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 he sees the headlines too. Lou finds him one morning reading an article about a former football player who committed assisted suicide. The story affects Lou so much that she goes to the library after her shift to look it up for herself.
The entire world seems to have an opinion on choices like Will’s, even though it should ostensibly be one person’s choice. Lou’s emotional struggle shows how the decision to commit assisted suicide (as with any death) affects so many more people than just the person who has decided to end their life.
Lou finds out that the young football player’s parents were vilified in the press for helping their son commit assisted suicide. The 24-year-old player had suffered an accident on the field that left him unable to move or breathe without help, much less play football. Cut off from his passion, the player begged for death and tried to starve himself until his parents agreed. Lou starts crying so hard she has to stop reading.
While ending his life may have been the right choice for the football player, unable to do any of the things he dreamed of doing and cut off from the one thing that gave his life meaning, it also ruined the life of his family. Will’s choice too will have consequences beyond Will’s own happiness.
The next day, Lou finds out that Bernard lost his job, something that they all saw coming but hoped would not happen. He tries to get another job, but the economy is even harder on a middle-aged man than it was on Lou. Lou tries to give her parents her birthday bonus, but they refuse.
Bernard struggles with the same sense of hopelessness that Lou felt when she lost her job. Bernard found purpose for his life in his work, and wants to be able to provide for his family.
The next Friday, Will receives an invitation to Rupert and Alicia’s wedding. He acts indifferent, but Lou decides to keep the invitation just in case. Will then gives Lou some books he ordered for her, including The Red Queen. Lou finds it surprisingly readable, though she disagrees with the subject matter. The book argues that women can’t help but choose the best biological match as their lover for the health of their children. Lou knows that Will sees himself as biologically worthless, but she asks what happens when the best biological match is also a jerk.
Will’s vision of love is tied to physical health, as he refers to Matt Ridley’s The Red Queen. This book outlines the ways that physical ability and sexual prowess provide an explanation for the biological and evolutionary aspects of human relationships. Yet Lou continues to advocate for the emotional and mental sides of human compatibility. Lou subtly suggests that Patrick, though physically perfect, may be the wrong match for her emotionally.
In mid-May, Treena and Thomas come home from university, both looking more mature. Treena decides that they will come back every weekend so that 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, Treena gracefully ducks any attempts that Josie makes to give her money to help out during the week at school. That night, Lou wakes up to hear Thomas crying in the tiny room that used to be hers. At four in the morning, Thomas creeps into Lou’s room, where he used to sleep with Treena, and falls asleep curled up against Lou.
Treena’s life on her own has helped her mature quickly. Treena balances caring for herself financially while still accepting the help and support of her family via Thomas’s childcare. When Thomas comes into Lou’s new room, Lou has to deal with the fact that asserting her own happiness by taking the larger room means asking her family to sacrifice for her—something she’s always tried to avoid.
At lunch the next day, Lou asks Will what was the best place he ever visited. He names many exotic locales, both natural and urban, until Lou asks where he hasn’t been instead. Lou then shares that she once planned to go to Australia, but never went. Will makes her promise to travel, and Lou asks where she should go. Will answers Paris, detailing how she should sit at a café and enjoy coffee and a croissant. Lou excitedly tells Will they can go now, but Will refuses. He wants to remember traveling Paris as a delight, rather than a logistics nightmare with his wheelchair. Trying to lighten the mood, Will suggests that they go to the maze, but Lou refuses.
Will’s life before his accident does not even seem real to Lou, stuck as she is in their small town by both her financial concerns and her own fears. Will wants to pass a small part of that life on to Lou, now that he can only look back on his experiences. Will has incredibly high standards for his life, and is unwilling to compromise for a lesser experience when he knows how amazing his life once was. Lou is still unwilling to confront her fears in the maze, even with Will’s help.
The 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 their bigger bed. They insist that they are fine, and that Lou needs her sleep most now that she is the only wage-earning member of the family.
Lou’s parents sacrifice their comfort for their daughter and grandson. Lou is uncomfortable with this, but understands that she cannot fix this problem for her family by giving up the space and privacy that she needs.
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 Lou on Will’s recent activities without ever asking a direct question. She does comment that Will seems much happier in Lou’s company than he has in anyone’s since the accident. In a rare moment of honesty, Camilla admits that she has always felt that Will was judging her fitness as a mother. Lou answers that she gets along well with her own mother, only fighting with her sister. Lou leaves Camilla with the assurance that she is doing her best.
As Will’s decision comes closer and closer, Lou and Camilla are drawn together by their desire to change Will’s mind and give him a reason to live. Though Camilla appears to have everything—money, the perfect family, the perfect job—in her desperation Camilla allows Lou to see some of the insecurities under the surface.
The football player who committed suicide did so in Switzerland, where assisted suicide is legal. His parents were cross-examined vigorously after the incident to check for any sign of wrong-doing. The parents maintain that this was the best choice for their son’s well-being. In an interview where the mother looks 20 years older than her actual age, the mother admits that her son finally looked like himself again once he was at peace.
The football player’s story parallels Will’s choice. While Moyes addresses the tragedy of assisted suicide, she also acknowledges why some people might feel that this is the only option they have left. Lou’s preoccupation with this story suggests that she is scared that Will too will only become himself again by choosing to end his life on his own terms.