Reading illness and romance – Me Without You

Hi, friends.

I was making notes on my reading as early as July, in preparation for the blog that I didn’t know would exist. Seems to have been serendipitous that my transformation occurred when it did. Having read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and very much enjoyed it, I had high expectations of Rimmer’s book. What follows is a brief review and analysis I wrote in July.

I found Me Without You in my Kindle recommendations on Tuesday, and by Friday, I was devastated by the ending. I don’t usually read romance, which this was being marketed as, but immediately grew to like the principal characters.

I find this text interesting because the reader is encouraged from the outset to warm to the individual cast in a secondary role. Although it is Callum we meet first, his girlfriend Lilah (to give her proper name Saoirse ‘Seersha’ Delilah Macdonald) takes centre stage.

The story is then communicated through two perspectives. We learn more of Callum through his reflections on Lilah (an interesting choice of name on Rimmer’s part, as it is unusual for a playful character to be named in such a way.) Hindu theology refers to the lila or play, of the gods, into whose hands the fictional Lilah is thrust by a diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease.

Due to an experimental medical procedure, she was asymptomatic for five years. However, just as she is realising the depth of her affection for Callum, she relapses.

Rimmer skilfully delivers a body blow with the expected-unexpected heartbreaking ending. Novels which confront the taboo of euthanasia are far from new, but it is rare that they are so well executed. Rimmer weaves her characters so skilfully that a bond is unavoidable, and that is after all what we seek as readers. We wish to be drawn into the narrative in such a way that the book is more than a mere object, a portal to the world of these characters.

If you’re interested in being drawn into the world of Callum Roberts and Lilah MacDonald, Me Without You is available from Amazon in both physical and ebook formats.

As ever, if you’re reading, please come back and let me know what you think!