Monday, May 2, 2016

The Literature of Caregiving: Me Before You


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Sound familiar? Yes, you’ve seen it on the bestseller list in the New York Times and your local paper. You’ll see (mostly women) reading it on the bus and subway, and at the movies you have seen the poster for the movie version coming this summer. Yes, it’s a chick flick and a romance novel, but what you may not know is…

“Me Before You” is a caregiver story. And while being a romance and yes, teary at times, it is a complex and powerful caregiver story. This novel shows the complicated layering of both family and professional caregiving.

A young woman takes a job out of necessity and becomes a professional companion to a relatively young man with quadriplegia. He is cared for in his parent’s family home and there is paid medical care, PT and other services. So we see a full surround of professional caregivers and how they interact with each other and with the family.

But despite comfortable means, and lots of help, caregiving is still a challenge because of the pain of illness and disability, and because of the human heart. Moyes shows us two people helping each other, and how hard it is to love fully and selflessly.

While readers will be caught up—and I was—in the engaging love story, we are also allowed to observe the very daily and hard, specific details of physical and emotional care demanded of the caregivers. 

This story will land in front of you soon—as book, CD or movie. Here is another full cast of caregivers making imperfect lives while loving and growing. This is the perfect book to introduce the “what if’s” of caregiving and long-term care planning to your family, friends or book club.

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The Literature of Caregiving is a monthly series at Love in the Time of Cancer. The first installment is December 8 2014--with "Home" by Marilyn Robinson.

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