della would rather he leave Will behind and divorce Camilla, but... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...emergency ward and finds Nathan. Nathan tells her that this isn’t the first time that Will has had pneumonia, and it probably won’t be his last. Lou goes in to see... (full context)
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Nathan leaves the hospital ward and Lou waits for another hour outside Will’s room. Camilla finally comes out of Will’s room and asks Lou to stay with Will... (full context)
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Camilla returns and Lou goes back to waiting outside Will’s room. Camilla comes out around 4 pm to tell Louisa that Will is awake. Lou... (full context)
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Lou goes back to Will’s house to get Will more clothing, and she runs into Steven, who tells Lou that... (full context)
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...Lou is, and Lou admits that she knows that the Traynors hired her to convince Will not to commit suicide. Nathan also knows about Will’s end of life plan, but has... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Ten days after Will is released from the hospital, Steven drops Will, Lou, and Nathan off at Gatwick airport.... (full context)
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On the twelve-hour flight, Lou realizes that Will is no different from anyone else stuck in an airline seat. The three friends watch... (full context)
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After three days, Will begins to look really better. The sun tans his hospital-pale skin and his appetite returns.... (full context)
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Lou, Will and Nathan’s days at the resort take on a pattern of good food, sunbathing, watching... (full context)
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...trip, Lou offers to let Nathan bring Karen to their hotel overnight. This means that Will and Lou have to share a room. Lou plans to sleep on the sofa, but... (full context)
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...Lou relaxes enough to get drunk, then goes on a walk along the beach with Will. Lou gets Will to admit that he is glad they came on this holiday, then... (full context)
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After a minute, Will pulls away from Lou. He can’t be with her, he says, because it reminds him... (full context)
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Lou asks Will if he has changed his mind about Switzerland. After a painful pause, Will answers no.... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Lou adamantly refuses to speak to or help Will on the flight back to England, much to the shock of the other passengers. Nathan... (full context)
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Camilla and Steven are waiting at the arrivals gate for Will, Nathan, and Lou, ready to take them to a fancy dinner and hear all about... (full context)
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...Lou as she leaves the airport and Lou can no longer hide the news that Will did not change his mind about going to Dignitas. Camilla faints and Steven rushes over... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...Treena then goes in to Lou’s room to talk to Lou, and finds out that Will did not reconsider his end of life plan. Treena crawls in bed with her sister,... (full context)
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...eyes off the Traynor’s house down the street. Treena tells Lou to go talk to Will, but Lou says there is no point. Treena then tells Lou that Lou received a... (full context)
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...tears and tells her family the whole story of what she has been through with Will. Bernard assures Lou that she did everything she possibly could for Will, while Josie criticizes... (full context)
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The thirteenth of August arrives, the day of Will’s Dignitas appointment. Treena tries to convince Lou to come out of the house, but Lou... (full context)
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...doorbell rings, and Lou jumps up to answer it on the off-chance that it is Will. However, it is a reporter from the Globe who wants Louisa’s side of the very... (full context)
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...to call Camilla back. Lou has a short, tense conversation with Camilla. It turns out, Will is still alive and Camilla has booked Lou the last flight out that day to... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...in front of the door. Josie refuses to let Lou have anything to do with Will’s choice at Dignitas, arguing that caring for Granddad has taught her that all life is... (full context)
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...has nothing but sympathy for Lou, though he himself would never make the choice that Will is making, and reminds Lou that their friendship will continue even after Lou no longer... (full context)
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The Dignitas clinic looks like an ordinary house, and Will looks like he is staying at a bed and breakfast when Lou makes it into... (full context)
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Will thanks Lou for finally accepting the only thing he has control over in his life.... (full context)
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Will asks Lou to look up at him and she struggles to regain her composure. When... (full context)
Chapter 27
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A legal briefing regarding William John Traynor details Will’s medical condition as a C5-6 quadriplegic, and Will’s painstaking documentation of... (full context)
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Camilla and Steven split up after Will’s death, and Camilla resigns from her job as a magistrate. Though the Public Prosecution does... (full context)
Epilogue
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September 29. Lou follows instructions that Will left for her in his will. This leads her to a small café in Paris,... (full context)
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Lou then opens the last letter from Will. It tells her exactly how to spend her afternoon in Paris, and then outlines the... (full context)
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...her emotional news. Lou declines, pays her bill, and sets off to enjoy Paris as Will meant her to. (full context)