Me Without You
By Kelly Rimmer
Publication Date: June 6, 2014
My Rating: 4 Stars
If you enjoyed Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, One Day by David Nicholls, or The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks – then make time for Kelly Rimmer’s stunning, heartbreaking novel Me Without You.
A story of how love can break our hearts – and heal them. A year ago I met the love of my life. For two people who didn’t believe in love at first sight, we came pretty close.
Lilah MacDonald – beautiful, opinionated, stubborn and all kinds of wonderful in ways that words could never quite capture. The woman who taught me to live again.
My Lilah, who gave me so much, and yet kept from me a secret that she knew would break my heart. My name is Callum Roberts, and this is our story. Me Without You is a book to make you smile, bring you to tears and remind you to hold on tightly to those you love.
A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A powerful heartwarming story of love and loss. Kelly Rimmer has a created a winner, with her eloquent writing style, as she speaks from the heart, with raw emotions from different points of view. An engaging and emotional journey of the power of love---one you will not soon forget. ME WITHOUT YOU reminds me of Sweet November, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, and Me Before You. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Jane Green, or Nicholas Sparks will be captivated by Australian author, Kelly Rimmer, as highly-charged topics and real issues of the heart such as genetic disease, illegal treatment, family, personal growth, living vs. dying, suicide, grief, sadness, joy, sorrow, heartbreak, relationships, love, and more for a roller coaster ride. A powerful novel of depth and substance----so much more than a love story or romance. I would highly recommend to women and men, of all ages, especially ones with loved ones suffering from any terminal illness, or possibly caretakers. Lilah, is an independent woman, a quirky vegan (so am I), an environmental lawyer, a free spirit—living her life to the fullest. She likes to be barefoot to feel the earth (you later learn why). Callum,(Cal) is a workaholic, marketing professional, (metrosexual) making no time for social life or family. Total opposites-- with a growing chemistry between this mismatched pair, as they learn from one another. Lilah realizes their relationship will not be long term and plans to break it off, but the longer it continues, the deeper the feelings. Tomorrow is always the day. They begin to learn each other’s habits, likes, and dislikes. She takes it one day at a time, when Cal wants to discuss longer term. They know each other secrets –all but ONE. Lilah has an in town apartment in Manly, near his apartment, and a stunning secret retreat in Gosford on the beach. The farm is her inner sanctuary-- Where she goes to rest, celebrate, grieve, and lick her wounds. What you do not learn in the first half of the book, is the reason she guards her heart. Lilah has a genetic DNA problem, HD Huntington’s disease, and by a chance miracle, she has been in remission for five years. Readers will learn of her former relationship with another guy with HD which she met at a clinic---he died shortly after an illegal treatment and she actually has been going great—until now. Cal is the first real guy she has fallen for. Prior to the symptoms which will begin to occur, she desires to end their relationship, as she wants Cal to remember her the way she is presently. The second half of the book, is much more of an intense page-turner, so do not give up when you start reading. Lilah has a wonderful supportive mom, Petra (I liked). Her dad died of Huntington’s disease, when she was twelve, so her mom has been through this previously, and tried to keep Lilah away at her grandmother’s at the end. Lilah knows firsthand, how devastating this disease can be, its progress, and what to expect--and the burden it puts on loved ones. It is almost like she wants to be exposed with Cal. It a delicious game of cat and mouse and she knows she will get caught. She really desires for him to know the real her, or as much of her as he possibly can with the time they may have together, but she is unsure she can subject him to this life. She finally winds up taking him home to meet her mom. Whenever things ends, she wants him to remember her there, safe within her sanctuary, fully alive and fully herself. Lilah’s home is the quintessential Australian beach home, (can envision), without any flair or fanfare, right down to the deep blue weatherboard exterior and white trim. The one outstanding feature of the property is the orchard and market organic garden that Leon and Nancy tends for her. Neither of them, are looking for a commitment, but they are falling deep. This novel will keep you crying and laughing, as you bookmark pages for parts would want to remember. Their journey is so special, as even though she pushed him away to save him, he loved her enough to be there.
Loved this quote from Cal: “The danger in self-deception is the hunger afterward. It commands a sense of loss, a gap inside that just can’t be satisfied. I knew love, and it changed me, and I found a new baseline of happiness that I won’t ever experience again. I’ve moved from a Technicolor world back, into a black-and-white one, and while I never thought to question black-and-white before, I realize now what I’m missing—if only there was another way.”
“I sank further into myself and wondered how I was supposed to pull myself out of the hole she’d left me in and get back to life again. Life became about getting through one more day. There would be a scar there that was a part of me now, because at last I understood what it was I’d been missing.”
A well-written beautiful novel. So many reviewers have not discussed her illness, nor is it disclosed on the summary; however, I feel this is a key factor, as why I chose to read the book. It is not a spoiler, it is more of an enhancement, similar to the books and movies I noted above. This emotional journey is very inspiring, demonstrating the true feelings of one with an illness, and the life lessons learned as they affect others. A TRUE LOVE STORY! Huntington's disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown (degeneration) of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking (cognitive) and psychiatric disorders.