Title: How to Walk Away
Author: Katherine Center
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I’ve seen this book compared to Me Before You a few times, but let’s make something clear: How to Walk Away is better.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the chemistry in Me Before You. Louisa and Will were absolutely precious and I will never not think about how adorable the sock scene was. But that ending.
(Spoilers for Me Before You ahead.) That ending made me so angry. I understand it, I do. I understand why it ended that way, but it didn’t have to. Will didn’t have to die. Of course circumstances in his life had caused him to become miserable, but didn’t Louisa prove that happiness in spite of the tragedy was possible? I’ll never get over that, I just won’t.
So in How to Walk Away, Katherine Center took a similar approach: Margaret is left paralyzed and burned from an airplane crash. She loses everything: fancy job, not-mangled body, handsome fiance. She faces many trials in the months to come and alternates between obsessing over getting better and not wanting to try at all. Many things occur that make her want to quit, and she does contemplate suicide.
Yet this story shows that even in the wake of adversity, contentment and even joy can be found again. And it doesn’t even have to be in the arms of a lover.
Although that’s super helpful because duh, romance.
Margaret reacts very realistically to her circumstances, and it makes her human. She doesn’t have a bunch of wise words now to share with her family, which is suffering from a bit of dysfunction itself. She doesn’t treat her piece-of-garbage fiance with grace or kindness when all is said and done. Margaret hurls all the righteous rage that is due her. She has depressive episodes and sometimes let’s it affect her recovery.
But what Margaret becomes in the end is not a shell of a person, but a beautiful flowering human who finds new hope and purpose in spite of her circumstances. I loved the message of this story and I loved the outcome.
The secondary characters were wonderful also. I loved reading about Margaret’s family drama, and of course loved all the scenes that included her attractive Scottish physical therapist. *wink*
I cheered for Margaret from the very beginning of this story and it was so rewarding to see her life play out for the better. What an inspiring story, that even caused me to examine my own life. I think that’s all we can ask of any good book.