Smiling Clare

Living Life Within the Limits of Chronic Illness

Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: Me Before You

I’ve recently read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes for the second time, having bought the film on dvd to watch and see how it compares.

The first time I read this book I borrowed it from my Aunt, and in all honesty I didn’t want to give it back to her as I knew I’d want to read it again. And so I eventually bought myself a copy.

It’s about how the paths of two people cross, Lou and Will, and how that changes both of them. Lou is a bright, bubbly character, who knows a lot of things but not what she wants to do with her life. Will’s life as he knew it was destroyed by a motorcycle accident and he now has no desire to keep living. It is a heartrendering, magical story about love, which occurs no matter what.

I absolutely loved reading this book the first time, and again the second time. For me there is so much I can relate to in the book; in Lou, not knowing what she wants to do with her life, and in Will, having to rely on people to do the simplest of tasks.

The book reminds me how grateful I should be for the small bits of independence I am able to grasp on to, and possibly regain in the future. It shows the importance of friendship, love, learning and letting go. It is a beautiful book and I can’t wait to read the second Lou Clark novel ‘After You’, as well as see if, and how they managed to convert this wonderful book into a film. In my experience the film versions don’t tend to do the books justice, but maybe they might manage it one day!

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Book Review: The Little Cafe in Copenhagen

I recently bought ‘The Little Cafe in Copenhagen’ by Julie Caplin as a little treat to myself, and let’s be honest, to make up an online order to qualify for free delivery, because who doesn’t do that occasionally right?!

I was drawn to it by the front cover:

Front Cover of The Little Cafe in Copenhagen

And then by the blurb on the back of the cover (Am I the only person who always tries to view the back cover/blurb of a book even online?). The book itself is about a publicist named Kate who’s life is everything she thought she wanted, until her boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a promotion from her. Heartbroken, Kate escapes to Denmark, where she discovers a little cafe in Copenhagen and how to live life ‘the Danish way’.

I don’t think I could have chosen a better book, sure it sat on my bookshelf for a good few weeks waiting for me to be well enough to finish reading a book I’d had on the go for several months, but when the time came to choose a new book to read from the pile I have collected during months where reading has been too difficult, I couldn’t have picked a better one.

I got through this book in a little over a week; virtually unknown to me these days as I often struggle with holding the book, concentrating enough to follow the sentences, all the things that come with a chronic illness like M.E.

It is a brilliant story, which I hated putting down when I needed to rest; I couldn’t wait to pick it up and find out what happened next. It is such a happy story too. This book had me smiling and even laughing during a week where my physical pain was the worst it had ever been.

The story of Kate’s escape to Copenhagen, and discovery of the Danish way of living, including hygge is beautifully written and I absolutely loved it. I hadn’t previously heard of hygge but the book explains it well, within the story of Kate’s life.

‘The Little Cafe in Copenhagen’ got me through one of the roughest weeks of pain I’ve had and even though I only finished it a few weeks ago I am already looking forward to reading it again. It is going to be one of those books which sits on my bookshelf and is picked up to read again and again.

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Book Review: A New ME by Barry John Evans

This is the first time I’ve written a book review on this blog. In fact it’s the first book review I’ve written since school when it would be set as homework. But having read this book, I felt I had to review it and share it. It just had to be done. So here goes:

A New ME by Barry John Evans.

This book is written by a young ME sufferer and describes his experience with the illness; the years leading up to a diagnosis and the ways he’s found to cope in the first year. The adaptations he’s had to make to his life and the limits that have been placed on him due to ME.

I downloaded the book on my Kindle one afternoon, and began reading it in the evening expecting it to take me a good few days to read. But as soon as I started reading I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down. For the first time in months I sat and read a book for a few hours, cover to cover (can you say that if it’s on a Kindle?!) This just goes to show how well written the book is. At no point was I tempted to put it down, in fact I struggled to pull myself away from it to get a much needed drink, that’s how hooked I was.

As someone with ME I can relate to a lot of what is described in the book. The loss of friends and feeling it must be something about you that’s caused it; not knowing how to answer that innocent question of ‘How are you?’ that comes to be dreaded. Not only can I relate to it as a sufferer but the way in which the book is written, people without ME who read this book will gain an insight into what ME is and the things sufferers have to cope with; not only the symptoms of the illness itself but all the other things that come with it; adapting to the limits it imposes, the lack of understanding from the medical community, government agencies and society as a whole. This book gives a valuable insight into all that and more.

All in all this book is a fantastic read for anyone interested in reading about ME and the experiences of a sufferer. I can imagine the energy it must have taken to write and the symptoms that had to be fought in order to ensure the end piece was as well written as it is. For that the author deserves a massive well done and virtual pat on the back (I’m sure a real pat on the back would hurt too much). So Well Done Barry!

A New ME by Barry John Evans is available at:

If you want to read Barry’s book, it is available from Amazon in paperback or on Kindle via the following links:

United Kingdom 
 
Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-New-ME-Looking-future/dp/1499585497/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1403374862&sr=8-1

Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-ME-Barry-Evans-ebook/dp/B00L1LIT6E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403374862&sr=8-1&keywords=a+new+me

United States

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/A-New-ME-Looking-future/dp/1499585497/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1403375040&sr=8-6 

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/New-ME-Barry-Evans-ebook/dp/B00L1LIT6E/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-6&qid=1403375040

The book is also available in other countries too, just search the Amazon site for your country for ‘A New ME by Barry John Evans’

If my review isn’t enough to convince you, Barry has created his own video explaining about the book on YouTube which you can find here.

Plus 10% of the profits go to the ME charity Invest in ME

A final few words from me…

I can’t mention enough how much I enjoyed reading this book or how much I can relate to a lot of what is written. I’m proud to be able to call Barry my friend and wish him all the best in the future!

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