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My 2016 reading challenge stipulates that I am supposed to read “a book recommended by someone you just met.” At first I wondered, how am I going to get a person I just met to recommend a book to me? Then I realized that I work in a busy medical office, in which people are constantly recommending various books, TV shows, and movies to me. 

This book was recommended to me by a first-time patient’s wife, who was going around telling literally everybody in the office that they should read it. This woman was about ninety years old, but let me just say that she apparently as better taste in books than most people I’ve met. 

I was a little nervous at first about reading this book, because we all know that I have a problem with hyped books. If everybody in the universe is telling me how absolutely incredible a book is, I tend to think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read. It’s happened countless times and I hate it. But I went in anyway. For the sake of the reading challenge.

Surprisingly, I had no idea what this book was about when I started it. I’d managed to avoid every spoiler out there. I hadn’t even watched the movie trailer. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

From the start, I loved Lou and her quirky personality. I could relate to her struggle to find a job. I could relate to her feeling out of place among the wealthy people in her town. I could relate to her feeling that she was being harshly judged by her employer. She was a refreshing, imperfect, hilarious heroine.

And from the beginning, Will is cranky. He’s rude and insulting and mad at the world – and who can blame him, because this once active, once adventurous, once vibrant man is now stuck in a wheelchair after a traffic accident. I’m glad that Will wasn’t falsely cheerful. I’m glad that his character responded what I think must be accurately to his circumstances.

The thing about this book is that everything is very realistic. Lou’s feelings are realistic. Will’s feelings, I imagine, are exceptionally realistic. The actions and reactions and events of this book are at times frustrating, at times awful, but entirely realistic.

I really don’t want to say too much here, because I think that blind is the best way to go into this book. I had planned on reading only a few pages a night (I have very little free time at the moment) but ended up saying awake until after 2am to finish this book, tears streaming down my face.

Don’t be put off by the hype. I loved this book.

Final rating: ★★★★★

For my 2016 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #12: a book recommended by someone you just met.

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