Or, “sorry no cookies for you, insincere able-person.”
[Image description: A pink “your ecards” that depicts a black and white drawing of a man and a woman standing side by side on the right hand side. On the left black text reads: “P.S. I’ll tolerate you”.]
I paid $26 to renew this domain so I may as well use it to vent my spleen (because why else do we blog?).
My ire this morning was drawn to this article. The tl;dr version is “Professor condescend to a student asking for accommodations so hard she scares the student from ever contacting her again. She takes this as a victory for some reason.”
[Image description: A gif of Jim Carrey in “Liar Liar” slamming his head on a desk in a courtroom as his stunned client sits next to him.]
[Image description: A bingo card entitled “Cripple Trope Bingo” with boxes filled with the following from the top left corner to right and then down each row: “Dumped after disability”, “Disability as excuse for jerkassery”, “ablesplaining”, “Caregiver uncomfortable with tasks”, Free space, “Disability is miserable with no regard of ableism”, “ableist speculation”, “Disabled person pushes away friends because of shame”, and finally “The disabled don’t have sex”.]
Moyes was trying very hard to fill out her “Cripple Trope” bingo card with this chapter. I want to say it’s impossible that she could jampack another chapter with so many clichés, but I may be surprised.
This review is very long. It’s over 2,700 words because Chapter Four was long with a lot to unpack.
Again, if you’re new please check out the intro and check out the tag for earlier installments.
Trigger warning: towards the end of this review (it’s marked there too) there is a very upsetting conversation about wishing to die over being disabled.
Chapter Four starts off with a description of Lou and Will falling into a routine as two weeks have passed since the last chapter. Except even after all this time Lou is still an ableist asshat.
[Image description: young man in a wheelchair in front of white background flipping off the viewer with both hands with his back turned]
Chapter Three is mercifully short. I wonder why it and Chapter Two were not just merged together but I guess it’s important every chapter end with Lou’s family having dinner together. Chapter Four is fairly long however with a lot to unpack so it will take me longer to tackle that one.
If you’re new please consult my intro and you can look at this tag for earlier installments.
Chapter Three begins with Mrs. Traynor leading Lou to the annex Will now lives in. Having everything on one floor would be more convenient for a quadriplegic as Mrs. Traynor claims but I wonder if being excluded from family meals and other minutia of family life just worsens Will’s mental health. (Later on we see Mrs. Traynor’s difficulty with being around her son as he now is.)
And we finally get to meet Will in this chapter. He’s as charming as you’d expect. When we meet him his nurse Nathan is just finishing dressing him. To secure Lou’s affections Will begins to imitate Big Foot’s lustful growls.
Or everyone in this is an ableist asshat.
[Image description: A person in a suit with their body bent to literally stick their head up their ass.]
[Trigger warning: I could be this on the entire series really as Me Before You is a hot ableist mess but in particular I will talk about suicide in this installment. Tread carefully.]
In light of what happened in Orlando, I’ve decided in this installment I will address why Me Before You is a disingenuous portrayal of disability in terms of representation (also). I believe representation is the greatest way to fight bigotry. Despite all the strides forward we’ve made there is still a deep-rooted fear of homosexuality in my country and many countries. We need more visibility if we are to ever overcome.
And that includes portraying disabled queer people and disabled people of color who are queer or not.
[Image description: A picture of a waving red flag with the text over it:Red Flag Warning Issued]
This entire chapter was pretty much red flag after red flag.
Thank god these chapters are so short, because my energy is limited. I can’t guarantee any sort of schedule however because of my health. I have good days and bad days, and good weeks and bad weeks. Unfortunately you’ll just have to keep tuning back in to see when I post updates. You can follow my twitter or tumblr too for updates. (/plug)
If you’re new please consult my intro.
The first chapter starts two years after the prologue and focuses on Lou, the female lead. It takes the book six pages to say what I can in one sentence: Lou lost her job at a café that she really enjoyed working at because the owner sold it. There, and no need for a two page interlude re-playing the lay-off for no needed reason. This book is already 405 pages in my edition, why is there so much superfluous information? There was clearly no need to pad the word count.
Nevertheless the point of this review is to address the ableism, not my armchair editing (I am literally sitting in an armchair; it’s the only kind of chair I can really sit comfortably in). Apparently Lou’s grandfather lives with the family and appears to have dementia though it hasn’t been said yet (and may never be) why he exactly needs care. He doesn’t appear verbal and apparently needs Lou’s mother to care for him. The family is apparently treading water financially so Lou losing her job does have a significant economic consequence.
So you think she be a little bit more cooperative with the job center.
[Image description: Cover of “Me Before You”; movie tie-in edition. It features Lou sitting in Will’s lap.]
As the prologue of the book is so short (in my edition it’s not even four pages) I decided I would use this first post to also introduce myself and my motivations for this analysis.
First, I am physically disabled and neurodivergent. When I was still in highschool I was diagnosed with clinical depression and had suicide idealization. I was eventually stabilized though I still had anxiety and I also developed a proclivity for sleep paralysis and auditory hallucinations in my mid-twenties. Recently I’ve gone back into counseling for depression with the stress of my chronic illness.
My physical disability started when about fifteen months ago with a simple backache. I have desiccated disc disease and I am being investigated for Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia. My right leg is perpetually numb and I have terrible, terrible chronic back pain. I also have balance issues, general malaise, and chronic exhaustion. Because of all of the above I use a wheelchair and cane to get around.
In short I am somewhat similar to Will, the male lead in “Me Before You”. I’m not quadriplegic and for now I can perform all my basic care by myself. Nevertheless I do use a wheelchair and I have had suicide idealization. I also know very well what it feels like to have your will ground down by ableism and an inaccessible world.
[Image description: A rocky path surrounded by cliffs.] Image originally by Petura.
Ronda and Tonya are young women locked away so their noisome hallucinations don’t “bother” society. Ronda is determined to summon a selkie from the sea and become immortal; all so she and Tonya can live somewhere where no one will bother them.
But fairy gifts always require a sacrifice.
Chapter One | Chapter Two
In the legends Tir Na Nog was a golden land of fruit and honey, where everyone was young and beautiful. A place of sumptuous orchards, gleaming castle, and endless feasts. A place any would exchange mortal life for.
Ronda arrived at its distant shore to find it barren and jagged. A thousand sharp spines of upheaved rocks with thousands of paths between them. It was a harsh reflection of the cliff they had scaled to escape from the mortal shore.
The sky above however was of endless beauty. A constant roiling of the ocean above with all its shades of blue, green, and gray. Somehow the sunlight that filtered down was as bright as the mortal sky. Ronda shivered though she was completely dry.
“This is Tir Na Nog?” Ronda raised her face to look at the rushing waves above.
“Nay, this is the entrance, the Land where Death Dwells.” Maeve exhaled. She peered intensely at Ronda. “You must choose a path, Pilgrim.”