Me Before You

Me Before You Summary and Analysis of Chapters 25-27 and Epilogue


We now switch into Treena’s narration. She describes her sister returning home and shutting herself in her room. Treena eventually goes to talk with her, and Lou explains that Will is going through with the suicide. Treena is the person everyone in the family always turns to for answers, but even Treena doesn’t know what to say. She compares Lou to her son, Thomas, in her mix of bravery and helplessness. When Lou finally emerges from her room, Treena takes her to the castle grounds with Thomas, after assuring their parents that Lou’s suffering from some minor romantic angst. At the castle, Treena notices how suddenly worldly her sister seems. Then she drops a bomb: the college Lou applied to has sent a letter granting her an interview, and the date is tomorrow. Lou immediately responds that she’s in no place to interview, but Treena insists that she take this opportunity, since she’s reached an age where she can either do something exciting with her life or stay home forever. Treena offers to help Lou prepare, and they head home.

The next evening, Lou is quiet at the family dinner. She finally admits, without enthusiasm, that she’s been admitted to college. Then, suddenly, she starts crying hard at the table. Since she can’t very well disguise it anymore, Lou tells her parents about absolutely everything that’s happened. The girls’ father is upset and sympathetic, but their mother is unexpectedly angry on Will’s behalf. She feels that Will is being unfairly allowed to or encouraged to end his life, and considers his parents’ role in the suicide to be unacceptable. Lou and Treena are surprised that she’s so angry, since she rarely gets angry about anything. Then, suddenly, Lou realizes that Will’s Dignitas appointment is tomorrow. The next day, Lou starts to express doubts to Treena about her decision not to go to Switzerland. Treena tries to be supportive, but she can’t imagine loving anyone romantically. The closest thing she has to Lou’s love for Will is her love for her son. Then a news reporter arrives at the door, seeking to interview Lou about Will. Treena is having none of it and gets rid of the reporter before Lou even knows what’s happening. She asks her sister whether she’s mentioned any of this to Patrick, and Lou pretty much confirms it— Patrick has tipped off the papers about Will. When reporters continue to arrive at the house or call on the phone, Treena calls Patrick and gives him a good lecture. Lou, meanwhile, just sits and cries. While Treena goes through the family’s voicemails to delete messages from reporters, she comes across one from Camilla Traynor. Treena gets hold of Lou and forces her to call Camilla back, and then Lou reveals to Treena what she’s heard from Camilla: Will is still alive, and Camilla has booked Lou a flight to Switzerland.

Lou packs up for her flight—we’ve reentered her point of view now—and she’s on the way out the door when her mom stops her. Mrs. Clark tells Lou that she isn’t allowed to go, since assisted suicide, in her opinion, is no better than murder. Lou’s dad backs her mom up, but his heart doesn’t seem to be in it, and he quickly softens towards his daughter. Treena is on Lou’s side and tries to help make a case for her. But Lou’s mom gets more passionate and insistent, and eventually tells Lou that if she leaves for Switzerland, she isn’t welcome back home. Lou walks right out the door, and her dad gives Treena his car keys and tells her to take his van to the airport. Treena drives Lou to her flight. Lou is strangely excited, knowing that she will get to see Will later. When she arrives she goes to sleep in a hotel room the Traynors have booked. When she wakes up, it all hits her. She is so overwhelmed that she throws up a few times, then gets ready to catch the car Camilla has sent for her. She exchanges a few messages with her online friend Ritchie, who soothes her and tells her to come visit him later. She promises that she’ll do just that.

The car takes Lou to Dignitas, which looks like a completely unremarkable house. The Traynors are inside, looking distraught, especially Georgina. Lou feels better when she sees Will, who is lying in a bed in the same room. He asks his family to leave, and they do, with varying degrees of reluctance. Then Will and Lou are alone. Lou tells Will that she understands and forgives him for his choice, and he invites her to get into his bed. Lou tries to enjoy their closeness and “absorb the man (she) loved through osmosis.” She tells Will a story of their time together, trying to simply show him her love without getting him to change his mind. She tells Will that the six months they’ve known each other have been the best of her life, and he replies that, funnily, the same is true for him. Then Lou’s tears begin. When she stops crying, she wraps herself around Will and kisses him, but it seems to her that he’s already begun to retreat from reality. After lying together in silence for awhile, Will asks Lou to let his parents back into the room.

The next chapter is a short one, and it rips us suddenly away from the emotional intensity of Lou’s narration. This narrator is a character we’ve never met, a government prosecutor, and the chapter is written in the form of a document explaining the circumstances of Will’s suicide. It describes the testimony of the Traynors and of Lou, all of whom have explained that they did their best to change Will’s mind and assisted him with reluctance. The writer recommends that they not face prosecution for their role in Will’s death. There’s also a surprise here: Will has left quite a lot of his money to Lou. We also learn a bit about what has happened to the Traynors here. It turns out that Mrs. Traynor has stepped down from her job, and that Will’s parents have split up.

When we move on to the epilogue, we see that there’s been a time jump— it’s now September 29th, over a month after Will’s death. Lou is lounging at a Parisian sidewalk café, drinking coffee and eating croissants. This, you may recall, was one of Will’s favorite things to do before his accident. She finishes reading a letter from Treena, which updates her on the family and assures her that their mom will forgive Lou soon. Lou also recalls another letter, from Mrs. Traynor, which apologizes for treating Louisa rudely at times and thanks her for all she did for Will. Now it’s time to open another letter, which she’s been waiting to read because the envelope instructs her that she can only read it at this exact café, eating these exact croissants and coffees. She opens the letter, which, if it wasn’t clear, is from Will. It gives her tips for her trip to Paris, and talks her through the process of collecting the inheritance Will has left her. Then Will thanks her for making him happy and asks her forgiveness for the pain he has caused. He encourages her to get out of her comfort zone and embrace the fearlessness he sees within her. He tells her one last time how much he has loved her since they met, and then signs off. Lou cries a bit, then declines another cup of coffee, gets up, and walks away to live her life, just as the letter asked.


When things in this book reach a breaking point, the author often gives us a little breathing room by switching to another point of view. The end of the trip to Mauritius is just such a breaking point, and the transition to Treena’s perspective gets us close enough to know what happens next while giving enough distance that we don’t feel totally overwhelmed. In this case, Treena’s narration provides a second benefit. When she wants to understand something about Lou’s situation, Treena often imagines a similar situation involving her son. Thomas is the person Treena loves most, and he therefore serves as a kind of lens on the world: she understands a problem better when Thomas has a role. This highlights for the reader the way in which Lou has started to think about the world through Will. Will, the person she loves most in the world, has become the lens through which she understands everything. His attitude and advice shape her own experience, even when they aren’t actually together. Treena’s version of this phenomenon provides a contrast, throwing Lou’s own worldview into stark relief. It also reminds the readers that there are many kinds of love, and that Lou’s love for Will, as deep as it is, doesn’t stand alone.

The most prominent example of the way Lou sees the world through Will is her newfound fearlessness. By adopting some of Will’s adventurous attitude, Lou has embraced new social situations and travel. It’s here, though, that we see the climactic example of her new assertiveness. It’s one thing, after all, to face your fears when the reward is a delicious new food or a concert. In this case, though, Lou has to defy her own beloved mother in order to go sit at the deathbed of the person she loves. This takes a steeliness we haven’t yet seen from her, and she pulls through. Will isn’t by her side this time, and he’s not encouraging her from the sidelines either— Lou has absorbed some of his way of living in the world, and it emerges without her even knowing. Later, when she lies beside Will and tries to “absorb” him into her own body, we know that she already contains a lot of his personality. Furthermore, this scene between Lou and her mom cements Lou’s conviction that she’s doing the right thing. She’s put in a position—quite against her will—that forces her to argue for Will’s right to make this decision for himself. When she makes that argument to her mom, she convinces herself as well, and by reading her arguments, we are also more convinced.

Will and Lou don’t have sex, of course, but there’s an almost-sexual, or at least sensual, element to the cathartic tears Lou cries while she lies next to Will. This feels like a cruel subversion, to an extent—instead of having sex Lou cries and Will dies. But it’s also somewhat fitting. Now that they have some closure and have nothing to lose, they can let loose in a way that wasn’t possible before. The tears might not be fun, but they do, oddly, provide relief from some of the sexual and romantic tension between our main characters.

By putting the final chapter in the form of an official document rather than a first-person monologue, Moyes begins to wrap up the narrative on a number of fronts. For one thing, it simply lets the reader take a breather after the intense emotion of the previous chapter. Its cool, impersonal tone gives us a chance to catch our breath and dry our tears. It lets us revisit things we already know all about, like the circumstances of Will’s death, but with a wider perspective. And yet, paradoxically, this chapter’s clinical tone also makes the revelations within somewhat more touching. When we learn that Will has made Lou his heir, for instance, we fill in the blanks left by the narrator and understand that he did so because of their one-of-a-kind love story. The act of filling in those blanks ourselves makes us feel more invested and shows us how much we already know about these characters. Finally, the matter-of-fact government document spits out a lot of information quickly in a way that wouldn’t be possible with a more emotionally invested narrator. Moyes doesn’t want us to dwell on details like the Traynor parents’ separation, since the novel has already reached its climax and needs to end soon. This chapter gets those loose ends out of the way and lets us move on to the epilogue so we can get our emotional closure.

That emotional closure comes in the form of Will’s beautifully written, heartfelt letter. Lou laughs when she reads the detailed instructions on the envelope, since it reminds her of Will’s bossiness, but those instructions do something else as well. They make it seem as if Will is still right there with her, since he can control the circumstances under which she reads the letter. Not only that, but his detailed descriptions of the café where Lou is sitting make it seem as if he’s sitting there with her. Will has used his gift for eloquent language to transcend the boundaries of time and death, making it seem as if he remains by Lou’s side. And, by telling her to go on and continue living her life—not to mention giving her the material resources to do so—Will has ensured that Lou will go on to live a life as adventurous as the one he enjoyed before his accident. That way, the two of them remain together, if only metaphorically. As Lou moves into an unknown future, she will be entering the world of Will’s past.